KUNC experiments with a one-day fund drive

KUNC comes up with a listener-friendly fundraising method.

There are few things more depressing for public-radio fans than tuning in a station and hearing a fundraising pitch, as I did today when dialing to KCFR, Colorado Public Radio's news arm. After all, that probably means the rest of the week's programming (at least) will be dominated by such pleas, as opposed to the stuff listeners wanted to hear in the first place.

Fortunately, staffers at KUNC, a Greeley-based public-radio purveyor at 91.5 FM, are trying something different. The outlet is compressing its entire fall fundraising drive to one day: Thursday, October 23. Pray that the approach succeeds -- and catches on with the bean counters at CPR.

Click "More" to get the rest of the details. -- Michael Roberts

KUNC Condenses Fall Fund Drive to One Day

Greeley Colorado: KUNC-FM, Community Radio For Northern Colorado, announced today that its Fall Membership Drive will take place on Thursday, October 23. Titled One Day Thursday, KUNC is replacing its typical 7-day fall fundraiser with one day of on-air fundraising.

KUNC General Manager Neil Best says, "When we began planning in July our thought was that we didn’t want to interrupt coverage of the election for seven straight days. Boy how has the concept of not interrupting coverage escalated in the last few weeks!"

While the number of fundraising days has been reduced, the goals are the same as the typical 7-day drive. KUNC’s goal is 1750 members in less than 14 hours. Best says "The cost of our programming continues to go up, so we’re counting on our listeners contributing as they always have. We’re just asking them to do it in one day instead of seven, so that we don’t have to interrupt Marketplace’s coverage of the financial crisis or Morning Edition’s coverage of the election. We’re also broadcasting a series of local congressional and senatorial candidate debates. On-air drives are still our most important way of raising the money we need, but the issues of the day compelled us to try something different."

While a one-day fundraiser might seem like a daunting task, it’s not as big a challenge as the station faced in 2001, when listeners and members raised over $2 million in 20 days to buy the station license from the University of Northern Colorado and become an independent community radio station.

Other public radio stations across the country have successfully completed one day fund drives, but KUNC is the first station to attempt it locally.

KUNC celebrated its 40th Anniversary in 2007, and serves listeners along the Front Range at 91.5 FM, with translators serving other areas of the state, including Boulder, Breckenridge, Buena Vista, Dillon, Estes Park, Grand County, Holyoke, Julesburg, Leadville, Steamboat Springs, Sterling, Vail/Eagle, Walden, Wray and Yuma.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts