Independent public radio station exceeds “mini-drive” challenge by 25%, secures Community Foundation Santa Cruz County Challenge Grant.
The success of a two-day, on-air “mini campaign” indicates strong listener support for the new music format adopted by independent public radio station KUSP 88.9 fm.
The December 30–31, 2015 membership campaign was the first on-air pledge drive since the station switched from predominantly news and information to a music-centered format on November 1, 2015. Listeners from throughout the Monterey Bay region and from outside the area – who listen online at kusp.org – made financial contributions.
“The team had a lot invested in this membership drive,” said Interim General Manager Lee Ferraro. “It was important to see how the community would respond after listening to the new format for two months. The results indicate a healthy level of interest in what’s being broadcast on 88.9 fm and a willingness on the part of the community to support KUSP’s music format.”
The success of the drive means KUSP 88.9 fm was able to meet a $10,000 challenge grant from Community Foundation Santa Cruz County. The drive raised $12,500 from 120 members. Of note is the larger percentage of new members as compared to recent campaigns: 34% of memberships came from new members in this drive versus an average of 22% over the last five similar on-air campaigns.
Financial support from contributing listeners, local businesses, and local non-profits typically represents nearly 90% of KUSP’s annual budget. Nationally, public media outlets rely heavily on individual listeners who become financial contributors. On average, an individual will listen for as many as five years before choosing to contribute financially.
KUSP has struggled financially over the years, particularly since the 2008 recession. In September, the Board of Directors voted to switch formats after acknowledging that KAZU, supported by California State University, Monterey Bay, had achieved the dominant position with its news and information programming.
“It is encouraging to see the community support the new format so quickly,” said Board President Kelly O’Brien. “We think KUSP will bring a richness of music discovery and arts and cultural affairs programming to the region, thereby broadening the overall public media available to the community.”
KUSP intends for its programming to be reflective of the region and encourages feedback via email at email@example.com.