The Friends of KLRE/KUAR will host a fundraiser featuring an evening with sportswriter and public radio commentator, Frank Deford.
“The Politics and Economics of Sports” will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19, at Embassy Suites in Little Rock. The event will include a dinner, talk, and book signing with Deford. Arkadelphia native and Southern Fried blogger Rex Nelson will be the master of ceremonies. A cash bar will precede the dinner in the foyer of the Embassy Suites ballroom.
“We’re very excited to be welcoming Frank Deford to Little Rock,” says Katherine Lu, board president of the Friends of KLRE/KUAR.
“He’s more than just an NPR personality – he’s a national sports icon,” she says of the Baltimore native whose work appears regularly in Sports Illustrated, Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, and National Public Radio.
Deford is the author of 18 books, nine of them novels, and was awarded a National Humanities Medal by President Obama on July 10. His Wednesday morning sports commentaries are broadcast at 7:50 a.m. on KUAR FM-89.
Rex Nelson, whose career began as a broadcaster and sports writer covering the Ouachita Baptist Tigers, will introduce Deford and conduct the question-and-answer session at the end of Deford’s presentation. Nelson is a regular political commentator on KUAR news, president of Arkansas’ Independent Colleges & Universities Association, a columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, and a previous advisor to former Gov. Mike Huckabee.
“Rex is going to be a great host because he’s a real expert on Arkansas culture with a background in politics, sports, and writing,” says Lu. “We hope that this event will help public radio reach a new segment of our regular listeners and get to know some of our more occasional listeners better.”
Admission to the event is $100, $50 of which is a tax deductible donation to public radio. The proceeds will benefit KLRE/KUAR’s 40th anniversary equipment fund. Purchase tickets online at kuar.org or by calling 501.569.8485.
The top priority is replacing the stations’ aging audio control boards – used to broadcast the station signal and record local content.
“The equipment is more than 15 years old and starting to fail,” says general manager Ben Fry, “and some of the parts for these boards are getting hard to replace. Reporters, producers and board operators are constantly having technical problems. It’s time to update.”
The Friends of KLRE/KUAR is a nonprofit organization that financially supports the two stations of UALR Public Radio. Unlike commercial radio, “members” of the Friends of KLRE/KUAR make financial contributions to support the station’s annual operating budgets.
“Hundreds of listeners participate in our semi-annual fund drives and become members of UALR Public Radio,” says development director Mary Waldo, “but it’s been several years since we’ve hosted a major fundraiser. This year our focus is to improve the equipment for KUAR FM 89 and KLRE Classical 90.5. We do rely on the support of our listeners and members to serve central Arkansas.”
KLRE FM 90.5, Little Rock’s first public radio station, went live in 1973 and became a member of National Public Radio in 1984. KUAR FM 89.1 went on the air in 1986. Today the two stations serve a third of the state’s population and even more people through live streaming on the Internet.
KUAR broadcasts news and information programming, including daily news magazines from NPR and local news. KLRE broadcasts classical music 24 hours a day.