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From Neil Best's Desk: A Heritage Of Community Generosity

Greeley Tribune
The front page of the Greeley Tribune, March 2, 2001 announcing the sale of KUNC to the Friends of KUNC.

Every February, I’m reminded of how far KUNC has come since 2001. That was the year that our community came together and made KUNC a truly community radio station.

Long time listeners will remember that it was in February 2001 when the University of Northern Colorado decided to sell the station’s license. While station staff began to think about finding new jobs, a small group of dedicated listeners formed the Friends of KUNC.

That group began a fundraising campaign that raised $2 million in just 20 days to purchase the license and save the KUNC that they loved.

One of the cornerstone donations to that drive came from good friends Jean and Tom Sutherland. Today, we congratulate Jean and Tom, as Colorado State University honors them for their long list of community contributions with the prestigious Founders Day medal as part of the university’s 144th anniversary.

Credit Greeley Tribune
Greeley Tribune

The challenges that Jean and Tom faced during his six years of captivity in Lebanon beginning in 1986 made the Sutherland’s very beloved and public figures in Northern Colorado. Their pledge of support moved many others in the community to help KUNC become an independent community station as a result.

The heritage of community generosity continues. If you’ve heard us say “KUNC is here because you want us” during a membership drive that’s why. KUNC has grown and flourished since becoming an independent station, thanks to you. Your continuing memberships are vital to the day-to-day cost of operating the station and providing the links to programs like Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Marketplace, etc.

In addition, growing our membership provides KUNC with a springboard to much higher aspirations. You may have heard me talk about how membership growth in the last year meant that KUNC significantly expanded coverage in two areas: Arts District with Carrie Saldo, providing coverage of arts and cultural issues and Harvest Public Media with Luke Runyon, reporting on issues of food, fuel, and field.

Also during the past year KUNC began offering KUNC Music 24/7 on your mobile device and on your computer.

Because of the strong base of member support new memberships (and increasing memberships) these services are available as additions to the service you expect from KUNC, not as replacements for coverage and programming that has been discontinued.

As we begin 2014, we are excited that we are expanding coverage once again with Inside Energy, our collaboration with RMPBS and CPT here in Colorado, along with public broadcasting colleagues in North Dakota and Wyoming. Energy is a critical issue in all of our communities and we look forward to utilizing the resources from you, our generous listener/members, to continually be a greater service to the entire community.

Thank you for your generosity,

President & CEO

PS: Your thoughts and comments are always welcome below... or you can reach out directly at neil.best@kunc.org, @neil_best, or 970.350.0806

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