UA Little Rock public radio receives $1.5 million anonymous donation

Local News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – For decades, UA Little Rock Public Radio has been keeping Arkansans well informed and entertained through their two stations. Now, they’re looking at staying on the air for years to come thanks to the generous gift of an anonymous donor.

On the last day of their annual Fall Fund drive, the station received a gift of $1.5 million — the largest cash gift ever received and 10 times their fundraising goal. 

Station general manager Nathan Vandiver was one of the first to hear of the anonymous donation and helped break the news on-air with the vice chancellor for university advancement Christian O’Neal. 

“A little bit of shock, a little bit of, ‘wait, what was that you said?’,” Vandiver remembers thinking when he heard of the astronomical donation headed his way. The gift was announced Friday, Oct. 8, and will go solely to the two stations (KUAR, the local NPR affiliate and KLRE, an FM classical station) operating expenses for years to come. 

The goal for the week of fundraising was $150,000, a sum Vandiver said was already a bit higher than normal given NPR’s 50th anniversary. Before the anonymous gift, they had raised just over $100,000. 

UA Little Rock senior Maddie Becker interns at the radio station, producing news stories for the broadcasts and web. She remembers first hearing about the upcoming funds when she was at home. 

“I was listening to the station at the time,” Becker recalls, thrilled at the station receiving such a large donation. She says with everything she’s learned over the semester she’s grateful others will be able to have the same experience.  

“It’s going to be great for any future interns that come here,” Becker said. Vandiver added, “it’s going to really help us going into the future.”

In total, UA Little Rock Public Radio’s fall drive raised about 1.6 million thanks to the donations of others across the state. Vandiver adds that since some were sent through the mail, gifts are still being counted and that total could go up. 

To learn more about KUAR and KLRE, check out their website here.

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