Thursday, September 11, 2008

KAMP Dodges Budget Bullet and Hopes for FM

There's an article in the Tucson Weekly today, "Listener-Funded," that provides an update on the situation at University of Arizona radio station KAMP. Earlier this year their annual funding was threatened due to student opinion about various activity fees. According to the article:

"The station is...broadcast on AM 1570 within a mile of campus. On-campus students can also get a listen through closed-circuit TV on Channel 20, and UATV in the dorms and at the Student Union.

Since 1998, when the station became part of Arizona Student Media, KAMP has had a secure funding source through a $1-per-semester student fee, reapproved by students every five years.

At the beginning of the 2007-2008 academic year, KAMP general manager Neema Eshrati says, the staff was well aware that the five-year funding cycle was coming to an end. Eshrati says the fee provides about $80,000 a year, and is even refundable if students don't want to give up a dollar to student radio."

The article continues with more on the background of the funding crisis:

"Before previous five-year funding cycles, a KAMP-only referendum was presented to students in the fall, asking them to approve the $1-per-semester fee. In the fall of 2007, however, the UA's student government took a different approach by lumping KAMP into an Associated Students of the University of Arizona (ASUA) student-activities fee survey, asking students to approve student activities based on their importance.

Eshrati says it was like comparing apples and oranges: KAMP was competing with student services it had nothing in common with (like counseling and leadership programs).

The result: KAMP came in last on that survey. It looked like 20 years of on-campus student radio could be coming to an end."

After some hard work by staff at KAMP, a second referendum was presented to students in March 2008, with favorable results this time. In August 2008, the Board of Regents officially approved the student fee, so the station's future funding looks secure.

Up next, KAMP is hoping to someday expand its coverage by seeking out a permit to go FM.

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