STATEMENT FROM THE COMMITTEE TO KEEP KBOO AS KBOO
– WHAT WE STAND FOR
— CANDIDATES WE ENDORSE
We believe in KBOO as a listener-supported non-commercial community radio station, and we reject the contention that the listener supported model, successful for the past 45 years, is “no longer sustainable.”
We do not agree that KBOO will go extinct unless it abandons its basic values and makes fundamental changes in the way it carries out its mission. We believe that KBOO’s programming — telling truth to power, speaking to and for the 99%, presenting grass roots authentic music, avoiding commercialism, covering the multitude of local culture and organizations — can win a large audience, particularly because KBOO is the only mass media in the Portland area that consistently presents that programming.
We do not accept that KBOO has to “corporatize” to survive.
Corporatization involves toning down or eliminating controversial programming. The corporatizers would dismiss most staff, who today and for nearly all for KBOO’s history concentrated on training, supervising, and evaluating volunteers, particularly on air, to insure quality radio production. The fired staff and many locally produced shows would be replaced by nationally syndicated productions as well as a “development” staff seeking corporate, government, foundation, and rich people’s grants and gifts. And the corporatizers would concentrate power in an Executive Director, advised by a policy Board, thus marginalizing membership, staff voice, and its committee structure.
Those who support corporatization think it is realistic. We think it suicidal, alienating our core of devoted volunteers, supporters, and members who appreciate our current mix of national and mostly local programming and our democratic participatory character. These, who make up our base of programming and support, will vote with their feet and checkbook, and abandon KBOO. This route to utter failure is not uncommon. Basic Business School texts examine the terrible results when once successful and healthy enterprises, having a bad year or two or three, but still with a loyal following, move into panic mode and conclude they have to quickly increase income, then “rebrand” and find a new trendy product line, often in an area in which they are poorly equipped to compete. These enterprises almost always painfully die. As the business school texts emphasize, to maintain and build an enterprise in KBOO’s condition, with traditions and a large loyal customer/membership base, requires building on its strengths, improving its product line, and building its base of support.
We believe that the listener-supported model is at the heart and soul of KBOO.
As for the last 45 years, to this day members continue to provide KBOO’s primary support whenever they are asked.
We believe that together we can get KBOO back on its feet.
For several years, during the long economic downturn, KBOO has run deficits. This year, management at KBOO tried something dramatically different. The 2013 budget was set with an expectation of raising more than 20% of KBOO’s revenue from “major donor support,” “business contributions,” and “fundraising and co-sponsorships.” This strategy has not worked. None of these sources has produced the sums hoped for. KBOO is projected to end this fiscal year with a deficit of $50,000 or more, primarily because the Board and the New Executive Director cancelled the Winter Membership Drive in expectations of grants and major donor gifts that have not materialized.
We do not believe this enlarged deficit signals the demise of KBOO. We do believe that it is time to go back to basics – to our current members and to build membership. KBOO, because it practices what it preaches, that is democracy and confidence in one another, has hundreds of committed volunteers, supporters, and alumni, who will reach out to friends and the organizations the are active in to provide financial support to the radio station that serves them and contributes to Portland’s highly participatory organizational and civic culture. We see this as the way to restore KBOO’s financial health.
What needs to be done?
KBOO has financial reserves that will allow it to survive this deficit. KBOO’s loyal listeners and friends continue to support its work. The 2013 Pledge Drives, those that were held, exceeded expectations. Underwriting support from our loyal business supporters is continuing to grow. And KPOJ, with its generally progressive hosts, did cut into our audience, but has been shut down by its corporate owner, and we will reach out to that audience.
We believe that KBOO has to concentrate its attention on increasing membership, which will require:
— Building a more active relationship with current members and reaching out to former members.
— Introducing ourselves to people who do not yet know about KBOO, especially those who listened to KPOJ.
— Reaching out to the organizations that we serve, the whole range of civic and social justice and environmental groups, whose staff and members we often interview and feature on KBOO, seeking their support including promoting KBOO to their membership.
As to grants and gifts, we will operate smart and creative, taking advantage of real opportunities but never relying on what so many dead and forgotten organizations came to learn, that these funders rarely provide long term support, and once dependent on grants and gifts, the organization has to increasingly bend its goals to fit those of its funders, thus undermining its own mission.
We believe that KBOO can restore its member base to 6000 and beyond, and restore a broad base of financial support. This has been the model that KBOO has used for 45 years. We know it has worked, and we believe it must and can work still.
What about the coming election?
An important KBOO election is coming up. The ballots have already been mailed to its membership, the votes to be counted late next month, September 15th at KBOO’s annual membership meeting at which ballots can still be cast. This election has candidates from both this Committee to Keep KBOO as KBOO and those who would corporatize KBOO. Election results will thus greatly influence KBOO policy on meeting its current challenges. The Committee to Keep KBOO as KBOO has endorsed five candidates for the four open positions. They are, Jen Davis, Adin Rogovin, Robin Ryan, Joe Uris, and Michael Wells.
There’s an element of public service in the role of journalists that I don’t see honored at or in other media. The community radio station stands bravely prepared to gather news according to the high standard of actually informing community .
Robin Ryan, Board Candidate
My experience in financial management, group facilitation, and social change
are assets I will bring to the KBOO Board and community. My relevant
experience includes 20 years of service on non-profit Boards and Staff including
Seven Generations Land Trust, The Center for Wise Democracy, Climate Neutral
Network, Alpha Farm Community, Veterans for Peace, Trillium Hollow
Cohousing, and New Orleans Community Congress II.
What you can do.
We urge you to:
· Go to our Facebook page, that provides more detail and background on our analysis and program.
· Become a KBOO member and a radioactivist in alternative community people’s radio and join with us in the Committee to Keep KBOO as KBOO.
· Vote in the coming KBOO election.
For More Information email KeepKBOO9@gmail.com
, leave your phone #, and we’ll get right back to you.
Adin Rogovin, Board Candidate
My board goals are to build listenership, build membership, stabilize station
finances and work with members, volunteers, staff and board to promote
organizational stability and effectiveness. KBOO operates in an entirely
different media environment than 10 or 20 years ago. We also need to figure
out KBOO’s role in building and supporting community in a rapidly changing
society – as a resource, an advocate and a model organization. I was Station
Manager from 1978-1981, another time when KBOO was in turmoil. I have an
FCC General license and can talk to engineers. I have taught grant writing at
Portland State and wrote a book on nonprofit finances.
Michael Wells, Board Candidate
Like you, I love and revere the free media, uncensored information,
community connections and musical and cultural diversity which KBOO
brings to our lives. As a young woman in the 1990s I was first involved
with KBOO answering phones, then created a special KBOO program on
homelessness. KBOO folks welcomed me with open arms to learn
recording and production skills, and I went out and taped many other
programs . I have served on two Boards; the Garden Laboratory School
and Orlo Environmental Arts. In these and other positions I’ve helped
hire staff, problem solve with diverse groups, do public outreach and
organizational development, write grants, negotiate contracts, and work with budgets.
Jen Davis, Board Candidate
KBOO has a unique blend of news, public affairs programming and
varied music that speak to many diverse and underserved communities.
This programming must be supported and strengthened. Changing
listener habits, new technologies and options together with a failure to
adequately maintain the membership base and seek out new listeners
have put the station in great danger. If elected to the board my first
priorities would be to increase support through: better region wide
publicity, stronger efforts to regain and add members, stronger graphic
presentation of programming, a strong presence on social media, making
KBOO more accessible and financially secure. These efforts at
transparency and public outreach in addition to adding more listeners
and members will also make the station a more democratic organization.
Joe Uris, Board Candidate