The Wall Street Journal
(subscription required) reports that "With radio-advertising revenue down 9% last year and on track for a dismal 2009, some commercial stations are borrowing a tactic from public radio: asking listeners for donations."
Air America, the liberal talk radio network with hosts including Rachel Maddow and Montel Williams, is considering asking its listeners to voluntarily send cash, and other regional networks have already taken the plunge.
Will it work? Probably, at least to some extent: It doesn't cost much to set up a PayPal account and have the deejays ask listeners to log-on to the website and send money. The risk is that it will turn off the listeners who don't send money but if it's done in a low-key way, it's probably a pretty safe thing to do.