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KPCW Pledge Drive: Not your typical fundraiser

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Scenes from KPCW's Winter Pledge Drive in March, 2022

The KPCW 2022 Summer Pledge Drive begins Monday. The station is trying to raise $300,000 to help pay for station operations, programming, and equipment.

KPCW doesn’t raise money like most public media outlets. The public radio station, which is based in Park City and covers all of Summit and Wasatch counties, gets a lot of locals involved. More than twenty-two different nonprofits will join the station in raising money for public radio.

KPCW’s Development Director Sarah Ervin explains why. “All year long we bring nonprofits on the air, whether it’s weekly, monthly, whenever nonprofits have big events, fundraisers, volunteer needs,” said Ervin. “We really consider ourselves an umbrella organization here in town kind of like a megaphone for all local nonprofits.”

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More scenes from KPCW's Winter Pledge Drive in March, 2022

KPCW’s news team covers nonprofit programs, and how they impact the community. Even KPCW’s DJs support local charities during their shows. “We of course encourage all local nonprofits in Summit and Wasatch counties to use our community calendar to post when they have an upcoming event or recurring programming,” Ervin explained. “It’s absolutely free. Our DJs read from that as public service announcements every hour, at least on the fifteen and the fourty-five if not more often. So that’s a lot of coverage for local nonprofits.”

KPCW also gives nonprofits a discount if they want to buy an underwriting schedule on the station. And they will get credit for free underwriting for every dollar they raise for KPCW during the pledge drive. So, if you hear your favorite nonprofit on the air, call in and donate. KPCW gets the money, but the nonprofit host gets a boost to their marketing budget. Click here to see the pledge drive schedule.

KPCW holds two pledge drives a year. One in March and one in August. It costs $2.1 million a year to run the station, and the goal is to make between $250,000 - $300,000 for each pledge drive, so together they would make up 25% of the station’s operating budget.

Another successful hour of the KPCW Winter Pledge Drive in March, 2022
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Another successful hour of the KPCW Winter Pledge Drive in March, 2022

Program Director John Burdick says in addition to covering the cost of local programs, the money helps pay for NPR shows, like Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, and the newscasts at the top of every hour.

“We’ve got some great shows like “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me,” “Time Machine” or “All Songs Considered.” “Cada Domingo” is Spanish programming on Sunday nights. It’s a great show for our LatinX community,” Burdick said. “We also have “Fresh Tracks Fridays.” These help us to bring in fresh music every Friday if you haven’t gone to the website the show page is up. You can see all the great music we’ve added to our playlist.”

KPCW’s playlist has more than 5,000 songs. Most commercial radio stations have less than five hundred. That’s because KPCW plays a wide range of music from classic rock to current hits.

The station also receives grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Summit County RAP tax, the Park City Community Foundation, the John C. Kish Foundation, and other private foundations to fund its operations. The KPCW’s Broadcasters Club is another large source of funding for the station. The cost of membership is $1,000 a year for two people. The club currently has more than six hundred members who enjoy ten to twelve station-sponsored events a year.

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The KPCW news team during the March, 2022 Winter Pledge Drive. (From l-r) Leslie Thatcher, Sean Higgins, Michelle Deininger, Ben Lasseter, Renai Bodley Miller and Alexander Cramer.

As the populations of Summit and Wasatch counties grow, so does KPCW’s news team, which has five fulltime reporters and two part-time reporters. The station is also plans to add a digital specialist to assist with the website and the station’s newest endeavor, a daily, free newsletter called “The Local,” which is delivered to subscribers’ inbox every morning, Monday through Friday.

The KPCW 2022 Summer Pledge Drive will be on the air through Thursday, August 25th at 6pm. The phone lines open at 8am. The number to call is 435-649-9004. You can also donate any time online at kpcw.org.

Renai Bodley Miller became General Manager of KPCW in June, 2017. Previously, she was a reporter at KPCW. Renai is a 25 year veteran of the television news business. She was a news producer in Roanoke, VA, Richmond, VA, Miami, FL, and Washington, DC before moving to Utah in 1996 to be the Executive Producer at KSTU Fox 13. In 1999, she was promoted to Vice President/News Director. Under Renai’s tenure, Fox 13 expanded its news coverage from 2.5 hours to 10 hours of news a day. She retired in July, 2015, to enjoy her new home in Park City; but she couldn’t stay out of a newsroom for long. Less than a month later she signed on with KPCW as a reporter, and less than two years later she was promoted to General Manager when Larry Warren retired.