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KBBG struggling to stay on air, employees laid off

WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) — We’re learning that non-profit, low-power radio station KBBG 88.1 FM is struggling to stay on the air. Layoffs happened this afternoon, including President and Executive Director, Deborah Berry.

Now, they’re asking for your help. They’ve recently had to deal with some unforeseen expenses. Berry says, in order to stay on air, they immediately need $100,000. They will be getting some money in October from The Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

KBBG has been in the area for more than four decades.Civil Rights Activist Jimmie Porter was the driving force behind its launch all those years ago. It started in the basement of a Waterloo home on Cottage Street, and the radio station has grown to its new location at the corner of Newell Street.

Deborah Berry says, “He really started something wonderful, and we just want to, it’s important to keep it going.”

Two years ago, Berry took over as President and Executive Director. Say says, “We are local. I interviewed the police chief,you hear local familiar voices talking about the things that are important to you specifically.”

This is a nonprofit that relies on community donations and grants. Just this past weekend, they had a very successful 2019 parade. They had the largest turnout to date.

Now, the radio station is asking the community for help, so they don’t fall silent.

“We’re just asking for help from all those who believe in public radio and having a voice that reflects the things that you believe in,” Berry says.

Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart says, “The impact that KBBG has had on this community, state and country has been tremendous. For 42 years they’ve been a beacon of hope and information for those with and without a voice. This community needs to stand up and support this station. The impact of dollars being shifted to pay for station upgrades and significant decrease off public broadcasting unrestricted dollars has been an extraordinary burden when unplanned. I support all public stations, but we cannot lose KBBG.”


Sara Belmont

Assistant News Director

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