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Cocktails Can Help Keep Public Radio Alive in Tampa

Cocktails for a Cause will raise money for WMNF 88.5, the only public broadcasting radio station left on the Tampa airwaves.

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Patrons at Friday's event at the Tampa Bay Museum of Art will have the rare opportunity to drink and do some good.

The benefit for local public broadcaster WMNF is sponsored by the SONO Cafe, the museum's in-house eatery, which will donate a portion of the day's profits. Diners will also receive a "Dining for a Difference" card to use throughout May at local restaurant Mis en Place, which will donate the proceeds.

"Last year, Governor Rick Scott cut funding for public broadcasters, so events like this are important to our survival," WMNF Development Director Laura Taylor said. "Seventy percent of our operating budget comes from members. Sometimes you have to give WMNF members an extra incentive to support the station, and it's a good way to get our name out there because even though we've been around for more than 30 years, there are people whose radio dials have never gone down as far as 88.5."

Entrance into Friday's event is free, giving patrons the opportunity to visit the Tampa Museum of Art for no cost. Also in attendance will be WMNF on-air personalities and behind-the-scenes specialists to greet the guests and mingle while the crew of the "The Soul Party" will broadcast live, playing dance and soul music for a dance party from 6-10 p.m.

"Radio still has that mysterious quality in that people don't really see the voices on the radio most of the time," Taylor said. "This gives our listeners a chance to match the voices to a face and say to themselves, 'Oh, so that's what they look like.' "

The radio station will receive 5 precent of the money from the SONO Cafe's food sales at the event and 10 funds of the funds from the sale of alcohol.

The location of the party is one of the biggest advantages, according to Taylor, who is looking forward to meeting some of her listeners of her show, "Surface Noise," which airs on Wednesdays.

"It's going to be a really good family friendly event," Taylor said. "Mom and Dad can take the kids out to the park and enjoy a free look at the museum. It's good to open up the museum to people who maybe normally can't afford it. Everything about the event just underscores what a great city and community we live in."

Cocktails For a Cause kicks off at 6 p.m. at the Tampa Museum of Art, 120 W. Gasparilla Plaza, this Friday. For more information, contact Laura Taylor at (813) 865-8260 or laura@wmnf.org.

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