Janine Allen to lead KHNS while Clements is on leave
September 5, 2019
Janine Allen has worked as a housesitter, library volunteer, baker and server in various town restaurants, proofreader for the Chilkat Valley News, and now as interim manager at KHNS, in charge of "anything and everything to keep the radio flowing."
Allen was entrusted the position by KHNS board members and general manager Kay Clements, who left for a six-month sabbatical last month.
In December 2018, Clements was selected among four Alaskan nonprofit leaders to receive the Rasmuson Foundation Sabbatical Reward, a $40,000 grant to the station to pay for Clement's leave, travel costs, and to keep the station running in her absence.
The grant is intended to increase leadership longevity in nonprofit work. According to Rasmuson Foundation data from past sabbatical recipients, "most still worked for their same nonprofit organization five years later, and 70 percent still were working in the nonprofit sector, even if they changed jobs."
Stipulations of the grant dictate that Clements must commit to another year at her job, and must not be in touch with staff while she's gone--"To ensure that it's a proper break," Allen said. "Which, I think is kind of cool."
Until Feb. 2020, Allen will pay the bills, take care of staff, and brainstorm ways to brace the station against about $75,000 in state funding cuts--but this isn't her first time in radio.
On Friday, Allen dons a red "How radio works" KHNS t-shirt that depicts with cartoonist drawings how sound is transmitted to the ear through a series of seven steps. It's an old design by Amelia Nash, she said, from sometime in the past six years. From 2015 to 2017, Allen worked as the program director for the station (and as a volunteer for a cumulative six years), and has a pretty good understanding of how radio works.
"Right now, I'm trying to do as much as I can to help the staff so that they can be thinking of ways to potentially automate parts of their job, or ways we can make things easier on us," Allen said. "Kay has encouraged me to think big and to figure out what plans we can put into action."
The station has already cut two part-time positions and changed broadcasting providers cost-saving measures.
Beginning this month, reporter Claire Stremple will spend one fourth of her time reporting locally for Alaska Energy Desk, a regional collaboration between stations in Juneau and Anchorage on statewide energy issues.
In exchange for her work, Alaska Energy Desk will pay KHNS $10,000 for one year of reporting that will first air locally.
"I think it's a chance for her to zoom out and focus on regional issues," Allen said.
As for Clements, she told the Rasmuson Foundation that she'll spend the next six months driving down south, visiting friends, family and museums in Washington, D.C.
In the meantime, Allen said KHNS staff is discussing potential restructuring. "We are starting to envision what that may look like and what our priorities are. We're really open to feedback and ideas for what people want from KHNS and what's essential."