KCPW’s Budget and Plan Forward

As part of the campaign to make KCPW sustainable, the station is committing itself to a policy of transparency. Part of this effort includes publishing our budget here online. Please keep reading to review this budget as well as to learn about the recent changes and the plan for the future.

THE CHANGES
THE PLAN
THE COMMUNITY
THE BUDGET
WHAT COMES NEXT
WHAT YOU CAN DO
 

THE CHANGES

A lot has happened in just a few short weeks. Earlier this month, KCPW survived a potential “lights-out” situation, thanks to the community. We are extremely grateful to the more than 200 people who contributed to keep this independent voice on air.

Additionally, after nearly seven years of service to the station, Ed Sweeney is stepping down as president; and the board, staff, and volunteers are working in overdrive to weather the transition while continuing to fulfill KCPW’s mission.

THE PLAN

If we are going to have a strong relationship with the community – one in which listeners are confident with where their donations are going, we need to speak plainly and honestly about our recent past.

Here are some of the issues that have kept KCPW from achieving financial stability and what we are doing to correct them (a more formal document will be published here in the coming weeks):

– For some time, we have been operating without a budget. We are building one now.
– Staff resources were – and continue to be – stretched too thin. We are looking at ways to adjust our organizational structure, finding smarter ways to utilize our network of volunteers, and implementing smarter hiring practices. You’ve probably heard us talk about how we all wear different hats. This was by necessity, not by choice, and unfortunately it undermined our effectiveness in certain areas.
– Programming was expanded without proper funding. We are suspending the addition of new programs while we seek sponsorships for the ones we already have.
– Communication lagged with our vendors. We have spent the last two weeks reaching out to most of them and are working out plans to resolve our debts and repair relationships.
– The board was not properly informed of the realities facing KCPW. We’ve begun the necessary conversations to build a better understanding among all staff and board.
– Our fundraising strategy focused primarily on an inadequate number of pledge drives, but we are now working to diversify revenue by setting our sights on grants, increasing partnerships with local businesses, and building listenership through new outreach. We’ve also added two more (shorter and hopefully less-intrusive) pledge drives to the year.
– And most importantly, communication with the community was not candid. We were not relating our real needs, in part because we didn’t know what those needs actually were. We have since published our almost-complete budget and are designing a system where listeners can see, at any given moment, the financial state of KCPW.

THE COMMUNITY

A great thing was done for the community by the community back in 2008 when Wasatch Public Media, purchased KCPW and preserved it as a public radio station. Ed Sweeney, our former president, helped to lead that charge, and we are grateful for the past efforts.

Public radio is an essential part of American media, and through the fulfillment of its mission, listeners are better informed and more engaged. Society itself is enriched by public radio. Any community that takes it upon itself to safeguard its local, independent voices, such as KCPW, is one that understands the vital role that these voices play.

There are a lot of talented and passionate individuals here on the staff and board and in the community. Working together, we can sustain KCPW into the future. But it requires a reality-check, clear heads, and some hard work.

THE BUDGET

This link will take you to the first draft of KCPW’s budget. Some information still needs resolving, but the majority of the pieces are now there. When we started this process earlier this month, we did not realize the extent of the discovery phase. Going forward, changing revenue and costs will be reflected in monthly updates to this budget with the intent that the community always be able to see the financial health of KCPW and follow changes as they occur.

WHAT COMES NEXT

Our long-term vision is to get to the point where the station is operating debt free, and where KCPW’s position as a sustainable community resource – into the future – is assured. Making that vision a reality will take years of work, but right now we are taking the initial steps in creating the path that will get us there.

Currently, KCPW brings six local news and information programs to the airwaves. Imagine a future where local content is greatly expanded, and where an expert team of local producers and reporters highlight the issues our listeners care about most: from politics, to the arts, to the environment and beyond.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

First, please donate. Like other public media, KCPW is a nonprofit that is community-supported. We need the support of each of our listeners to raise $274,074.90 during this Summer Pledge Drive (July 28-August 2). In the future, we will ask for less as we build other revenue streams, but right now, this number represents the actual costs of continuing station operations and moving KCPW to a more sustainable model.

Second, please ask your other public radio-listening friends and family to donate. An interesting statistic, and one that we know firsthand, is that nationwide only about 10% of audiences donate to their local public media. The reasons for this fact are innumerable. The answer seems to be outreach, and we could really use your help getting the word out.

Finally, we value your input. Please contact us with any questions or concerns by emailing: sustainability@kcpw.org.

Right now, we’re asking for the opportunity to serve you better. Will you join us?