Written by Donald A. Promnitz
A Fresno radio station known for its left-of-center content may need to seek out new programming as a key partner faces financial troubles.
Owned by the Fresno Free College Foundation, FM 88.1 KFCF has been in operation for more than four decades.
“When we went on the air in 1975, there was no PBS, there was no NPR, there was no other public radio or TV stations in the Central Valley,” said Rychard Winters, general manager. “This was seen as a way to bring in outside programming that would expose people to different music, culture, arts and speakers.
To help, KFCF purchases programming from KPFA/Pacifica Radio Foundation, which owns five stations in New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Houston and Berkeley. Facing financial difficulty, Pacifica reportedly fell behind on rent for its transmitter site on the Empire State Building, and was sued.
The landlord won the case, resulting in a judgment of $1.8 million plus legal expenses. Pacifica is now looking at either filing for bankruptcy or taking out a loan. Its assets may be seized at any time.
As Pacifica faces the possibility of failure, Withers said that KFCF has been looking into other content to fill the possible gap.
“We will continue, and I have been locating other programming that we can run,” Withers said. “Local programmers would probably do a little bit more programming.”
KFCF currently operates on an annual budget of $180,000, Winters said.