KGNU Community Radio

KGNU is an independent, noncommercial community radio station licensed in Boulder and Denver and dedicated to serving its listeners.
We seek to stimulate, educate and entertain our audience, to reflect the diversity of the local and world community, and to provide a channel for individuals, groups, issues and music that have been overlooked, suppressed or under-represented by other media.
The station seeks to expand the listening audience through the excellence of its programming without compromising the principles stated here.

Organizational Overview

Name
KGNU Community Radio
Phone
303-449-4885
Address
4700 Walnut Street
Boulder, CO 80301
EIN
84-0690097
Website
www.kgnu.org
Email
nikki@kgnu.org
Mission
Statement
KGNU is an independent, noncommercial community radio station licensed in Boulder and Denver and dedicated to serving its listeners.
We seek to stimulate, educate and entertain our audience, to reflect the diversity of the local and world community, and to provide a channel for individuals, groups, issues and music that have been overlooked, suppressed or under-represented by other media.
The station seeks to expand the listening audience through the excellence of its programming without compromising the principles stated here.
Social
 

Impact Statement

KGNU's top accomplishments this past year include:

1) KGNU is participating in a summer internship program at our Denver studio for teens with learning disabilities in the Denver Public School ACE program. Students learn all aspects of radio production during this ten-week program.

2) The start of a Capital Campaign to upgrade our studio equipment, HVAC system and 'greening the station.'

3) "East Colfax Scratch Academy"--a youth radio project at East High School in Denver that teaches the improvisational 'turntablism' to students as a method of engaging young people in music. This program was made possible by Colorado Creative Industries and the National Endowment for the Arts.

5) KGNU is working to create and implement a new program, titled After FM. This will be a music stream that will run on our second signal during news programs, enabling music listeners to stay with KGNU's music programming all day. The next step is to create a second news stream for those looking for news while KGNU airs music on our broadcast signal.

6) 4) Purchase and install backup power for our FM translator in Nederland that will keep us on air through power outages at the site. This project is critical to continue serving our rural and mountain area listeners who are often only able to access us through this translator.

KGNU's primary goals for the next year include:

1) Improved outreach throughout the Denver Metro Area. We need to generate greater awareness of KGNU's programs and volunteer opportunities, especially in communities of color. We plan to forge new partnerships with organizations that provide services to under served populations and utilize those partnerships to access people who would be interested in our programs.

2) Continue to improve our youth programs, and expand them to other schools. Increase participation by youth through training opportunities. The great success of the three aforementioned programs for youth demonstrate that there is interest in KGNU among youth and we intend to expand our programs as much as possible into other school systems, including Boulder, Aurora and Nederland.

3) Continue to improve our fundraising efforts. Focus on maintaining and cultivating donors, continue progress on increasing business underwriting, grants and events. Develop and implement a planned giving program.

4) Continue progress on updating our website; this is a multi-year project. We are currently reworking our programmer interface to make it easier to communicate with listeners in a timely manner.




Background Statement

KGNU's History:

KGNU was founded in the mid-1970's by a group of Boulder residents intent on bringing a different broadcasting model to the metro area: community radio. They envisioned a radio station where diverse music and news could be broadcast free of commercial considerations, a station where members of the community could have in-depth discussions of local and global issues, a station where people of color could take to the airwaves and reach out to the community. And the founders wanted to do all this mainly with volunteers-providing the equipment, training and supervision necessary to create a volunteer-powered sound that was very different from commercial radio and even different from traditional public radio.

It worked. The station went on the air on May 22, 1978. Thirty-three years later, KGNU continues to provide mission-driven diverse programming produced primarily by volunteers. And the need for community media is even greater now, with fewer and fewer large conglomerates controlling more and more of commercial radio and television.

Major milestones this decade include:

* Purchase and renovation of our building in Boulder (2000-2001)
* Purchase of 1390 AM frequency (2004). With limited power on our 88.5 FM signal and growing demand from Denver residents for KGNU, we did something no other community radio station had ever done: purchased a second frequency in major media market. This ambitious expansion garnered national attention, including coverage in the New York Times.
*Opening of Denver studio (2007). In addition to our main studios in Boulder, KGNU now operates a production and broadcast studio in the Open Media building in Denver.
*FM signal improvement and power increase (2009-10). KGNU installed a state-of-the-art digital & analog FM transmitter in 2009. In June, 2010, we installed a new antenna and increased our FM power from 1300 to 4000 watts. This brings our 88.5 FM signal to more of the Denver metro area.

Board Chair/President Statement

KGNU's board has historically been a working board; each director is expected to commit 12-20 hours of off-air work each month. This work has taken many forms, including committee work, outreach, development, and individual projects. The work within the board meetings has typically focused on
budgets, staff and volunteer oversight, chartering and maintaining committees, high-level policy issues, legal matters, and financial governance.

In recent years, we have been slowly moving the focus of the board toward development. Although the station's development efforts have typically been led by the station manager and the development director, we have been attempting to engage all board members in development work. This has been
a challenge. It is work that is not especially glamorous (especially compared with the fun of producing a great radio program), can be uncomfortable, and requires constant training and leadership. It has been our hope, however, that we can shift the culture of the entire organization toward a more mature
balance of fulfillment of our core mission and fiscal stability.

As we move forward, the board will be focused on finding new ways to improve our financial trajectory. The national economic downturn of recent years has had a significant impact on our fundraising and development efforts. Although we have successfully maintained a balanced budget and only small
cutbacks, our budget has been essentially flat for the past three years. This situation has also impacted our ability to meet some of our debt obligations, especially those associated with our purchase of the 1390AM signal several years ago.

KGNU's board prides itself in its diversity, in terms of gender, ethnicity, professional background, financial means, and background within the organization. This focus on diversity is both a strength and a challenge. It is a great strength in that it helps us represent the wide diversity of experiences of our listening audience. It has also been a challenge to maintain diversity while also paying close attention to the technical and professional skills that are helpful in being a member of the board. I have been very pleased that we have been able to achieve these goals over the past few years.

The best news for KGNU is that, after 35 years on the air, our programming continues to be as excellent and relevant as ever. Our news department's coverage of local and regional issues is unrivaled in Colorado. Our music programmers continue to astound our audience with some of the most jaw-
dropping, under-represented music from Colorado and around the world. The joy that we experience as volunteers creating exciting programming is shared by our audience as they join us on this great adventure.

Needs Statement

1. Additional staff for the news department; ideally one or two part-time news associates. KGNU's listening community includes the entire Metro area, and, even with the help of volunteers, it is difficult to cover all of the local news that merits coverage. It is part of KGNU's mission to cover the news that is not covered in other media. The contraction of commercial media--especially newspapers--presents both an opportunity and an obligation for community media like KGNU to fill the gap. The dearth in local news due to lack of coverage by mainstream media is excessive, and KGNU would like to fill that gap. However, to cover the entire Metro area with one full-time equivalent on staff is a daunting task.

Additional staff would enable us to cover more area geographically and topically, as well as to commit more time to news production, editing and delivery. This would definitely enhance our programming and provide a much-needed service to the community.

2. Additional staff for our Denver facility. The studio is currently staffed with one part-time production associate who works with the various Denver-area volunteers, in addition to several Boulder staff members who split their time between the Boulder and Denver studios; however, this coverage is insufficient to handle the demands for assistance. KGNU has struggled with the challenge of staffing a second studio with existing resources, while providing the level of quality instruction, one-on-one mentoring and feedback that working with volunteers requires.

An additional full-time staff member working at the Denver studio would improve our volunteer support, enable us to add more training and workshops for students, allow us to participate in more outreach at Denver events and in the Denver community, and translate into increased service and better programming. Better service and programming encourages more listening and more financial support from members.

3. KGNU needs high quality, low cost IT support. KGNU recognizes that in the age of the Internet, we are no longer just a community radio station--we are an on-line community media resource.

We see tremendous opportunity in using our website and social media to better serve our existing listeners and reach a larger audience. Expanding our web efforts will also enable us to offer more access to diverse communities. There are only so many hours in a 247 radio schedule--we can't fit every worthy program onto our airwaves. But our website has the capacity to offer a much greater selection of programs. That takes knowledgeable staff and good equipment.

4. Increase our listening audience. KGNU must increase its visibility in areas where the signal is received to gain new listeners. We currently attempt to be out in the community at least once per week, but there are many events that we simply cannot cover due to lack of resources, both human and material. KGNU is looking for donations and in-kind trades of items such as pop-up tents, portable tables and chairs, banners and other items that can help us increase and improve our visibility in the community. We also need more, and better, portable audio recording packages, with recorders that also edit, headphones and microphones. We are also looking for volunteers to help us spread the word about KGNU, either by becoming a citizen journalist or working outreach at events.

5. Attain budget goals:
a. Increase underwriting revenue-develop new smaller sell packages (day sponsorships, etc.)
b. Increase membership revenues-continue to emphasize the new SOLR (Supporter of Local Radio) incremental giving plan, increase outreach efforts, and continue to provide excellent programming to encourage listeners to make a financial investment.
c. Continue to develop successful fundraising events and find sponsors for events.
d. Build financial reserve for emergencies and for long term equipment maintenancereplacement

Executive Director Statement

We thank you for taking the time to learn more about KGNU-a community media resource that is unique among Front Range radio stations. Thanks also to the Community First Foundation for including KGNU in the GivingFirst program.

KGNU produces twelve hours per week of prime time, original, local news and public affairs programming-more than any other public broadcaster in Colorado. This focus on local issues and local voices is an important part of our mission of community access and diversity. We believe an independent media is absolutely essential to the functioning of a democracy. The traditional commercial media is shrinking-especially local newspaper content-and KGNU feels a responsibility to step up our coverage of critical local issues.

KGNU celebrates the richness and diversity of music and culture by producing over 100 hours every week of programming featuring music and cultural voices unheard anywhere else in the metro area (and very few places nationwide). For example, "Hmong Radio Colorado" is a weekly program of news, music and community announcements produced by volunteers from the local Hmong community and broadcast in the Hmong language.

KGNU also provides on-going training programs for young people to foster creativity, learning and professional growth through access to media.

As "the little station that could" among larger metro area broadcasters, KGNU excels at leveraging the time and talents of over 250 volunteers, coordinated by a small staff, to produce programming that makes a difference in people's lives.

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