Radio K at University of Minnesota loses CPB funding

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CPB has cut $50,000 in funding from the University of Minnesota’s Radio K due to low ratings, reports the school’s Minnesota Daily newspaper. Radio K marketing director Alex Gaterud told the paper that the station gets about five times that much from student services fees, but it will still feel the loss. “In any public radio or public broadcasting setting, that’s a huge hit,” Gaterud said. “We’re confident we can deliver [an] excellent product continuously, but we’re still looking to fill that gap.” The ratings were gathered via Arbitron’s Portable People Meters, which have been controversial in the past for producing much lower numbers than the previously used listener diaries (Current, Sept. 21, 2009). Radio K is currently in a pledge drive. Its homepage features a witty donation request: The big, bold words BE AWESOME, with a corresponding button to “Contribute now”; BE SLIGHTLY LESS AWESOME to continue to the website. In September, Radio K was voted one of the “40 Best Little Radio Stations in the U.S.” by Paste, a culture mag, which points out it’s the oldest station in Minnesota.

UPDATE: A CPB spokesman tells Current that Radio K (KUOM) has “for several years” met neither of the CSG Audience Service Criteria, of community financial support or measurable audience goals. Five years ago, CPB informed the station that funding would be discontinued for fiscal 2011 if the situation didn’t change; the station received annual updates that it was not recovering. The station’s FY10 CSG was $63,071.

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