Loan that saved Salt Lake’s KCPW for pubradio news comes due

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Three years after its sale to a new community licensee, KCPW-FM in Salt Lake City is under the gun to raise $265,000 by Sept. 30. Wasatch Public Media financed most of its $2.2 million purchase of the NPR News station with a short-term loan from National Cooperative Bank; now the lender wants to get out of the business of public radio financing, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. Donors who backed the 2008 purchase reneged on their pledges during the recession, KCPW President Ed Sweeney tells the Tribune. “The challenge we have is how often can you ask your donors for help,” he says.

In addition to KCPW, radio listeners in Salt Lake have four public stations to choose from: KRCL, a community radio outlet that revamped its contemporary music format in 2008; KBYU, a classical music station owned by Brigham Young University; and KUER, an NPR News station with statewide reach that’s licensed to the University of Utah.

KCPW was once a cornerstone in a financially unsustainable expansion strategy devised by Blair Feulner, a maverick deal-maker among Utah broadcasters as co-founder and g.m. of KPCW-FM in Park City. When KCPW was put up for sale in early 2008, Wasatch Public Media was established to buy the station and preserve its locally-oriented news service for Salt Lake.