June 14, 2012 | Volume 42, No.24

KHNS on-air marathon will seek $70K

Public radio station KHNS will kick off its annual, on-air fundraiser Friday, June 22 with a broadcast from Skagway and continue to pitch for local members and pledges until June 29 or until reaching its $70,000 goal, said station manager Kay Clements.

Last year the station set a record and Clements aims to match it. “We took in just over $70,000 total, with about 68,000 on air and within the next few days people kept calling in and giving more, so we topped 70,000.”

Some listeners say they actually like the fundraiser’s on-air energy, and its almost constant chatter but others “really, really don’t like it, so we’re trying to find a happy medium.” As of Monday, she said the station already had about $1,000 in pre-fund-drive pledges.

The station’s annual budget is about $400,000, of which about 25 percent comes from the fund drive and underwriting, she said.

Last year’s record drive boosted staff, volunteer, and board morale, but also made it possible to expand from three full-time and two part-time staff members to five full-time and one, part-time employee.

The generous local contribution also enabled the station to receive more in-state and private grants to upgrade and replace aging equipment in the broadcast studio in the Chilkat Center and to make improvements in Skagway.

She said broadcasting 24 hours a day, 365 days a year is more of a challenge than residents may realize. “Sometimes it looks so easy, but it’s really a complicated business keeping it all happening. It takes a lot of talent and money.”

Clements is excited about the many pledge premiums from local businesses, gift shops and galleries, as well as home-baked cheesecakes and fresh salmon. This year’s poster is a watercolor of Mount Harding by Skagway artist Courtenay Birdsall Clifford, daughter of well-known Alaska artist Byron Birdsall.

“She was really excited to do the print, as she has collected the others for years. She was great to work with,” Clements said. The print is on display at the station website, KHNS.org. Pledges may be made there as well.

Clements said everyone at KHNS is looking forward to the fund drive, “It’s fun to be on the air reminding people of all the great things we do, and all the ways we serve.”