In an effort to raise money for the radio station, KCSN will be hosting its first pledge drive since changing to a new Triple A format in March.
“We are a non-commercial public radio station and we look to our listeners to become members to help support the station,” said Karen Kearns, KCSN interim general manager and associate dean of the Mike Curb College.
The drive starts April 30 and runs through May 8.
According to Kearns, public radio greatly relies on membership support and financial contribution to help operate the station. “The university provides some funding but clearly it’s not enough.”
Kearns said that because the previous format did not have a large enough audience, funding from the corporation for public broadcasting was lost due to not raising enough money.
“Because we lost that, one of the things we need to do, one of the reasons we changed to our new format was to build a larger audience and a more loyal audience because the classical was competing with KUSC,” said Kearns.
Kearns said the commercial- less radio station has a well organized plan for this year’s pledge drive.
“Pledge drives are pretty standard in terms of what you are asking for and what you are trying to do,” Kearns said. “We’ll do about three short five minute breaks an hour where we will come in, talk to the listeners and let them know what we’re doing.”
According to membership director Laura Kelly, KCSN pledge drives are held twice a year, one in the spring and one in the fall. “The purpose is to raise money for the station. We go live, on-air and ask our listeners to become members by making a contribution to the station. We ask for donations at whatever level is comfortable. Basic membership is $50,” Kelly said. “We don’t really know what to expect, however we have had tremendous positive feedback so we hope the pledge drive reflects the input we’ve received,” she added.
Kearns said the last pledge drive was held last October for KCSN’s weekend programming. “We knew at that time that we were going to be changing formats in the Spring, and we did not want to do a pledge drive for the Classical because we did not want to upset people who contributed to that, knowing well that we were going to change the format in 2010,” Kearns said.
One of the benefits that we give them (listeners) is that only twice a year do we really stop the music for any length of time to ask for their donations, she added.
Radio stations like KCRW and KPCC receive funding from the corporation of public broadcasting that ultimately comes from the federal government via the corporation for public broadcasting, which ultimately helps support your operation, said Kearns.
“What we are hoping is that we have found a format that fills a niche in los Angeles for music that people want to listen to, and also that these people are loyal listeners, understand public broadcasting, and wish to help financially support it,” Kearns said.
“And when that happens, if it does, then we will ultimately build back our audience, build back our fundraising and be eligible for corporation of public broadcasting funding,” she added.
KCSN listener Alfred Sanchez, 24, communication studies major, said he looks forward to the pledge drive and plans on contributing as much as he can afford.
“The station does their part to give us the music we want and we as listeners have to do our part as well,” Sanchez said.
A successful pledge drive is not all that Kearns is hoping for.
“We are also hopeful that people on campus are listening, and that students are listening. We realize students don’t have a lot of spare change to be giving to us, but none the less, I look to the student population and to the university population to kind of help us also try to viral market this station, get the word out that there is a new sound in town, KCSN, the music you want,” said Kearns.