WDET Funding 101

Frequently asked questions about where WDET’s funding comes from and how it’s spent.


What is WDET’s total operating budget?

For the fiscal year 2017, WDET’s total operating expenses equaled just under $4.2 million. Each year, WDET spends an average of 70% of its budget on local and national programming.

WDET has more listeners, more supporters and is doing more in the community than at any other point in recent history. Community support from individuals and local organizations made up over 60% of WDET’s revenue in the fiscal year 2017.

While cost-saving measures are continually being explored, listener support continues to be WDET’s most reliable source of funding - now and in the future. Listeners provide over 40% of WDET’s annual revenue, an estimated $2 million for the fiscal year 2018. Support from listening members is critical to ensuring that WDET maintains its independence and provides programming that is responsive to community needs, not the needs of commercial advertisers.

WDET’s annual financial statements can be found on our Public Documents page.


Does Wayne State University support the station?

As the owner of the license for WDET, Wayne State University (WSU) has long been the single-largest supporter of WDET.

In previous years, support from WSU made up over 20% of WDET’s operating revenue – that’s over four times the amount provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). This includes indirect support– ranging from physical space to human resources and other administrative services– as well as a cash subsidy that previously represented over 10% of the station’s overall operating revenue.

In the fiscal year 2018, 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. Listeners responded to this change in funding by increasing their support in the fiscal year 2017 to replace the operating dollars previously provided by Wayne State.

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.

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 cgarcia@wdet.org or 313-577-3342.


How much support does WDET receive from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting?

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. In fiscal year 2017, WDET’s grant from the CPB was $247,526 which represents approximately 5% of WDET’s annual operating revenue. WDET uses this critical source of funding to pay for national programs like NPR’s Morning Edition. Learn more about what you can do to ensure this funding continues and receive updates at ProtectMyPublicMedia.org.


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