San Mateo’s community television has been given a 30-day lifeline.
KCSM was given until Wednesday to come up with the $1.2 million given to the station by the San Mateo Community College District to continue operation.
On the day of the deadline, the TV station was only $30,000 short of the goal, said Michelle Brown, a broadcast and electronic media professor at College of San Mateo.
Because of the hard work and efforts to come up with the money, the district’s board of trustees extended the deadline another 30 days.
“If given a little more time, [station manager] Marilyn Lawrence believes there are some proposals that could potentially reduce the deficit to zero,” trustee Richard Holober said. “But if not, we’ll have to develop plans to shut it.”
KCSM’s manager has been working since Jan. 1 to develop plans and agreements to lease substations of KCSM. Lawrence has said those proposals, however, would only generate $100,000 each. At least three proposals were received.
KCSM operates on a $3.5 million budget. The $1.2 million the station needs to raise was the community college’s contribution. Without it, the station cannot operate. An estimated 25 people are employed by KCSM.
The TV station provides distance learning for community colleges throughout the Bay Area. It is also a hands-on opportunity for broadcast students at the College of San Mateo to use equipment and learn alongside professionals at KCSM.
“The longer the station stays here,” Brown said, “the better for the district and the better for us.”
The community college district needed to trim $7.5 million from its budget. In addition to KCSM, the board of trustees opted to cut classes and lay off part-time faculty.
Holober said these cuts are not easy for the board.
“It’s not a pretty picture,” he said. “We’re in very, very lean times.”