An article by Taylor Munson in Boise State’s independent student news source, The Arbiter, features Boise State Public Radio’s recent grant to improve infrastructure and the listener experience.
Boise State Public Radio (BSPR) recently announced that they received a $240,000 grant from the MJ Murdock Charitable Trust.
The grant will be used to upgrade BSPR’s technology over the next three years. This project will be completed in three phases, and will cost approximately $0.5 million in total.
“It is the largest grant Boise State Public Radio has ever received; it’s unprecedented,” said Kelly Palmer, director of development at BSPR. “There aren’t many funders out there who are concerned about the backbone.”
The project will replace a lot of the behind-the-scenes technology, including three transmitters in the Treasure Valley and Twin Falls, as well as general system upgrades to the infrastructure.
“A lot of times, granting organizations want to fund a new program—or something along those lines—so it’s great someone wanted to fund technical infrastructure,” said Tom Michael, general manager at BSPR.
BSPR currently transmits to about two-thirds of the state, with 19 translators and transmitters in places such as McCall, Challis, Salmon, Twin Falls, Boise and Sun Valley.
“For some people, we are a lifeline to the world—especially for people in rural areas,” Palmer said.
BSPR raises approximately 85 percent of its income independently, through memberships, major donors, business underwriting, foundations and grants.
“We’re non-profit, independent, public media and I think that’s really important for our listeners,” Michael said.
According to both Palmer and Michael, the end goal of upgrading the technology is to minimize outages, create more backup redundancy, establish a greater fidelity to the signal and make the overall operation much more reliable.
“We can have all the best journalists, best producers, best staff, but if you don’t have the means to reliably transmit that, then what is there?” Palmer said.
The MJ Murdock Charitable Trust’s purpose is to fund “nonprofit projects and programs that enrich life in communities across Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.”
“It shows there’s a concern and an interest to invest in independent, in-depth, unbiased journalism,” Palmer said.
Listen to the “State of the Station: BSPR’s Look Ahead At 2017”