On the heels of the mutual decision by the presidents of Pacific Lutheran University and the University of Washington to allow a community-based group to make an offer for KPLU in Seattle, SAVE KPLU has officially launched a fundraising campaign.
The group is led by KPLU’s GM Joey Cohn with assistance from the chair of KPLU’s Community Advisory Council, Stephen Tan, the KPLU management team, and other members of the community. In addition, a community governing board is being formed.
SAVE KPLU needs to raise $7 million in six months, which matches the amount of the current offer stated in the letter of intent outlining PLU’s sale of KPLU to UW. (One million dollars in in-kind underwriting for PLU over 10 years is also part of the deal.) As the community group proceeds, it intends to negotiate with PLU for use of the Neeb Center at the completion of the campaign. Additional funds will need to be raised for administrative and transition activities.
Cohn says, “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.”
The decision by UW and PLU to allow a community-based group to buy KPLU was made after a strong request by KPLU’s Community Advisory Council and an outpouring of listener concern over the sale, which was announced on November 12, 2015. The universities are modifying the purchase agreement so that a community group can make an offer. That agreement is expected to be finalized by January 15, 2016. The purchase of KPLU by UW will proceed and will be forwarded to the FCC for approval. As that process moves forward, a community group will have until June 30, 2016 to raise the funds to buy the license. If the group makes an acceptable offer, UW will step aside and allow that entity to buy the station.