What's the vision for this new station?
We established a written set of values and a mission based on input from our surveys, interviews and community meetings, and we developed the vision for KSER from the same input.
Following our extensive research and outreach, the Board of Directors, working with KSER staff, established four strategic objectives:
What is your budget for the KXIR Plan? The budget for the strategic plan is part of our 5-year station operating budget and a separate capital budget: roughly $500,000 per year in operating expenses for the KSER Foundation and $500,000 in capital funds. Funds from community supporters, businesses and foundations will be essential for the success of this project. We will conduct a campaign to raise $350,000 in construction funds, with the ultimate goal of raising $500,000 to fund the expansion of KXIR and KSER. We envision a two-phase growth plan for our Whidbey Island station: Build and operate 89.9 KXIR as a translator to increase the audience and revenue for KSER’s programming. Projected expenses during this phase are $15-$20k per year. Switch to a full-time music-focused format on 89.9 KXIR, with local news and information provided by KSER weekdays until 7:00PM.
Projected expenses during this phase are between $65-$100k annually. Listener donations account for 40-50% of most public radio stations’ budgets. A simple calculation shows that the new station will need about 7,500 listeners and about 750 members, at the current average donation of around $100/year, to operate as a full-time music station. The balance of the income will be derived from a combination of underwriting, grants, CPB funding and start-up money raised during our capital campaign. Build secondary studio in Island County. Partner with Island County public, private, education, and non-profit sectors in producing programming specific to the County New facilities will cost between $500k and $1M (depending on the level of interest and support from Island County residents.) Because change is the only constant in life, we know that our long-term plan will evolve and we look forward to working with the community throughout the process.
KSER has been working to regain funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Where do things stand with that effort? The changes to our programming schedule implemented since 2006 coupled with major investments and improvements in fundraising have helped the station grow significantly. In 2006, KSER’s total “listener sensitive income” (the income by which CPB judges a station’s qualifications for funding) was $132,754. In order to qualify for CPB funding in 2011, we needed raise around $297,000 in “listener sensitive income” by December 31, 2010. UPDATE: we made it - over $300,000 was raised in 2010!
When will the Board know if KSER will re-qualify for CPB funding? KSER has received tentative approval for CPB funding in 2012. However, due to the on-going budget issues in Congress, final approval is delayed.
Is the KXIR project dependent on CPB funding in any way? Not directly. But if CPB were to disappear in 2011 would have a profoundly negative impact on KSER’s operational capacity, which may necessarily impact fundraising and other activities associate with our Freeland station.
KXIR is on Whidbey Island. If I don’t live there, how does it benefit me? The signal area of the new station is huge, and will cover almost all of KSER’s broadcast area, and more (see map). The station will also dramatically improve reception in Edmunds, Mukilteo, all the way down to Shoreline, and in Island and Jefferson counties.
Will you still have volunteer-programmed shows on the new station? Yes.
Will all the volunteers have to move to Whidbey Island? No. For the first couple years we will run the new station as a translator, which will broadcast KSER’s programming on both 90.7 and 89.9. Our studios in Everett will connect to the KXIR transmitter on Whidbey Island via the internet. After adding studio space in Everett and studios on the Island, we’ll have the capacity to broadcast from either location and be in a position to split KSER’s current dual format (music and news) into two separate stations, each with a single format.
Will you still air Democracy Now? Yes. Democracy Now is one of KSER's flagship news programs and vital to the needs of listeners in our region.
Will I still be able to listen to the Sunlit Room? Yes. The Sunlit Room will remain the anchor of our mid-day music programming.
Will you still play music by local artists? Absolutely! Supporting the Arts in our community is one of the pillars of our mission. Broadening the range of music heard on the Sunlit Room and attracting more listeners will be a boon to the local music scene by exposing more listeners to the tremendous talent in our community. Ultimately, we plan to increase our capacity to bring local music to the airwaves through live performances, remote-location broadcasts, and unique partnerships with local music venues and arts organizations.
Will the weekend schedule change? No major changes are contemplated at this time.
Will there be more on-air fundraisers for the new station? Fundraising for KXIR will mostly be conducted off-air and as a separate fundraising campaign.
How can I learn more? Attend a meeting. The Foundation Board of Directors meets every second Tuesday of the month. Meetings are open to the public and time for public comment is set aside. Meetings run from 7:00 – 9:00pm You can also request more information from KSER’s general manager, Bruce Wirth. You can contact Bruce via email, post, or by phone at 425-303-9070
Did you ask for input from the community or members before making any changes? Yes. The KSER Foundation invites the public to attend every monthly board meeting and offer public comment. In addition, we purposefully reached out to listeners and non-listeners over the past three years. We posted an online survey for current listeners and invited them to provide input. We compiled and reviewed this input. We created a list of key local leaders and community stakeholders and interviewed them personally about how KSER could best serve Snohomish and Island counties. We compiled and reviewed this input. We held a series of live, on-air community “Vision Quest” discussions as well as in-person community meetings to gather input on our mission and values. We compiled and reviewed this input. You can read a summary of each meeting and listen to the audio archive of the live radio meetings on the kser website. Search for “Vision Quest”.
How can I provide input? You can provide input during public comment set aside at every Board meeting. You can also contact the Foundation’s Board of Directors via email.