Tele-auction: Let annual bidding begin

Janet Bresenham

For anyone whose wish list includes the prospect of enjoying a weeklong vacation in a five-star hotel in London, England, and spending Halloween evening in an 800-year-old castle, the opportunity is as near as the television remote.
The vacation package is part of this week’s KENW-TV, the Portales-based Public Broadcasting System television station 27th annual Tele-Auction.
“The tele-auction has continued to be our biggest fund-raiser all year,” said Sheryl Borden, director of marketing for the station’s fund-raising efforts. “It’s a win-win situation. It’s a chance for the donors to advertise; it benefits the biders who are looking for a good bargain; and it’s good for the viewers of KENW-TV because it helps raise money to keep us on the air.”
Borden also has served as producer/host “Creative Living,” one of the programs carried by KENW-TV, for 27 years.
Usually, the tele-auction brings in about $65,000 to $70,000 to assist the station’s annual operating budget of $365,000, Borden said.
This year’s live, televised auction will air nightly Monday through Saturday from 6 to 10:30 or 11 p.m. on Channel 3 from the broadcast studio on the main campus of Eastern New Mexico University.
While the deluxe vacation to London will be the most expensive bidding item at a minimum of $5,100, the weeklong event will offer all sorts of merchandise, gift certificates and other trips at various bid levels, Borden said.
Bid boards provide a variety of items in varying price ranges, with the bidding to sell items taking place in a fast-and-furious two minutes per board.
“Our most popular is what we call the ‘Quickie Board,’ which has items from $50-$99,” Borden said. “We have different themes for the boards, such as ‘Foods and More,’ that features things like gift certificates to restaurants, cookbooks and delicious Valencia peanuts from Roosevelt County.”
Another feature puts up for bid various “Celebrity Items,” which include music CDs, photos and other memorabilia from celebrities, such as a Jeff Foxworthy script and a gift basket from “Wheel of Fortune.”
Other types of bid boards include the “Tonight Boards,” which have items for $100-249. The highest bidding goes for items on the “Super Boards,” which are shown all week but are not sold until the final evening on Saturday.
“We also have the whole auction online now by going to and clicking on ‘tele-auction,’” Borden said. “Bids can be taken online until 5 p.m. every day.”
The viewing area for KENW-TV, which encompasses most of eastern New Mexico and parts of West Texas, enthusiastically supports the tele-auction and the station’s pledge drives, which are held three times a year, Borden said.
“I think we’re really lucky in this part of the country,” Borden said. “We almost always have very consistent donors and bidders.”
The local PBS television station also receives appropriations from the New Mexico Legislature and the federal government.
There is still a need for several volunteers on Saturday night to help confirm and sort bids, and there are some openings remaining for donations from merchants, as well.
To make it easier on bidders to get through in time to claim the highest bid in the designated amount of time each evening, viewers now can call ahead and obtain a free express bid number without any obligation.
Area viewers who want to obtain an express bid number may call the station at 562-2112 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.