KMSU Radio in Mankato is running on a transmitter made by the Singer Sewing company in the early 1980s.

They don’t even make parts to fix the thing anymore, and something as common as bad winter weather can cause the station to go off the air because the old transmitter can’t take the punch.

Thankfully, said KMSU morning hosts Tim Lind and Shelley Pierce, a new donated transmitter is on the way. However, building a new tower and installing it will cost about $50,000 — a huge chunk of money for an independent radio station that relies on donations to stay afloat. In fact, the station would be lucky to bring in two-thirds of that during a full year of drives.

That’s why this year’s spring pledge drive, which runs today through March 25, is so important, Lind said. Lind and Pierce are hoping loyal listeners will help the station break previous years’ fundraising goals, which during the spring has been between $15,000 and $20,000.

Lind and Pierce, hosts of the morning and afternoon program “Shuffle Function,” will make their biggest push during the pledge drive during their “Shuffle Function 24 Hour Pledge Drive A-Go-Go 5: Goin’ Sleepless? Huh? Hrrrmmmm Hisssss!” The duo stays on the air for 24 hours one day each year during the drive and encourages people to donate using any means necessary.

This year’s event is 6 p.m. Thursday through 6 p.m. Friday.

“Last year went really well,” said Pierce, who made sure she was properly caffeinated, rested and hydrated. “It was like a dream marathon.”

Last year the 24-hour marathon brought in about $8,000. When the goal was hit during the final delirious hour, it was pandemonium.

“It was a big scream fest,” Lind said. “The whole place just erupted.”

With a goal of 10 Gs this time around, it’s a guaranteed party at the station if and when the mark is hit.

The hosts have several programming events and tactics planned to ensure they cross the finish line.

To guilt people into donating, listeners will get a taste of “Emotional Blackmail,” when the hosts play snippets of Lind at 10 years old pretending to be a dj and introducing songs. That way people will know how much Lind loves his radio job and needs listeners’ support so he can keep it.

As for blackmail, the two will play really bad music, perhaps some easy listening or something comparable, until someone calls in and pledges. Then they’ll put on something decent.

As always, the two will give away “swag” such as T-shirts and CDs and take requests. They even invite people to pop up to the station and say hello.

For larger donations, people have the chance to be program director for a day on “Shuffle Function.” The 20 available slots go fast, so they encourage people to call early.

Programming during the drive will include the popular K-tel Radio Roulette, Jandek music at 2 a.m. and all vinyl Friday morning.

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