Even amid technical difficulties, on-campus radio station KCSB 91.9 FM raised $31,000 in pledges during its annual pledge drive.
The drive, which ran from Nov. 8 to 19, lost airtime when the station’s short transmitter line and the antenna failed at the same time, cutting transmission for large parts of three days. KCSB’s goal for the drive was to match last year’s total of $37,000, but Ted Coe, KCSB office manager, said that the break in transmission, lasting at least half the day on Nov. 11, as well as a negative public mood slowed the drive.
“I think it was a struggle to get through the two weeks.” Coe said. “Things started slow, and after the election the public mood wasn’t favorable for a fundraiser. My impression was people were dazed from the federal election. Things started slow but picked up and surged near the end.”
Originally, the pledge drive was to end Nov. 17, but the radio station extended the fundraiser for two extra days because of the transmission problems.
Coe said he thinks many people who listen to the station understand that KCSB runs on a small budget.
“It’s important to build awareness about that, and I think that it moved a lot of people to give support,” he said. “KCSB couldn’t survive without contributions.”
Bryan Brown, KCSB’s chief engineer, said the station was able to fix the equipment during the drive, but had to borrow a transmitter from Moseley Electronics in Goleta. He said the transmitter and the antenna are built to constantly run, but the equipment is 20 years old.
“This happened to be a fluke thing,” Brown said. “We are going to buy backups. This just amounted to really, really bad timing. … Hopefully, this is the end of the drama. However, a lot of volunteers really rallied around this.”
Coe said approximately 150 people volunteered for at least two hours, each taking pledges.
Jonathan Kim, the music director at KCSB and a fourth-year sociology major, said the number of volunteers showed KCSB’s positive relationship with the community.
“There were a lot of dedicated volunteers,” Kim said. “Money is one thing, but getting the station out there and getting the local community to know KCSB is another. To see [the volunteers’] dedication to the station really impressed me.”
Kim said the pledge drive is crucial for the station because it happens only once per year.
“It happens only once because we would rather not interrupt the regular programming to pitch for money,” Kim said.
Coe said that many people gave donations between $25 and $40, and some of the largest donations included a $650 donation and a $400 donation specified for technical equipment.
“It has been a really significant year for the radio station,” Coe said. “We have had a lot of accomplishments.”
Kim said several record labels provided the station with free CDs to give away as thank-you gifts for those who donated money. He said some of the record labels that donated CDs were Om Records, Stones Throw Records, Definitive Jux Records, Blue Note Records, Epitaph Records and Capitol Records. Record labels gave away about 300 to 400 CDs of different genres.
Coe said the station has accomplished more than just raising money for the station this year, as KCSB became the first college station to host the four-day conference GrassRoots Radio Coalition in June 2004.
“It has been a draining year but one that holds a lot of promise for the year to come,” Coe said.