KSUT Public Radio has about three months to finish raising money for its three-phase capital campaign, which will include a new studio with improved programming and an endowment fund.
KSUT must raise $1 million by October for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe to match the amount, but the full $1 million must be raised making it an all-or-nothing deal. Since last June, the station has secured about $671,000 in cash and pledges, said Executive Director Tami Graham.
The goal for the entire project is $5.5 million, of which $4 million has already been raised.
The most immediate outcome of the capital campaign will be to renovate and move into a 5,000-square-foot building at the Southern Ute campus in Ignacio.
Graham said the upgrade is desperately needed. The station's current building is 80 years old, and broadcast equipment, which has been used for more than 25 years, is prone to breaking down.
"It's the same equipment, the same old funky building, the same facility that was substandard then and is very substandard now for what KSUT produces," she said.
The new location would include up-to-date broadcast equipment and studios, production rooms and office space.
Phases two and three of the campaign will be long-term projects slated for 2019-21.
For phase two, the station plans to increase news programming and coverage of local events and people. It also wants to create a tribal media center to provide broadcast training to members of local tribes.
Media training would provide an opportunity for indigenous people to tell their own story in their own language and words, Graham said. There will also be opportunities for oral histories and archiving.
Phase three would create an endowment fund to ensure the long-term financial sustainability of the station.
With threats to federal public media funding and increasing media consolidation, KSUT would like to remain an independent radio station with secure funding, Graham said.
Four Corners Public Radio reaches 14 communities in the Four Corners.
The station will hold a three-day pledge drive from June 26 to 28.
Graham, who has been leading the capital campaign for more than two years, is confident the station will be able to raise enough money.
"I believe so strongly in KSUT, and our mission and vision, and I know how beloved the station is to the region," she said. "For me it was just not an option not to meet this goal."
Donations can be made at https://bit.ly/2ypdKPk.