KUCI, UC Irvine’s student-run radio station, held its annual fund drive over the past two weeks to raise money to maintain the non-profit broadcast show. The event raised over $8,500 in donations from April 26 to May 10.
The drive is a significant yearly event for the organization as the funds raised are supposed to last throughout the entire year. Since the station is run by unpaid volunteers, the money is spent mainly on maintaining the studio’s equipment and buying new materials.
“We heavily depend on this fund drive,” said Vivian Lee, a third-year literary journalism major who works as a DJ and volunteer coordinator at KUCI. “Since our radio station is a public radio station, we don’t have commercials, so we rely on the listeners’ donations and the school’s funding.”
The drive was mostly publicized by the DJs, who gathered support from listeners by going on the air and talking about the station, its history and its significance to the community. Several DJs even had artists come in to promote the drive and perform live in the studio.
The organizers of the drive also tried to attract participants by publicizing on the Web using popular social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace.
Based on the amount donated, loyal listeners received pledge packs as a sign of gratitude from the station. These packs ranged from a T-shirt, license-plate holder, bumper stickers and buttons to a platinum pledge pack containing CDs, gift certificates and concert tickets.
The donations came mainly from devoted listeners who donated through the station’s Web site. Others came from music organizations, such as jazz foundations. Local businesses also contributed to the station and were rewarded in turn by the station with on-air donor announcements.
However, the drive was not as successful as it has been in the past, with some drives generating over $12,000.
Broadcast Media Coordinator Kevin Stockdale attributed this decline in contributions to the current falling economy along with the high cost of living, in addition to competition from Internet radio, downloadable music, satellite radio and podcasts.
Regardless, the staff still had fun during the whole experience.
“The fund drive is a busy and special time of year,” Stockdale said. “[It] helps make our own staff of 120-plus people realize that KUCI is very unique and does have a value to the campus and local communities.”
KUCI started out as a private station run by engineering student Craig Will, and was later made into a legitimate station after acquiring its official broadcasting license from the Federal Communications Commission in 1969. Since then, the station has been dedicated to airing non-commercial talk and music programs as Orange County’s only independent and public radio station, while relying on a loyal fanbase and volunteers.
“We are all pretty dedicated to the station,” Lee said, “So [we] just want to do whatever [we] can to help the station.”