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KUSP falls short of marathon goal, will continue programming through May 7

kusplogoBeleaguered public/community radio station KUSP-FM of Santa Cruz, California has concluded its “Mayday” fund drive. Unfortunately the operation only raised around a third of the money it needs to keep going over the coming six months. Here’s the bottom line from KUSP’s latest blog post:

“We cannot afford our regular broadcast and still tend to the financial obligations that are now due.

KUSP will operate the station at a bare minimum while the organization decides what to do next and can execute on whatever that plan winds up being.”

According to KUSP’s Facebook page, the present broadcasting schedule will continue through Saturday, May 7. After that the station’s Board of Directors and Foundation will “explore options.”

The option that looms most heavily is selling the license. The next difficult question, of course, is to whom the license would be sold. We received an expression of concern about that from Rachel Anne Goodman of the KUSP Forward group. Goodman worries that the Board’s stipulation that a prospective buyer be a ” CPB [Corporation for Public Broadcasting] Qualified” entity precludes allowing “a volunteer run community station to rise from this wreckage.”

“There are efforts underway to form a new entity and organize to do just that,” Goodman’s message to us disclosed. “Why not let the community decide what it wants?”

I queried KUSP station manager Bonnie Jean Primbsch about this concern. “We clarified that to the voting members of the Foundation,” Primbsch replied:

“The Board included ‘CPB-qualified buyer’ to make it clear that KUSP’s intention is to sell the station to an organization which reflects public radio values. It was not intended to exclude community groups.

The Board is interested in working with a community group — and we also have a hefty financial responsibility to tend to, so addressing the station’s outstanding debt issue has to be part of any sale.

If there is a community group that comes forward with a proposal that addresses the station’s debt as part of their proposal, the Board will bring that proposal to the Foundation and ask them to approve it without the CPB-qualified buyer requirement.”

KUSP’s Board will next meet on Wednesday, May 4, at 6 pm at the Community Foundation building in Santa Cruz.

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