The future of KPLU now lies with the community of supporters, fans and others who want to keep this public radio station independent.
A fundraising campaign, led by KPLU itself, has launched (as of Jan. 11, 2016). To donate or learn more, visit the new “Save KPLU” page at KPLU.org.
This webpage you are reading, SaveKPLU.org, will go into hibernation as the campaign shifts to KPLU itself. If you subscribed to updates via this webpage, you will begin getting those updates directly from KPLU.
Friends of KPLU created this webpage as a loosely formed coalition of supporters. Some of us also created Facebook pages, petitions, and wrote hundreds of letters, in order to impact a proposal to dissolve KPLU by selling the station. We were not, and are not, an official group with official leadership. At the time, action was needed, and KPLU’s own staff and management were unable to comment or take action against the proposal. Now, that’s changed, and our outside support should aim to support the path that KPLU carves for itself, becoming a community-licensed public radio station.
See below for a message from KPLU General Manager Joey Cohn, and below that you’ll find some background about why the public opposed the sale. Other material on this page dates from Dec., 2015, and explains why the initial proposal to sell the station was poorly conceived and detrimental not only to KPLU listeners but to the broader public around Puget Sound.
The community achieved something remarkable by raising our collective voices and earning a six-month window of opportunity — and now comes the chance to build something new.
A letter to the public from KPLU General Manager Joey Cohn
Dear KPLU Friends, Listeners and Supporters,
The New Year has already been a very busy one for the staff at KPLU. Since the recent announcement that Pacific Lutheran University and the University of Washington are allowing for a community group to make a bid to buy KPLU, we’ve been exploring various ways to make that a reality.
Here is a summary of some of the activities:
- Beginning TODAY [Jan. 11], you’ll be able to make a pledge at kplu.org/save-kplu. In order to save KPLU, the community needs to raise $7 million in six months.
- Two generous donors have already contributed $150,000.
- The kplu.org website will be the central communications hub for all information related to the community effort. It will include an FAQ that will hopefully answer the main questions that people have at this time. We will also visually track the progress of the campaign on the site.
- We’re in the process of building a new, non-profit organization from scratch. This includes strategic planning, establishing governance structures and projecting future budgets.
- PLU is allowing me to lead the community campaign and the chair of KPLU’s Community Advisory Council, Stephen Tan, is lending additional leadership and legal support.
This campaign is a huge challenge, but one we are excited about and know we can achieve, because of the passion and support for KPLU from the many big-hearted listeners in our community. It is, indeed, our defining moment.
Best to you,
Joey Cohn, KPLU General Manager
Background: Why did people oppose the sale, as it originally was presented?
- We believe this station is something special, an essential piece of the cultural fabric of life in western Washington and a vital voice of independent journalism
- We saw the proposed sale of the station (from the current owner, Pacific Lutheran University, to KUOW, owned by the University of Washington) amounted to a sale of towers and frequencies and would have dissolved KPLU
- We took inspiration from communities across the U.S. that rescued other public radio stations that were threatened.
The original terms of the sale, as described on Nov. 12 by PLU and KUOW, would have destroyed nearly everything that KPLU listeners value about KPLU. The proponents were claiming that they were preserving public radio, but their evidence was unconvincing. And, they were not allowing the public any chance to offer input. As a principle, anyone selling/buying a station funded by public donations, using public airways, and with assets subsidized by the community should make room for a public voice.
More details about what was wrong in that original proposal are listed in “9 Reasons to take action today to keep KPLU.”
As UW Associate Vice President Norm Arkans told KPLU on Dec. 16:
“We’ve heard from the community that they were not given an opportunity to try to step forward and purchase the station for a community-based group. And so now what we want to do is try to give them the opportunity to do that.”
(This webpage is managed by volunteers; for official KPLU statements, please visit http://www.kplu.org.)