KVNO surpasses UNO station’s goals with successful fundraiser


By Charley Reed

You’ve heard it on your radio at least once. In fact, it might even be on one of your presets. Located at 90.7 on the FM dial, KVNO, Omaha’s only classical music station, just finished its spring 2007 fund drive on March 21. It took one week and a record number of nearly 200 new members to raise the station’s goal of $80,000, one of the most successful fund drives in over 35 years of operation.”We are very pleased with the results of the recent campaign,” said KVNO General Manager Debbi Aliano. “It’s so gratifying to receive positive community feedback about KVNO.”

Because KVNO is non-profit organization, much like PBS or NPR, more than half of their funding has to come from memberships and fundraising. In the event the station couldn’t raise enough money, it would have likely been forced to shut down.

“Classical music as a radio format is fading away in many communities across the country,” Aliano wrote. “So it is especially noteworthy that KVNO enjoys such strong community support.”

But Molly Niklin, KVNO’s associate development manager, said that many people don’t even think about that aspect of the station. “Maybe some people take [KVNO] for granted because it’s been in Omaha for 35 years,” she said.

Usually a fundraiser will get most of its money on the last day and, not surprisingly, on the last day of the drive, KVNO raised more than $23,000, an all-time high. But Niklin said what was a surprise was that almost every day of the week-long drive was more active than usual. “Sometimes you’ll have days that are a little bit low and discouraging, but that never really happened,” she explained.

The $80,000 was donated by only 488 of KVNO’s 3,000 members, a small percentage of the station’s typical audience of close to 40,000. Program Director Mike Hagstrom said that raising money actually comes pretty easily as long as you remind the listeners of their impact.

“Ultimately, that message is asking listeners to think about the value that KVNO provides,” he said. “And we alternate that message with the cold hard facts that our listeners, in large part, make this valuable service possible to the entire community.”

KVNO often helps many UNO students study as well as employs many students, giving them practical work experience. And usually, those UNO students are able to give back by answering phones for the fundraiser. Niklin said because of the timing, many students were busy, but KVNO still got help elsewhere.

“It wouldn’t really be feasible for the staff to handle all the phone calls that come in at once, so it’s important to have people there to answer the phones,” Niklin said. “[But] anybody from the UNO community would be very welcome to join us next time.”

And for those looking toward the future, KVNO’s next fund drive is planned for October, but KVNO is always accepting new members and looking for volunteers to help raise money.