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Public Radio Creates Fund to Spur Investment in Stations

Public Radio Creates Fund to Spur Investment in Stations

Tired of not being able to raise capital quickly enough to buy a station when a frequency comes on the market, public radio now has its own “bank,” actually a fund, to give investors small, short-term loans to invest in public radio stations.
The Calvert Foundation, the Ford Foundation and Public Radio Capital have teamed up to create the “Public Radio Fund.”
The target for the fund in the next six to 12 months is $15 million. The Calvert Foundation has contributed $3 million and the Ford Foundation $1.5 million in start-up money.
By leveraging the fund’s assets provided by loans from investors, PRC says will be able to attract tax-exempt bond financing to acquire a greater number of radio stations. Previous financing for public radio in the U.S. has been on a station-specific basis or for a single entity controlling multiple stations.
Most public radio financing arrangements that PRC now works with are in the range of $1 million to $6 million. With leveraging, the $15 million goal for the Public Radio Fund will allow for the financing of an estimated five to 10 stations, said participants.
Through the recycling of loan capital, the impact of the fund over three to five years could secure financing for 20-30 stations, participants said.
PRC Managing Director Marc Hand said most loan amounts would be between $200,000 to $300,000. The fund will be available this fall.