Thanks to the Southern Ute Drum for originally publishing this article.
KSUT has met the $1 million challenge match offered by the Southern Ute Indian Tribe in late June 2017. The Southern Ute Tribal Council committed to a $1 million matching fund to support KSUT’s capital campaign, with a goal of renovating an existing 5,000 square foot building on the Southern Ute tribal campus in Ignacio, Colo. for the Eddie Box, Jr. Media Center – KSUT’s future home.
The Tribe’s commitment came with the caveat that KSUT must raise $1 million in cash and pledges by Oct. 1, 2018. It was an all-or-nothing match, meaning that if KSUT did not raise 100 percent of the match by Oct. 1, no Southern Ute tribal funds would be provided. Despite challenging circumstances of the 416 Fire this summer, 695 community members and businesses stepped forward with their pledges of support of this important project.
For the past seven years, KSUT has worked closely with the Tribe, specifically, the department of Construction and Project Management and the Tribal Council on project planning. In 2011 the Tribal Council authorized a 30-year lease of the old casino purchasing building, located just south of KSUT’s current location, to serve as KSUT’s future home. In 2014, Tribal Council approved the naming of the Eddie Box, Jr. Media Center. KSUT met with Tribal Council on four occasions between January 2014 and April 2017. These meetings yielded approval on a floor plan and complete construction documents, a value-engineered construction estimate, a campaign project budget, fundraising plan and, finally, the matching fund request.
KSUT Board President Susan Kearns said, “KSUT would not be where it is today without the commitment of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe. We are grateful the Tribal Council had the vision to put forth the challenge to KSUT to raise $1 million dollars. Thanks to their support, KSUT is poised to move into the future and become a model for public and tribal radio throughout the Four Corners region and beyond.”
KSUT has raised cash, in-kind donations and pledges of approximately 80 percent towards thier goal of $5,500,000, with $4,545,000 raised to date. The project is an Enterprise Zone Project, as certified by Region 9 Economic Development and the State of Colorado Office of Economic Development, with Colorado residents being eligible for a 25 percent state tax credit for donations. In addition, multiple-year pledges of support towards the project allow individual or business donors to take advantage of tax incentives for contributions through Dec. 31, 2021.
KSUT will move forward with the renovation project, with a plan to go out to bid in late November or early December. It is anticipated that the renovation itself will commence in early 2019 with a projected move-in date of early 2020. While KSUT has reached this significant milestone of meeting the $1 million match from the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, there is still a need to raise additional funds for the project.
KSUT has been housed in an 80 plus year-old building that formerly was an Indian Health Services clinic. The station outgrew its space decades ago. KSUT also operates with extremely outdated broadcast equipment, much of which is no longer manufactured. In 2012, the KSUT Board of Directors adopted a comprehensive plan which included a multi-phased goal of acquiring a new home with modern broadcast equipment; returning regional news and public affairs programming to the airwaves; developing a Tribal Media Center for cultural preservation, archiving and training; and creating an endowment fund to support long-term operations of the station, given that public funding in the form of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting support has been repeatedly threatened. Currently KSUT receives 25 percent of its annual budget from CPB.
In 1974, the seed that would become KSUT was planted in a dialogue between Eddie Box, Sr. and sitting Chairman of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, Leonard C. Burch. The Southern Ute Indian Tribe founded KSUT two years later as a means of disseminating information to the membership. In 1986, KSUT became an independent 501(c)3 non-profit organization. As one of the first Native American broadcasters in North America, KSUT is a community-supported public broadcasting station dedicated to serving the multicultural community of the Southern Ute Indian Reservation and the Four Corners. Through two signals, Four Corners Public Radio and Southern Ute Tribal Radio, KSUT provides eclectic entertainment, education, in-depth news and community and public information services to promote multicultural awareness and understanding.
KSUT Four Corners Public Radio’s FM signal can be heard at 90.1 and 89.3 in La Plata County, 88.1 in Farmington and Pagosa Springs, 106.3 in Cortez, Mancos and Montezuma County, and 91.5 in Silverton. Southern Ute Tribal Radio can be heard at 91.3 in Ignacio, Bayfield and Southern Ute and Jicarilla Apache tribal lands, and at 89.7 in northwest New Mexico and Navajo tribal lands. Both stations steam live at www.ksut.org.
KSUT’s Music Blend features a variety of styles, including folk, rock, blues, jazz, bluegrass, world music and Native American genres. The Morning Blend airs from 9 a.m. until noon each Monday — Friday; the Afternoon Blend airs from 1-4 p.m. each weekday. Listeners have picked KSUT as the Durango Herald Reader’s Choice Award winner for Best Radio Station each of the past six years.
Tribal Radio broadcasts a combination of traditional and contemporary Native American music, as well as a broad mix of numerous other genres including: country, hip hop, heavy metal, electronica and more. Tribal Radio provides important and timely updates and information of interest to Southern Ute tribal members, as well as the broader regional Native American community.
Anyone interested in learning more about how they can support KSUT can go to www.ksut.org or call Tami Graham, Executive Director at 970-563-5780.