15. How KBOO Is Funded
Community radio, much like public radio and television, is funded in large part by listener contributions. In KBOO's case, 65% of the station's 2017 operating budget came from members of KBOO. When KBOO first started, memberships helped put the station on the air. Pledge drives were very different in the 1970s than they are today - KBOO held a pledge drive every month at one point! Many people who become members of KBOO are listeners. Others believe in KBOO's values, and become members despite being only occasional listeners.
Historically, KBOO has relied on pledge drives to fund ongoing operations. The remainder of KBOO's funding comes from grants (17%), underwriting, in-kind donations, and other revenue streams.
Unlike commercial broadcasters, radio stations like KBOO do not accept or air advertising. Sometimes advertising gets confused with underwriting, but there's a big difference. Underwriting is legally restricted to short, informational acknowledgements of financial support. Further, KBOO restricts the types of businesses that can become underwriters, focusing on local businesses that operate in ethical ways.