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Red River Radio, which broadcasts El Dorado’s own NPR station 90.9 KBSA, will begin a pledge drive for its 35th anniversary today.

Red River has an annual budget of about $900,000, but over half of that is raised by individual contributions, said Kermit Poling, general manager for Red River Radio.

“That’s what keeps the station on the air,” Poling said.

Poling said the station covers a geographic range of about 2.5 million people and has about 150,000 weekly listeners.

Poling also said he thinks El Dorado is the smallest town in the nation to have a public radio station. It often broadcasts music from the South Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, where Poling is the conductor.

From NPR segments like Morning Edition and All Things Considered to its own Bird Calls and classical and jazz programs, Red River broadcasts it all, Poling said. Whether it’s from El Dorado, Shreveport, Alexandria, or Tyler and Lufkin, Texas, each station affiliated with Red River broadcasts the programs to its own audience.

“It really does tie this area together,” Poling said. “It’s a way of sharing the arts, it’s a way of sharing culture, it’s a way of sharing news.”

The pledge drive will last from today to Oct. 25. Those who wish to donate can go online to redriverradio.org or call-in at 800-552-8502.

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