In an unprecedented move, the San Francisco School Board voted unanimously to extend a line of credit up to $200,000 to KALW, “even as the district faces its own financial woes and major cutbacks,” reports the San Francisco Chronicle today (Jan. 15). The 70-year-old NPR affiliate is licensed to the district but operates independently.
The station has been losing money for three years and currently is some $120,000 in debt, said KALW general manager Matt Martin. “We have not taken cash (from the district) for nearly 20 years,” he said. “That’s not what we want here. We want a loan we can pay back with interest.” The district gave the station 18 months to repay the principal and about 1.5 percent in interest.
In 1992, the station cut financial ties with the school system. The district continues to provide accounting and other administrative services and a free place to broadcast at Burton High School. In total, the aid is worth about $236,000 annually, according to station financial statements.