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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 fiscal year 2016, WDET’s total operating expenses equaled just over $4.1 million. 60% of WDET’s FY16 budget was spent on local and national programming. Community support from individuals and local businesses made up over 60% of WDET’s revenue. As you can see below, support from listeners is the station’s largest source of funding. 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 has long been the single-largest supporter of WDET through both direct financial support, and indirect support by providing physical space, human resources, and other support services. In Fiscal Year 2016, support from Wayne State made up 25% of WDET’s operating revenue.

Unfortunately, due to continued ongoing budget pressures, Wayne State is reallocating a portion of its budget, which will reduce the direct subsidy to WDET by 50% in fiscal year 2018. This presents a gap of $250,000 in operating revenue and WDET needs to rely on listeners to make up for this loss of critical funds.

However, WSU will continue to provide significant budget support with both direct and indirect funds. Wayne State’s ongoing direct and indirect support of WDET is by far the largest single source of funding for the station, and WSU believes strongly in WDET’s mission to engage, educate, and empower Detroit’s diverse audience.

 

What prompted the decision by Wayne State to end its annual subsidy to WDET?

Wayne State University’s state funding remains below its 2011 levels, which makes it essential that it focus its limited funding on its core mission and strategic priorities: Teaching, research and student success. It also becomes increasingly important to offer more financial aid directly to students.

This kind of budget adjustment is never ideal, and it is certainly not an indication of WDET’s performance. In fact, WDET has more listeners, more supporters, and is doing more in the community than at any other point in recent history. WSU will continue to provide significant budget support with both direct and indirect funds and encourages its employees and the community to support WDET.

 

What impact will the subsidy cut have on WDET now and in the future?

Wayne State’s direct subsidy to WDET represented 13% of the station’s total operating revenue in Fiscal Year 2016, twice the amount provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. While cost-saving measures are continually being explored, WDET must fundraise to fill this gap in order to maintain the station’s current level of service to our listeners. With more people listening to the station than anytime in recent history, WDET is confident that community support will enable the station to cover its expenses in the coming year. Over 11,000 listeners currently support the station as members and WDET is forecasting that it will raise $1.95 million from listeners in the coming fiscal year.

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?

In Fiscal Year 2016, WDET’s grant from the CPB was $255,400 which comprised nearly 7% 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.