KSUT aims to raise $1 million for new facility

KSUT Executive Director, Tami Graham broadcasting from the KSUT studio, Ignacio, Colo.
Jeremy Wade Shockley | SU Drum

In 1974, the seed that would become KSUT was planted in a dialogue exchange 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 on 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.

For 6 years, KSUT has worked closely with the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, specifically, the department of Construction & Project Management and Tribal Council on project planning. In 2011 the Tribal Council authorized a 30-year lease of the casino purchasing building, per resolution 2011-79, 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. The meetings yielded approval on a floor plan and full construction documents, a value-engineered construction estimate, a campaign project budget, fundraising plan and the matching fund request.

On June 27, the Southern Ute Tribal Council demonstrated their continued support by approving Resolution 2017-129. The Resolution explains the conditions to which the Tribal Council will agree to match KSUT’s capital campaign by $1 million. The campaign goal is to renovate the old casino purchasing building as the future home of KSUT, with the caveat that KSUT must raise $1 million in cash and pledges between June 27, 2017 and October 1, 2018. In the all-or-nothing match, if KSUT does not raise 100 percent of the match by October 1, 2018, no Southern Ute Tribal matching funds will be provided. Any funds raised by KSUT prior to the approval of the June 27 resolution will not count towards the Tribe’s match. The match is limited to $1 million in support from the Tribe, even if KSUT raises additional funds.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for KSUT at this critical time in our capital campaign. We are truly grateful to the Southern Ute Tribal Council members for their support. The commitment from the Tribal Council is a reflection of how important KSUT is to the entire Four Corners community and beyond. This match has made our efforts toward a new facility very tangible,” said Maria Baker, Board President of the KSUT Board of Directors.

For over 30 years KSUT has been housed in an 80-year-old plus building, formerly 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 multi-phased comprehensive plan with goals to secure a new home with modern broadcast equipment, return regional news and public affairs programming to the airwaves, develop a Tribal Media Center for cultural preservation, archiving and training, while creating an endowment fund to support long-term operations of the station.

The Tribal Media Center will offer broadcast and technical training and support to Native communities who hold a similar vision of sustaining their culture through broadcasting. In addition, it will provide an opportunity for the safe storage of archives, including oral histories, recording of traditional powwow drum groups and language preservation projects. Youth engagement in broadcasting and digital media will also be a focus.

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. As of 2010, Tribal Radio has broadcast over 4,500 PSA’s with information specific to Southern Ute Tribal members. In addition, Tribal radio provides live coverage of high school football and basketball games, “Meet the Candidate Nights” for Tribal elections, in-studio interviews with local and visiting performers, artists, speakers and presenters, daily broadcasts of Ute word of the Week and much more.

KSUT will announce the Tribe’s matching fund this Friday, August 4, at their annual fundraising concert Party in the Park. The fundraiser will take place at Buckley Park in downtown Durango from 5-9 pm. Tickets and information for this event are available by calling KSUT at 970-563-0255 or at www.ksut.org

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