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College Broadcasters Resource
There are a lot of ways for a College station to get free or low cost equipment, services and software! Here are some of the "trade secrets".

Alumni Organizations Contact the alumni office at your campus. They communicate with alumni on a regular basis. See if you can include your organization in their next mailing. Be creative! If you need a new xxx, don't ask for a single donation of xx,xxx dollars. Let them know why you need the x and how much it costs. Tell them how important it is to your operations, the students and the University. Ask them for $25 each or more.

Alumnus Find some way to keep track of your Alumnus! If they are in the industry or a related industry, chances are that they can pass something along. I have gotten a console, free passes to trade shows, supplies, discounted prices and more through this process!

Capital Campaign This uses all the resources available to you! Use the Alumni Organization, Direct Contact with alumnus, press releases, on-air fundraising, the Universities Administration, student groups, student fees, car washes, garage sales and anything else you can think of! This should only be used for MAJOR initiatives. Do it too many times or too frequently and you'll be the station that "cried wolf". When you enter into a capital campaign, have a plan of action BEFORE you start. Have a clear and concise message. Make sure the audience understands the importance of reaching your goal(s).

Local Broadcasters! Chances are that the local radio, TV or cable facilities are upgrading and/or consolidating. In other words that means they have equipment that they want to liquidate! By giving it to you, they get a tax write off! If you promise to produce a press release concerning their gift, they also get free press and good PR. Make sure you talk up these points when meeting with local stations.

Local Engineers This is really a substitute for the above. If you are in a smaller market, the "local" SBE might not be so local. Get to know the engineers in the market. They could provide a lot of the resources mentioned above.

The Society of Broadcast Engineers is an excellent resource for your organization! Chances are there is a local chapter near you. They usually have monthly meetings. You do not need to be a member to attend! Networking in this manner can yeild free advice, free services and sometimes tips on free equipment.

Grants! Research grant opportunities. There are a lot out there for the asking. Here's an example NTIA! If you know of others, pass them along, and I'll add them to the page.

Your University! There are a lot of valuable resources right at your fingertips!

  • Don't foget your university is a business! If you can prove that an investment in your organization will help attract and retain students, the business will prosper.
  • If your University is hell bent on proving its technological prowness, then you can make an easy sell of improving your technologial capabilities!
  • If your Athletic department depends on you... then let them know you depend on them! If you are off the air or the quality of your product (thus theirs) suffers from the lack of funds, you have a solid case for asking them for $$$$.
  • Here's an example... We wanted to webcast. Our University loves technology. Our athletic deparment wants exposure. We asked the Univeristy and the Athletic department for $ to make it happen. It has not cost us any significant $ to make it happen. Their checkbooks opened right up! To take it one step further, the IT department wants to help prove its worth to the University. They bought the server and paid the licensing fees!

Day Sponsorship This comes from Barry Rueger, CKCU Radio Carleton Inc.

One idea that I copied from some American stations is the idea of a "Day Sponsorship". It's simple: any of our donors can write us an additional cheque for $100 and sponsor one day of programming. It's aimed at anniversaries, graduations, birthdays and the like. We specifically exclude any kind of commercial Day Sponsor, and only allow individuals to use it.
Their hundred bucks gets them eight or ten announcements (live read)through the day thanking them for their support, and mentioning why they are sponsoring the day. ("Today's programming is sponsored in part by Joe Blow, who congratulates his son Thurber on finally graduating from Grade Ten.")
We get a steady stream of people honouring their kids, or co-workers, or similar friends, and do very little work. Plus it's really nice.

Used Equipment Dealers! I'll list people who you like to deal with! I've got a few favorites that I'll share in the near future!

Have another idea to share? Pass it along!

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