Plan for financially burdened KUSP would continue deficit spending

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Leaders of KUSP-FM in Santa Cruz, Calif., are still developing a strategy to revamp the station and make it financially sustainable in the face of significant debt. A board meeting Monday brought more discussion but no vote on a definite plan, according to the Monterey Herald.

Most of the discussion focused on a plan that would involve producing more local programming to differentiate the station from KAZU, a competing public radio station in Seaside that airs some of the same shows as KUSP. But under that plan, KUSP would continue to run six-figure deficits over the next three fiscal years, according to the Herald.

“It still misses the core of how do you address some of the problems that have existed,” said a former KUSP programmer at the meeting.

Such a strategy appears to be at odds with recommendations from a task force considering the station’s future. According to Radio Survivor, a planning group is advising the station to rely more on national programming for the remainder of this year to “make up for on-air staff reductions” that would lower costs.

The planning group took issue with previous claims that the high cost of NPR programs was a major factor in KUSP’s deficit. Two-thirds of the station’s programming costs actually go to programming staff, not programs, the group said.

It’s not clear when changes might come to KUSP, but we’ll be keeping an eye on it.