To preserve the independent news voice, the jazz and blues, and all that makes KPLU cherished, it appears we need a community organization (such as Friends of KPLU) to purchase KPLU from Pacific Lutheran University. KPLU would become a community-licensed public radio station, and KUOW would continue to be the same KUOW it is today. (The new non-profit would need to offer a price that’s similar to what KUOW has offered, to ensure PLU gets the money it needs.)
Letters, letters, letters. Keep up the pressure, and make sure the powers at PLU and UW begin to understand the importance of this station to large numbers of people. Let them know that it’s disturbing to be fed misleading statements and for them to pretend that nothing’s being lost. Tell them that acting in secrecy and shutting out the public is fundamentally unfair. And anyone with a personal connection to either university, or to KUOW, please take advantage and use those avenues. Alumni association? Donors circle? Board of Regents? Your state representative?
Legal/business advice. (a) Help us incorporate properly as a not-for-profit company. (b) Help us figure out if a pre-emptive lawsuit could be framed for donors to the Neeb Center.
Co-chairs. Two or three respected community members who would give stature and lend confidence to Friends of KPLU and the efforts described above.
Commercial banking advice. Some have suggested that Friends would need to raise only a fraction of the $8 million purchase price, in order to secure a loan for the remaining amount. An independent appraisal of the station set a value at $9.6 million. If anyone understands the finer details of how to make this happen, that knowledge would be valuable to share. A banker could also advise on creating an escrow-type account so that any funds raised could be preserved until a deal is cut (and get refunded if this doesn’t work).
Fundraising. This will be crucial, of course. This effort can get a big boost from crowd-sourcing small or modest donations. But to move quickly, it will probably need some major donors to step up with six-figure donations. In return, we all would get a lasting legacy and a public station that truly sees itself beholden to the public. Again, this arrangement is common across the U.S.
Outreach to key potential partners. Could KPLU find a more harmonious partnership with another non-profit organization in Seattle? If anyone knows how this might happen or what might be needed, that knowledge would be valuable to share.
To contact other supporters, please use this form. But please be patient — it may take some time to get a campaign organized.