Rochester’s last locally owned radio station could use your help -- and dollars -- this holiday season.
On Nov. 13, KRPR 89.9 went off the air for a whole day. The culprit? A fault in the 30-something-year-old line that connects their transmitter to the antenna.
That’s the antenna that sends the show out to most everyone between Hastings and Decorah.
“We had a problem, yeah,” says Brian Taylor. The KRPR morning show host started working for the classic rock station as an RCTC student 20 years ago. His tenure started about a decade after that of most of KRPR’s equipment.
“I don’t know if it’s a source of pride or what, but we have never come out and said our equipment is really old,” Taylor says. “We say it has experience. … But our main transmitter is about 30 years old. And the backup is about 40 years old.”
KRPR is a not-for-profit station and relies on local businesses to underwrite programming -- it’s the public radio version of commercials. Some of their funding also comes from the state, and some comes from local listeners, who can donate through the station’s website.
The station’s tagline -- “Classic rock without the talk” -- makes their music-first position clear.
Unfortunately, the equipment repairs cause a Catch-22 situation -- the radio team spends money on used parts and repairs for the decades-old equipment, and therefore has trouble building up any savings to eventually replace the pieces. That last repair cost upwards of $1,000, according to Taylor.
It’s worth it, though, to keep contributing to Rochester’s music culture, he says. When KRPR was off the air, they were contacted by plenty of fans who rely on them for their morning commute, daily routine -- even their clock radio.
“I said to (that listener), you better put it on the ‘buzz’ for today,” Taylor says.
KRPR’s usual early-winter fundraiser ended early last week, and they’ll hold another one near the end of the year, Taylor said.
But there’s no cap on giving -- that Donation button on the KRPR website is always open. The station has only fundraised for the last four to five years, and some longtime listeners may still be surprised that they rely at all on listeners for equipment and programming dollars.
But if you noticed when KRPR went off the air, listen to it regularly, and/or want to fund local radio by Rochesterites, now is the time to give that Donation button a press.
And if you’re a benevolent millionaire with the inclination to drop upwards of $30K on a new transmitter for a classic rock station… well, you know what to do.
To contribute, go to www.krpr.org/give.