Public Radio Capital and a New York–based philanthropic investment nonprofit have established a $100,000 Revolving Public Media Fund to help subsidize PRC’s work with five public broadcasting stations to spark growth and innovation.
PRC has worked with FJC: A Foundation of Philanthropic Funds on several deals since 2006, said Ken Ikeda, PRC’s managing director.
Stations may apply to receive $30,000 in consulting and strategic planning services. The Revolving Public Media Fund will supply $20,000; selected stations will pay $10,000.
The Nov. 12 announcement said stations must be “committed to transformative change to improve and grow their services,” such as exploring a signal acquisition, a new format or a merger with another pubcaster.
For each participating station, PRC will develop and analyze one or more strategic expansion initiatives, prepare a business model, construct an implementation plan and timeline, and present conclusions to stakeholders.
FJC’s Agency Loan fund supports charitable organizations and offers bridge loans to stations for PRC deals. FJC was one of three lenders to Dallas pubcaster KERA for its 2009 purchase of 91.7 FM, the Triple A music station now broadcasting as KXT; it was also involved in closing the sale of WXEL-FM in Palm Beach, Fla., in July.
“Because of their understanding of finances and passion for radio,” Ikeda said, “FJC is the ideal partner for this initiative.”
Who decides what constitutes “transformative change”, and is it consistent with the spirit of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967? How is merging with another pubcaster good for variety and new ideas if the parties involved are still steeped in a circle-the-wagons mindset (which started with David Stockman’s threat more than 30 years ago)? Is this effort really providing positive answers and a path forward?