KHOI Surpasses Kickstarter Fundraising Goal, Looks to the Future

September 17, 2012 - 6:34pm -- Anonymous (not verified)

After months of seeking donations through the crowd funding website Kickstarter, KHOI Community Radio surpassed its fundraising goal last week, receiving even more than the $12,000 it sought.

The benefactors who donated the critical goal-surpassing sum were Erv and Janet Klaas, the second of whom made a Sept. 14 visit to the station and wrote a check for $300.

“I rounded up,” she said, giving her reason for donating more than the station strictly needed.

The KHOI team received the couple’s gift gratefully. Ursula Ruedenberg, interim station manager, said that the station now had to raise only $30,000 more to finance the construction of a broadcast studio.

“This is a milestone,” Ruedenberg said. “It’s a quarter of what we need.”

Kickstarter, a fundraising site for creative projects, imposes an unusual condition on the money raised through it. If support seekers fail to raise the amount they’re aiming to by a given deadline, they receive nothing, no matter how closely they approximate their aim.

Given this condition, the couple’s timing could scarcely have been better; when Janet wrote her check, KHOI’s fundraising deadline was to fall the very next day.

“They put us over the top,” said KHOI volunteer Debbie Bunka.

Janet said several changes led her and Erv to support KHOI. Foremost among them was Iowa Public Radio’s decision to stop broadcasting classical music from WOI 90.1 FM.

Knowing KHOI was preparing to broadcast classical music itself, she saw it as the better philanthropic alternative.

For his part, Erv said he “particularly missed” a noonday WOI program that featured Elwynn Taylor.

Taylor’s move to KHOI, where he now hosts “Elwynn Taylor and the Weather,” reinforced Erv’s faith that their money was going to the right station.

Erv called the establishment of KHOI “a great opportunity,” saying that there was “a lot going on in this community that needs to be better circulated.” Among the goings on that he thinks warrant more scrutiny are the proceedings of city council, the activities of the school board, and the ongoing efforts of groups throughout the state to keep its water and soil clean.

Summarizing his hopes for the station, Erv gave the KHOI team his best wishes.

“We look forward to seeing you develop,” he said.

The Klaases aren’t the only ones with high hopes for the station. They were among 97 backers of its Kickstarter campaign, which attracted donations from as far afield as California and New York. Some of these donations came from associates of other community radio stations.

The campaign also attracted the attention of the Columbia Journalism Review, which documented its early success in an Aug. 24 article.

However much attention KHOI attracts nationally, its focus will always be local.

"This is the place to come,” said Debbie Bunka. “This is a worthwhile endeavor.”