An effort by supporters of KPLU Seattle to block the sale of the beloved noncommercial jazz and news station by raising enough money to buy it has collected more than $1 million in a little less than three weeks. The Friends of 88.5 FM community group hopes to raise enough money to match an offer made by the University of Washington.
The milestone was made possible by hundreds of KPLU supporters who pledged their support for an independent, community licensed 88.5. “Listener support has allowed KPLU to grow and thrive for nearly 50 years, and pledges now to Save KPLU will guarantee an exciting future for the station for many years to come,” general manager Joey Cohn, who is spearheading the effort, said in a news release. “We still have another six million dollars to raise by June 30th, but we’re off to a fast start.”
The University of Washington, owner of news/talk KUOW-FM (94.9), agreed to buy KPLU from Pacific Lutheran University for $7 million in cash and $1 million in underwriting announcements.
The presidents of the two universities mutually decided to allow a community group to make an offer for KPLU after a strong request by KPLU’s Community Advisory Council and an outpouring of listener concern over the proposed sale of the station.
Friends of 88-5 FM launched its fundraising campaign on January 11. The campaign needs to raise $7 million in six months. The universities are modifying the purchase agreement so that a community group can make an offer. That agreement was expected to be finalized by January 29.