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Supporters Buoy KMUD’s Operation

Having put out calls for help, Redwood Community Radio has received an influx of donations and overdue pledge payments have augmented other funding to bridge KMUD’s operation to the end of September.

Nella White, a member of KMUD’s Board of Directors and a member of its Finance Committee, said over $30,000 in donations and pledge payments has come in since earlier this month, when a cash flow struggle was announced.

The situation is linked to Redwood Community Radio’s recent improvement projects. The non-profit group owns KMUD radio and three affiliate stations, including KMUE, 88.1 FM, an Arcata/Eureka affiliate which has benefited from a substantial transmitter upgrade and digital conversion.

Upgrades in the Garberville and Shelter Cove broadcast areas are imminent, all under a $170,000 Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) grant.

The grant required a $104,000 match from the station and rough weather last March caused a $64,000 cost over-run for work on the Arcata/Eureka transmitter in Kneeland.

The cost over-run, higher than expected equipment costs and lack of a fundraising campaign for the grant match left KMUD in a temporary financial crisis. But the station’s staff and volunteers rallied listeners and supporters during an all-day fundraising drive on August 15 which included a community barbeque at the station’s Redway studio and office.

White said the station’s supporters came through when KMUD needed them. “Many thanks are due to them for their generous showing of support and for the time being our cash flow emergency is under control,” she continued.

A bi-annual $49,750 CPB grant for operating expenses augments the donations. “But we’re not out of the woods by any means,” said White, as the station’s fall pledge drive won’t begin until late October.

“Silent drive” letters requesting early donations have been sent out, however, and a series of fundraising events are planned. Tabling in Northern Humboldt is continuing, KMUD will be operating the kitchen at the Mateel Community Center’s Sept. 14 Merle Haggard concert and another community barbeque event is set for Sept. 26.

The station’s annual Halloween Boogie is one of its major fundraising events.

Following the financial crisis and its controversies, the KMUD board’s Aug. 24 meeting was eventful. The terms of two board members – former Board President Rob Bier and former Treasurer Jama Chaplin – have ended and replacements were appointed.

New Boardmember Julia Minton is a former member of the board and its Finance Committee, and is a longtime KMUD volunteer. Carlos Casarez is a Northern Humboldt resident who worked as a radio station manager in Eureka and recently sold his Arcata-area business, the Coffee Break Internet Café.

Although no decisions were made at the meeting, the Finance Committee recommended selling the mortgage note from a Spy Rock Road property that had been bequeathed to the station.

White said there was divided commentary about the recommendation during the meeting’s open comment session. Selling the note now will reduce interest income from the property but its value was budgeted as part of the signal upgrade’s grant match, she continued.

The board did decide to seek the advice of a professional financial consultant and scheduled a special meeting for Sept. 11 to continue discussions on recovery strategies.

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