90.9 The Bridge – Community Underwriting Grant Program


While the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to stay home, our businesses to close their doors, and all of us to hit pause on our lives, 90.9 The Bridge recognized an opportunity to give back to its community. The Kansas City listener-supported, non-commercial NPR music radio station that serves nearly 50,000 listeners each month, developed a new underwriting grant program for locally-owned businesses.

Living up to its mission to connect music lovers with music makers and to engage local community, this robust underwriting program supported more than 65 businesses, arts organizations and non-profits owned by Black, Asian-American/Pacific Islander, LGBTQ+ and women entrepreneurs. This program was created to support these historically under-supported business owners at a time of uncertainty, to help ensure that their goods and services as well as their value to the community remained front and center.

During Black History Month, Women’s History Month, Pride Month and Asian-American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, audiences were delivered personalized, relevant messages from these businesses who contribute invaluably to our communities and lives – at no cost to the businesses. The Bridge complemented these on-air messages with curated content including interviews, music playlists, independent web pages and social media campaigns. Audiences also received additional information on each business and how Kansas Citians can support them. The program was developed in-house, and implemented through solicitations and personalized outreach, building a well of connected businesses looking to support one another and reach new audiences.

While businesses were struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic, 90.9 The Bridge offered statistically underrepresented business owners in the Kansas City area an opportunity to reach 50,000 monthly listeners through complimentary underwriting. On-air hosts and the station’s corporate support team created an underwriting grant program that provided free on-air advertising for Black, women, LGBTQ+, and Asian-American/Pacific Islander-owned local businesses, arts organizations and non-profits.