Nothing can stop the signal for KCPW, for now.
The public radio station confirmed Wednesday afternoon that it had raised the $42,000 it needed to survive.
KCPW had announced Friday that it needed to pay American Broadcast Media by July 3 in order to keep prominent swaths of its programming, including BBC and Marketplace. If the station lost those shows, it would either have had to scramble to fill more than 54 hours of programming a week, or turn off its signal.
“This station’s listeners have always been its backbone. Today, though, KCPW is especially grateful to the hundreds of people who have contributed over the past few days,” says a news release from the station. “We are pleased to say that we made our goal and will be able to continue to broadcast, thanks to you.”
The fortunate timing of the Utah Arts Fest allowed the station, which is housed in Salt Lake City Library Square, to put up signs around the building to capitalize on the heavy foot traffic. An anonymous donor even showed up to the station Wednesday with $1,500 — cash, Sweeney said. In addition to individuals, the Downtown Alliance and a couple foundations also contributed, he said.
The station has long, outstanding debt from the original purchase from Community Wireless of Park City, according to the release. After KCPW split from National Public Radio a year ago, it subscribed to American Public Media to fill air-time vacancies. But following the split, the overleveraged KCPW lost about a third of its listeners — and thus donors.
But the $42,000 only covers KCPW for what it immediately owes American Broadcast Media. The costs will keep coming, and the station says it wants to find a more sustainable business model.
“We are looking to diversify our funding sources. Just last month, a volunteer grant writer came on board and will be working closely with one of our staff,” according to the news release. “We have also started a volunteer outreach project to help build underwriting and program sponsorship.”
The station is also rolling its “Help Save KCPW” campaign into a “Make KCPW Sustainable” campaign. It intends to publish more of its finances and budget online, in the coming weeks, so that the community can see the state of KCPW’s situation, according to the release.
The station’s semi-annual pledge drive returns at the end of the month, when Sweeney says they will emphasize their relevance to the community. KCPW and The Tribune have collaborated on a weekly program, “Behind the Headlines,” and on two town hall meetings, and the station is positioned to strengthen its focus on local news and interests, Sweeney said.
KCPW and The Tribune have collaborated on a weekly program, “Behind the Headlines,” and on two town hall meetings.