KCUR is joining NPR in stepping away from Twitter. Here’s why.
KCUR is joining NPR, PBS and other public media outlets who are stepping away from Twitter. And we're taking the opportunity to explain where our funding comes from: 100% of KCUR's local content is 100% funded by community support.
Every once in a while, public media gets attacked, usually by a politician. A decade ago, the extremely undeserving target was Big Bird. Most recently, those attacks have come from Twitter and its owner, Elon Musk.
We don’t feel the need to recap the controversy, which NPR covered fairly and accurately.
We will, however, take the opportunity to explain where our funding comes from. It’s worth repeating periodically because it’s a beautiful story. And it’s especially timely now, since Musk’s attack was based on misinformation about how public media is funded. And it happened to come just days before our spring membership drive — which is happening right now.
KCUR’s largest revenue sources are, by far, from the community we serve: individuals who contribute whatever they’re inspired to donate, and corporate sponsors and philanthropic organizations who support our mission of public service.
KCUR has approximately 14,000 individual members who contribute $3 million in donations every year. Another $1.6 million comes from our corporate partners, and $2 million in program support comes from institutional funders.
Does the federal government pay for KCUR programming? Yes, but not in any way that allows politicians to control our content. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is a private nonprofit corporation created by the federal government to distribute federal money for public media. Our elected representatives have decided, ever since the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, Americans should have access to the independent news and entertainment that enriches lives and communities for as far as a signal can reach.
Each year, KCUR receives some of this money through a service grant from the CPB. This year, that amounted to $418,000 — 4.9% of KCUR’s total operating budget of $8.5 million for the 2022 fiscal year.
We use that money to pay a portion of our fees for national programming like Morning Edition and This American Life, global content from the BBC World Service, and other syndicated shows. In the past, other grants from CPB helped launch Harvest Public Media and the Kansas News Service, which have both grown into essential information services throughout the region.
You can always find many of our financial documents, as well as information on our governance, on our website.
The point is: 100% of KCUR’s local content is 100% funded by community support. All of that local content is editorially independent. That includes our morning and afternoon newscasts, our daily talk show, Up To Date, podcasts from KCUR Studios, email newsletters like The Early Bird, and the reporters, announcers, producers, editors and other professionals who keep this organization up and running.
KCUR is created by the public, for the public. And because of contributions from the public, we can make this service freely available to everyone. We are the very definition of the free press, and we take our public service mission seriously.
Meanwhile, Twitter’s labeling of NPR as “state-affiliated media” or “government-funded media” is false and dangerous. At a time when disinformation and misinformation are putting our democracy at risk, KCUR’s official channels won’t reward that behavior.
We are joining NPR, PBS, and other public media outlets who are stepping away from Twitter, at least for the foreseeable future. (Our reporters are free to continue using Twitter — that’s up to them.)
That doesn’t mean KCUR will stop serving our audiences — in fact, it’s the opposite. Here are all the places you can continue to find KCUR’s journalism and interact with our organization:
- Sign up for KCUR’s newsletters: news each weekday morning in the Early Bird; Breaking News when it happens; fun weekly Adventures; Classical KC’s Take Note; and news from around Kansas every Friday via The Insider.
- Subscribe to Kansas City Today, KCUR’s daily news podcast
- Follow KCUR on Instagram
- Follow KCUR on Facebook
- Follow our public media collaborations Kansas News Service and Harvest Public Media on Facebook
- Read KCUR’s articles on Apple News and the NPR app
- Sign up for text messages from KCUR, and talk with our community engagement team, at 816-601-4777
- And, of course, you can listen 24/7 on 89.3 FM, through your smart speakers, or stream online at KCUR.org.
If you want to support KCUR's journalism, you can become a member here. But just as importantly, you can share our work with your friends and neighbors — especially folks who might not be familiar with KCUR.
They’ll get news they can trust, with or without social media.