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Hey Santa Cruz: you have 7 days to decide about KUSP-FM

Mayday for KUSPIt is crunch time for KUSP-FM in Santa Cruz, California. The newly launched Adult Album Alternative non-commercial radio station has challenged itself to raise $300,000 or bust by May 1. Here’s the good news. KUSP has become a really nice contempoary rock/pop signal, with live deejays playing all kinds of cool music I’ve never heard of. I listen to it all the time. I’ve also given money.

Here’s the less good news. As of my writing up this post, the operation has brought in about $54,000 from 556 donations (two of those mine). So KUSP basically has another week to drum up another $246k. We’re talking about $35k or so each day over the next seven days. Yikes . . .

The Bay Bridged has a good interview with KUSP General Manager Bonnie Primbsch about the situation. “The real deal,” Primbsch emphasizes, is that that $300,000 is needed keep the station going for another six months. To which TBB asks, “If the goal isn’t met, is there another format in line or will 88.9 be dead air until the rest of the money is raised?”

Here’s Primbsch’s reply:

“If the goal isn’t met, we just can’t continue. There’s no other format in our back pocket, and it’s an open question right now whether listeners will hear dead air, an uncurated mix of our library, or what. Our best hope at that point is to sell the signal to pay off our debts — then what listeners will hear is not likely to be indie or local, but something piped in from elsewhere.”

In a sense, KUSP’s biggest problem isn’t money, it’s time. The quesion is how long would it take to convince Santa Cruz and the Monterey region of the obvious: that this is a great thing, a public radio station that plays lots of new music and, as it grows, cultivates an ever deeper relationship with surrrounding music communities.

Bottom line: this idea totally works. The problem is how to get enough people to figure that out, and very soon.


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