KSUT, a public radio station based in Ignacio, topped its fundraising goal of collecting $1 million by Sept. 30, a milestone that solidified a matching grant of $1 million from the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, said Tami Graham, the station’s executive director.
The station, which produces Four Corners Public Radio and Southern Ute Tribal Radio, has raised about $4.6 million toward its $5.3 million goal that would allow KSUT to move into a new building, produce more programing and establish an endowment fund to protect the station from potential federal revenue cuts.
Almost 700 people and businesses gave $1,053,000, Graham said. Gifts ranged between $10 and $250,000, she said.
“This kind of partnership between the tribe and 700 people of our community is unique, it’s not something that you see for public radio,” Graham said.
The building the radio station operates out of is too small, she said; it was never designed to be a radio station. Employees share offices, and the quarters are cramped for about a dozen people who work there, she said.
The cumulative $2 million from the tribe and donors will be used to retrofit a 5,000-square-foot former casino on the Southern Ute campus to house the new station and pay for new radio equipment, Graham said.
The station also hopes to use funding to create new programing, particularly a media training center for Native Americans, Graham said.
“We want to become a national Native American media training center,” she said.
Then there’s the revenue KSUT receives from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. That public money has been “repeatedly threatened” by the federal government and represents more than one-quarter of KSUT’s funding, Graham said.
So part of the money will be put into the Carlos Sena Legacy Fund in an effort to give the station a financial life raft in case CPB funding is cut, she said.
The radio station plans to begin renovating its new building next year, although it is still fundraising to meet its goal.
Anyone interested in donating to KSUT’s capital campaign – 25 percent of donations over $250 will be calculated as state tax credit – may visit KSUT.org or call 563-5780.