Alumna donates $25,000 to WKSU

Tieran Lewis

89.7 WKSU-FM received a $25,000 endowment to help the station with its coverage of political events.

The donation comes from Elizabeth Bartz, a Kent State alumna and CEO of State and Federal Communications.

“We usually send reporters to the Democratic and Republican national conventions to report from the point of view of Northeast Ohio,” said Al Bartholet, executive director and general manager for WKSU. “Now we’ll be able to have some funding to help with that effort.”

In the past the station has relied solely on sponsorship from individuals on a case-by-case basis. Bartholet said WKSU still needs that type of sponsorship, but Bartz’s donation keeps the station from having to start at zero when it’s time to find money during the election season.

“At least at this point in time, with Elizabeth’s contribution, we’ll have a base to start with,” Bartholet said. “And we hope the plan would be that we could attract other individuals to contribute to that effort as well.”

Bartz had previously sponsored the station’s coverage of the 2004 Democratic and Republican conventions.

Bartz, a 1980 graduate of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, said she wanted to “do something long-lasting” for WKSU.

“Al (Bartholet) thought of the idea of endowing a fund so that we could make local political coverage more permanent here at WKSU,” she said. “I loved the idea and I said okay.”

WKSU only has access to the 5 percent interest the money will generate annually. The principal balance will stay in an account untouched.

“You have to wait 18 months before you can use any of (the money) because you have to make that investment, and then it builds over time,” Bartholet said.

He said the money that would be available for 2008 election coverage may not be more than $1,300, but it has to start somewhere.

“The credit that Elizabeth gets is making the first step,” he said. “Our goal will be to have others do that as well so that there’s adequate funding to cover political events. It’s a great start for us.”

Contact news correspondent Tieran Lewis at [email protected].