LAWRENCE – More than 2,600 listeners helped Kansas Public Radio conclude a record spring membership drive earlier this month. The drive came shortly after the announcement of a permanent $200,000 reduction in university support, the second phase in a two-year series of cuts that began with a $100,000 reduction in funding during the current fiscal year – the result of state cuts to higher education.
Kansas Public Radio added an extra day to its yearly spring membership drive, and after nine days of on-air fundraising ended the drive with $422,891 in pledges. On April 7, KPR wrapped up the Campaign for Excellence 2017, with pledges from 2,601 listener-members.
The membership drive began March 28 with more than $108,000 raised through a direct-mail campaign. At the end of the drive, more than $312,000 was raised by pledges from new and renewing members.
To help inspire listeners to support the station, KPR set a goal of 1,000 new and upgrading members, which was met by the end of the drive.
“We are incredibly grateful to the unprecedented number of listeners that rallied around the station,” said KPR Director Dan Skinner. “The spring fund drive was a great start in helping Kansas Public Radio recover from the budget cuts. However, we still have challenges and work ahead of us.”
The successful drive, along with support from major donors, will help mitigate budget cuts, but reduced funding will still have an effect on both staff and programming. During the current fiscal year, KPR left four positions unfilled to help balance the station’s budget. Those positions will remain unfilled during the next fiscal year, and there will be a reduction in staff hours for other staff starting July 1.
All tax-deductible donations during spring, winter and fall membership drives directly support KPR’s local and national programming.
The overall pledge total does not include challenge grants, in which a company, foundation or individual will donate money if KPR can raise a certain level of funding during a specific time period. More than $57,000 was raised through challenge grants. While challenge grants are often scheduled ahead of time, this year several members called in during the fund drive and pledged “spontaneous” challenge grants to help inspire other listeners to support the station.
In each hour, KPR interrupts programming for about 10-15 minutes to ask for donations. Regular programming resumes for the rest of the hour. The membership drive featured a “Power Breakfast” on March 28, when an entire day’s fundraising was compressed into 90 minutes. That raised more than $35,000.
Although the on-air portion of the drive is over, listeners can donate anytime at the KPR website: kpr.ku.edu/support.
More than 100 volunteers answered phones from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. during the drive. Area restaurants donated meals and beverages for volunteers’ breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks.
KPR, a 16-time Kansas Association of Broadcasters Station of the Year, licensed to the University of Kansas, broadcasts on 91.5 FM and 96.1 FM in Lawrence, 89.7 FM in Emporia, 91.3 FM in Olsburg-Junction City, 89.9 FM in Atchison, 90.3 FM in Chanute, and 99.5 FM and 97.9 FM in Manhattan. KPR can be heard online at kpr.ku.edu. KPR also operates KPR2, a news-talk programming stream, which can be heard on an HD receiver or on KPR’s website.