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New WPR station in Ashland reaches fundraising goal

When Wisconsin Public Radio's newest radio station, WUWS 90.9 FM in Ashland, went on the air this fall there was still a lot of work to be done to pay for construction.

A federal grant for 75 percent of the costs was secured and WPR committed to a local match of $85,000.

"We were confident that we would meet our fundraising goal before the end of the year," said WPR Director Mike Crane, "but until you have the funds in place, you can never be certain."

Now, thanks to the support of more than 100 donors, Crane can rest easy.

Public fundraising for the new station, which serves more than 20,000 residents of the Chequamegon Bay region -- and twice that number during the summer tourist season -- was launched in the spring 2011. An early challenge from Mary Rice and the Mary H. Rice Foundation quickly built momentum for the fundraising effort. The foundation pledged to give up to $15,000, $1 for every $3 donated, and add $5,000 if the total was pledged by Dec. 31. That goal was reached -- with a couple of weeks to spare -- thanks, in part, to another generous grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation.