Funding Facts & Information

The financial stability of WDET is essential to ensure the delivery of trusted news, inclusive conversations, and cultural experiences for metro Detroiters.

WDET is a nonprofit that relies on donations from individual members, underwriters, and organizations that support our mission. More than half of our annual operating support comes directly from listeners and local businesses.


Operating Expenses

WDET’s fiscal year begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. At the end of each year, the station’s audited financial statement of activities is made available in the WDET Public File.

It is projected to cost $4.6 million to operate WDET in Fiscal Year 2020. Local programming is our most resource-intensive service. Nearly 57% of our operating budget goes to fund local programs like Detroit Today, Ann Delisi’s Essential Music, and CultureShift. On the other hand, only 9% of our operating budget pays for national shows like Morning Edition and On Being.


Revenue Sources

As a nonprofit media organization, WDET relies on a mix of funding sources.

An overwhelming majority of WDET’s revenue is made up of individual donations and local businesses who sponsor messages.

WDET earns a small portion of revenue from ticketed events like Ann Delisi’s Essential Cooking experiences and studio rental sales.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. In the 2020 fiscal year, WDET’s grant from the CPB was $263,082, which represents approximately 6% of WDET’s projected annual revenue. Each CPB grantee, including WDET, was awarded an additional $75,000 as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) that was signed into law on March 27, 2020.  Learn more about what you can do to ensure this funding continues and receive updates at

Additional project and operating grants are awarded by foundations who support WDET programs and special initiatives. Among these funders are Kresge Foundation, the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, John S. and James L Knight Foundation, and the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.

Additionally, WDET is a community service of Wayne State University. The university contributes a cash subsidy and indirect support to WDET in the 2020 fiscal year.

View annual financial statements from previous fiscal years in the WDET Public File.

How COVID has Impacted WDET

Like many other local businesses and organizations, WDET has been affected by the economic impact of the COVID. The pandemic has significantly impacted our budget with unanticipated expenses and cancellations in events, corporate support, and membership revenue.

Learn more or donate today to protect local news and programs.


A Community Service of Wayne State University

As the owner of the license for WDET, Wayne State University has long been the single-largest supporter of WDET. In the 2020 fiscal year, the University has awarded WDET with a cash subsidy of $250,000 and additional indirect support.

WSU believes strongly in WDET’s mission to engage, educate, and empower Detroit’s diverse audience. The University continues to provide significant resources to the WDET and encourages its employees and the community to join them in supporting the station.

In the 2018 fiscal year, the University’s cash subsidy to WDET was reduced by 50% due to budget pressures and the need to focus on its core educational mission. Prior to this reduction, support from Wayne State made up over 20% of WDET’s operating revenue. Listeners responded to this change in funding by increasing their support to replace the operating dollars previously provided by the University.

WDET’s long-term strategy towards sustainability includes the development of its endowment as part of Wayne State University’s Pivotal Moments campaign. In particular, the WDET Endowed Enhancement Fund will provide a more reliable source of income to the station that will ultimately replace more vulnerable sources of annual funding and ensure WDET’s mission endures for generations to come. For more information, contact Carmen Garcia at or 313-577-3342.