Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966


KHNS eyes joining consortium


Members elected four new KHNS board members and heard a lively discussion on joining a Southeast radio consortium at the station’s annual membership meeting at the Haines ANB Hall Sept. 27.

Diane Sly, Gabe Long and Jeff Bochart of Haines and Deb Potter of Skagway were elected to the station’s nine-member board. For a seat with no declared candidate, there is a tie in write-in votes for several members. How the fate of the seat will be determined wasn’t clear early this week, said station manager Kay Clements.

Station staffers reported they’d be looking closely at joining Coast Alaska, a consortium of five public radio stations. In exchange for a fee for joining the group, the station would get a share of regional underwriting revenues and help with administrative duties.

The station could keep its own programming and staff would be freed up for such things as outreach, Clements said.

Longtime member and former treasurer Scott Carey said the station considered joining the consortium about 15 years ago and the idea has been “kind of controversial.” Carey said he feared the change would cost the station jobs and independence. “I’m not sure I want to hear underwriting from other areas.”

Maria Pointer, a Haines resident who previously lived in Ketchikan, said joining Coast Alaska seemed like a good move for KRBD, Ketchikan’s station. The staff eventually expanded after a reorganization that included joining the consortium, she said. “It enabled growth.”

Staffer Amelia Nash said new information about copyright laws would impact some locally produced shows, including “Salmonberry Jam.” The station may not legally be able to broadcast material on such shows that it doesn’t hold rights to, including written material read aloud on historic shows like “Tales and Tunes,” Nash said.

Staff also reported that the station is now streaming live via the Internet, although capacity is limited. Staff also is reinstituting air checks of deejays to ensure a consistent sound.

The KHNS news department won kudos for statewide awards in the past year, including for the station’s nightly newscast and the local radio talk show “Talk Around Town.” KHNS news director Margaret Friedenauer said her “hope and dream” was to establish a Skagway-based reporter.

Staff defended use of an automated phone operator during business hours, which rankled some members. “It’s not ideal. We try to get the phone. We do as best we can with the people we have,” Clements said.

A profit and loss statement showed the station had income of $412,000, including a $131,000 state grant, $112,000 from the federal Corporation for Public Broadcasting, $97,000 in memberships and donations, and $30,000 in underwriting.

Station expenses of $374,000 included payroll, $227,000; programming, $44,000; utilities $30,000; professional services, $24,000; and information technology, $11,000.