Afro-American Community Broadcasting Inc. is appealing for financial support to stay on the air.
“We’re in dire straits right now,” said Edyce Porter, the station’s community outreach director and daughter of Jimmie Porter, who founded KBBG in 1977.
KBBG Executive Director Deborah Berry, board president Robert C. Wright and staff said the current budget crisis stems from unexpected equipment failures, lost federal support and declining donations as its older patrons pass away and aren’t replaced by younger listeners.
“It’s just really been a struggle for us,” Berry said. “The community is not donating as we had planned.”
Berry and rest of KBBG’s staff have been laid off for about six weeks but continue showing up at the station’s Newell and Mobile street building.
“Our staff people are so dedicated, so committed, they are volunteering,” she said. “We know how important this radio station is to this community.”
Berry took the reins in July 2017 after the previous volunteer director passed away.
The station retained a consultant to help update the organization, which included adding new board members; steps were taken to update the programming to attract younger listeners, and fundraising became a year-round push.
A Community Learning Center project for students interested in broadcasting careers was started with new partnerships throughout the Cedar Valley.
But the station’s vintage equipment started failing and undermining those efforts.
The transmitter and the digital-audio delivery system both died and needed to be replaced. All the station’s digital music, underwriting, public service announcements, and other digital files were lost when the system went down in March.