The first joint WCET-TV/WPTD-TV Action Auction went so well during the pandemic last year that station officials are keeping the same format for a second year.
Bidding for the CET/ThinkTV Action Auction Sept. 8-11 in the main WCET-TV studio will be done online again, after donated items are showcased on TV, says Mary MacDowell, WCET-TV community events manager.
"The success of last year’s event was surprising to all of us as we eclipsed our goal by $50,000," she says.
Due to the coronavirus last year, the Auction eliminated hundreds of volunteers to set up items, return them to the warehouse area, and run bids to the floor from the huge phone bank – with unexpected results.
"We are very surprised at the number of new buyers to the Action Auction. We thought that the new system would bring us a new audience, but we had no idea that we would have so many new Action Auction buyers. We are also surprised that so few of our buyers needed help from the small phone bank of volunteers that we had to support buyers and assist as needed," she says.
MacDowell says organizers were pleased that there were few hiccups last year, when the Auction was postponed from its usual April date to June, and then moved to September. It is the largest annual fund-raiser for the Southwestern Ohio public TV stations.
"Very little went awry last year. We sold nearly everything that we offered and had very few issues. The credit for the smooth transition goes to the production teams from CET and ThinkTV, as they both put quite a bit of time into reworking the previous process and their hard work paid off for us," she says.
The focus this year will be bringing "some life" to last year's "subdued" telecast due to limitations on the number of people allowed in the studio, she says. One possibility is offering supporters a chance to buy photo "cut outs" of themselves – as the Reds, Bengals and other sports teams have done - and display in the studio.
"That would be a way for our friends to be in the studio with us," she says. "We certainly miss all the amazing volunteers who have supported the auction for many years and are looking for ways them to continue to support us."
As coronavirus concerns ease, and restrictions are lifted, "we hope to be able to have more auctioneers and emcees than we did last year. Time will tell on this issue," she says.
The CET/ThinkTV Action Auction will air 7-11 p.m. Wednesday-Friday Sept. 8-10, and 3-11 p.m. on Saturday Sept. 11, on both Channel 48 and Channel 16. Last year was the first time the Action Auction was simulcast in Dayton and Cincinnati.