89.9 FM relies on public support

| Marcus Clem reporter |

For decades, KRPS 89.9 FM has served as the home of “Your World in Concert,” but these days, that world is a bit smaller, and more self-sufficient.
The home of NPR for the Four-States Area, as well as the extended jazz, classical and blues slates of music that the station offers, is based in Pittsburg State’s Shirk Hall.
It’s a professionally oriented and staffed radio station, and students can’t be counted as a reliable target audience, says Missi Kelly, KRPS general manager.
“Typically, students discover NPR over their college career,” Kelly said.
Sydney Ward, graduate student intern, says that student awareness can be a challenge.
“They think of (the station) as the dorm that also has the police,” she said. “If students come here with a tie to public radio, this is the outlet for it here. It’s important for students to recognize what it is. People need to know that there is that service here.”
A big problem for the station in recent years, leading to a situation where it has only five full-time staffers, one intern and one volunteer for all responsibilities, is budget cuts from the state government.
“The funding has decreased significantly over the past five years,” Kelly said. “With PSU being state funded, when the university receives cuts, all the department cuts trickle down, and it affects everything.”
The following the station does have has been enough to help make up the difference, and the university has provided continued support.
“We’re very fortunate to have it based here at the university,” Ward said. “It’s the go-to source for any kind of public radio and any kind of NPR content.”
Trent Johnson, a program host for the station, says that a goal has been to improve awareness by doing news and feature stories that are part of a program called the Crimson and Gold Connection.
Programs like it offer students a chance to get involved and get some professional radio station experience.
“Students can contribute to KRPS and potentially get a job here,” he said. “You can contribute to KRPS not just as a broadcaster, but we have administrative assistants and people to keep track of our logs and information.”
Membership drives are also held regularly to solicit support from the public. To find out more about how to contribute to the radio station, call 235-4288.

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