UW Offers KPLU Supporters a Chance to Buy Out KPLU

On Jan. 11th, KPLU, the radio station be­longing to Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) in Parkland, WA, launched a fundraising cam­paign to try and out-buy UW’s hold on purchas­ing the licensing for their station.

On Nov. 12th, UW regents publicly an­nounced their intent to purchase KPLU from their owner, Pacific Lutheran University (PLU). According to Donna Gibbs, one of PLU’s vice presidents, the two universities began negotia­tion for the sale in early 2015.

KUOW, UW’s licensed radio station, intends to buy KPLU for $7 million with $1 million in underwriting to hold the license for 10 years.

The president of KUOW, Caryn Mathes, says their plan is to turn KPLU into a full-time jazz and blues station and remove the news completely. Removing the news will cause over a third of the 36 KPLU employees to lose their jobs.

The sale has not yet been finalized due to awaiting approval from the Federal Commu­nications Commission.

On Nov. 23rd, the KPLU advisory board held a meeting in downtown Seattle where they unanimously voted to oppose the sale.

In response to public outcries against the sale, UW’s KUOW decided to allow an inde­pendent community group to bid on its own and out buy KPLU. If it can raise enough mon­ey, KPLU can buy itself out. The campaign, which began Jan. 11th, has raised over $1 mil­lion so far. The plan is to reach $7 million, plus an additional $1 million to keep the license for 10 years, by June 30th. “It’s a huge undertaking,” KPLU says on their website. “But with your help it can be done. A donation to the KPLU fund will help secure the station as a vital voice in Western Washington,” they continued.

The community effort to fundraise and keep KPLU owned by PLU is organized by a group called Friends of 88-5 FM. The leaders are KPLU General Manager Joey Cohn and KPLU’s Community Advisory Council chair Stephen Tan.

Although $8 million is an estimated amount, Friends of 88-5 FM “will need to raise addi­tional funds for administrative and transition activities.” This means that they will need to achieve a higher goal before the June 30thdeadline.

If the community group buys the license, the station will become an independent public radio station with a community-based govern­ing board. The news employees working for KPLU will get to keep their jobs, and continue to deliver the news.

Those who wish to donate to the cause, can visit kplu.org
More information is also located on this site on how to donate as well as how to spread awareness through the hashtag on social media #savekplu.

ILLUSTRATION BY FELICIA CHANG
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