Stormy financial weather in the radio market is forcing two local nonprofit radio stations to do some off-season begging.
Classical station KCME (88.7 FM) is holding a special fundraising drive this week, hoping to raise $50,000 to keep the station going until the fall fund drive in October. News and music station KRCC (91.5 FM) is finding itself in the same boat, hoping to raise upwards of $100,000 in a special, one-day drive on June 28.
"It's just a fact of life: We're going through some rough waters here," said Jeanna Wearing, KCME's general manager, between stints on the air asking for donations.
"It's coming in and people are giving," she said, "but in smaller amounts."
KCME's annual spring fund drive came up $55,000 short of its $215,000 goal, leaving a funding gap until the scheduled fall drive in October.
At KRCC, the station met its $200,000 goal in the May fund drive, although it took two days longer than it usually does. KRCC's underwriting support from businesses, however, has dwindled, and it's hoping individual donors will step up to fill the hole before its fiscal year ends June 30. It's the first time the station has done an unscheduled fund drive.
"Some of our business contributors have been hit pretty hard," said Delaney Utterback, KRCC's station manager.
Utterback said he's cut back where he can - postponing equipment upgrades, switching to a less-expensive phone system and asking the national radio networks the station subscribes to for a discount. The station has a reserve fund to cover the gap, and Utterback doesn't plan to drop any programs or lay off staff.
"I'm not pushing the panic button yet," he said.
With so much of the budget wrapped up in programming, power and personnel, there's not much more the stations can do besides ask listeners for help and hope the economy improves.
"We really watch every penny, and I know that Delaney does, too," Wearing said.
"We're going to be OK. We can patch and mend and make do."
PLEDGE PUBLIC RADIO STATIONS