Due to a surge in donations and grant money, public radio station KHNS ended up in the black this year, general manager Kay Clements reported during the station’s annual meeting Nov. 2.
With a budget of $410,150, KHNS took in nearly $428,000 during its last fiscal year, or $18,000 more than anticipated. Development director Leslie Ross said federal and state governments each provide about 30 percent of the station’s income.
Membership fees and donations accounted for nearly $90,000 in revenue, including $60,000 from the June fundraiser and other sources like the “Pick, Click, Give” campaign. Grants from the Rasmuson Foundation ($14,000) and an Alaska Public Broadcasting, Inc. supplemental grant ($4,500) also helped the station come in over budget this year.
During the annual meeting, Clements highlighted several projects completed over the past year, including the replacement of all the newsroom equipment, installation of a new member database, purchase of six production studio and office computers, and replacement of the emergency alert system.
Work to be done includes replacing the station’s automation system, which has become obsolete.
“Our automation system that runs everything, it needs a full facelift,” said program director Amelia Nash. “We need new equipment, we need new software. Everything is aging and we need to replace it all and it’s very expensive.”
The station is installing an Internet protocol system which will allow the Haines and Skagway stations to communicate without antennas and transmitters. Clements said the upgrade will improve the overall sound quality on the radio.
Though donations and grants from the past year were very generous, Clements urged members voting in the national election to consider how their vote Tuesday affects federal funding of public broadcasting.
“We wouldn’t be able to – I’m thinking, I’m guessing – make that up in our membership. It would just be a huge burden with the population size that we have. So that would create a lot of changes in the station,” Clements said.
Nash said KHNS would start holding several one-day fundraisers intended to raise money for specific projects. The first, set for Nov. 29, will go toward automation upgrades.
“We are very, very thankful for the support we get. We get wonderful support from these communities, but we do want to split it up a little bit. Our eight-day drive is very time-consuming, I know, for listeners and it also is for the staff,” Nash said.
Plans for the coming months include producing a Christmas special that will mix short stories and music and hosting a masquerade ball.
Several KHNS members spoke up during the public comment section and offered suggestions on how the station might improve. Katya Kirsch asked why the station’s feed isn’t streamed over the Internet, and Clements explained the various barriers, including regulations and expenses, to making that leap.
“It’s on our list, but it’s not right at the top,” she said.
A Top 40 music hour and a direct phone line to the deejay were among other suggestions.
Personnel changes since last year included the hiring of Margaret Friedenauer as news director and Macky Cassidy in an administration and operations position.
Nash said the station is seeking volunteer deejays, community advisory board members, and a Skagway host.