KBIA celebrates 50 years, raises more than $ 90,000 and shatters one-day fundraising record | Higher Education

Mike Dunn spent all day Monday in front of his laptop and a microphone, updating KBIA listeners on the state of the station’s fundraising efforts. As the day went on, it became clear they were making station history.

On the day after its 50th anniversary, KBIA raised over $ 91,300, shattering their previous one-day record of $ 35,000.

For each donation, Dunn, KBIA’s general manager of broadcast, writes a personalized thank-you email. He estimated doing so for Monday’s donations would take him several days because of the fundraiser’s success.

Dunn attributed that success to the station’s urgent need for a new broadcast tower and transmitter, without which the station could not broadcast to its over 40,000 listeners.

KBIA was founded at MU in 1972 alongside three other radio stations across the UM System. The station is part of the Missouri School of Journalism and practices the Missouri Method, which gives students experience in professional newsrooms alongside longtime journalists.

“The education mission was to give students in addition to a classroom, an actual newsroom,” said Roger Karwoski, KBIA’s former assistant manager and director of engineering, who started the same month KBIA first aired.

Dunn said he thinks KBIA has won the most awards of any radio station in Missouri, 25-30% of which are won by students.

Students “are not competing against other students,” Dunn said, “they are competing against full-time professionals.”

Leaning on listeners

Over the years, KBIA has received less financial support from the government and MU. This has made the local news provider rely more on its listeners and pledge drives, which are on-air fundraising efforts.

“If people are continuing to contribute and support, each is a vote of their confidence,” Karwoski said.

The campaign for funding the new tower and transmitter is mostly funded by individual listeners, with no funding from the university or government.

Predating the radio station itself, the current tower is 19 years past its 50-year life expectancy. With a concern of collapse, a new tower is necessary for KBIA to continue broadcasting.

KBIA will share the new tower with KOMU and the Boone County Emergency Services. KBIA’s contribution to the tower is about $ 800,000.

Construction of the new tower has already begun, with the transition occuring sometime in July or August. There will be no service interruptions during this time.

The new tower will provide a better signal, quality and HD coverage.


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