KGNU Community Radio

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.

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Organizational Overview

KGNU Community Radio
4700 Walnut Street
Boulder, CO 80301
KGNU is an independent, noncommercial community radio station licensed in Boulder and Denver, 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.

New this year is a partnership to produce and air a pilot afternoon headlines service in collaboration with the Colorado Independent. The partnership was officially launched in mid July of 2016 and will be a focal point of the news department over the next months. We are looking forward to growing this partnership and potentially syndicating the show statewide if the response is positive.

As a community radio station, we strongly value collaboration. We are excited to be a part of a new collaboration called the "Truth and Media" campaign, a year-long partnership between a variety of nonprofits and independent media organizations in Colorado including the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado, Common Cause, The Colorado Independent, Free Speech TV, Denver Open Media and the Internet Archive. The coalition will continue to work together to coordinate and collaborate around events that shed light on the Dark Money in the electoral process, media literacy, deciphering the ballot, understanding ballot initiatives and the importance of independent non-commercial media & journalism.

Impact Statement

Accomplishments 2015-2016:

1. KGNU strengthened partnerships with the local education community including working with Denver Public Schools High School students for fall internships where students produced radio reports and learned how to operate broadcast equipment. We continued with a thriving internship program with the University of Colorado, Boulder, school of journalism and mass communication where we train university students who wish to gain practical hands-on broadcast experience as a career building opportunity. We also provided successful summer Youth Programs, Including the Summer Youth Radio Training- trained 15 youth over the course of two weeks.

2)Worked towards strengthening our fundraising Efforts by hiring a Development Director to help improve our fundraising programs.

3) Created a "Denver Working Group" who has helped us expand our presence and generate greater awareness of KGNU's programs and volunteer opportunities, especially in communities of color. We have worked on forging new partnerships with organizations that provide services to underserved populations and utilize those partnerships to access people who would be interested in participating in our programs.

4) KGNU Community Radio received a first place award at the annual national Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI) ceremony in St. Louis, Missouri in July 2016 for its Call-in Program, "What Happens to our Bodies After Death."

5) KGNU continues to strive to identify different community issues, needs, and interests through a variety of means. We pride ourselves on providing media coverage of local non-profits in Colorado through our Dot Org segment, a three-minute interview slot broadcast twice a week at 5:25 pm. KGNU has featured 139 different local non-profit organizations during the funding period. Topics cover a wide range of issues that local non-profit organizations tackle in our community. We feature interviews and coverage focused on information and services for affordable housing, seniors, veterans, young children, teachers, blind, visual artists, teenagers, homeless, the working poor, college students, musicians, among others.

KGNU's top goals for 2016-2017:

1. Finish our Capital Campaign - Fundraising Goals - $50,000 left to go.

2.Continue to improve outreach efforts / increase community participation.

3. Continue to offer new and innovative youth programs and internships.

4. Strengthen the community/cultural space at KGNU's Boulder Studio so that it's more open and available for community activities as a local resource.

5. Expand bilingual and diverse programming. We currently have a handful of bilingual and diverse radio programs including Pasa La Voz (Spanish), Corriente (Bi- lingual) and the Chinese Radio Network (Mandarin). We hope to expand our programs to reflect the diverse makeup of Colorado's melting pot of cultures and languages.
Training. Expand KGNU opportunities for volunteer training across the board.

6. Continue to strengthen Fundraising Efforts. Focus on maintaining and cultivating donors, continue progress on increasing business underwriting, grants and events. Finish implementing a planned giving program.

7. 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-seven 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 36 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 volunteer coordination work. KGNU needs to expand our volunteer coordination efforts. Currently, each staff member plays a role in coordinating hundreds of volunteers who are the pulse of the station. In the past, we have had a staff member that had "volunteer coordinator" as the job title. We are looking to hire someone that can perform vital volunteer coordination duties, starting in 2018.
A volunteer coordinator will help support volunteers in all aspects their work, integration and engagement at KGNU.

2. Increase part-time employees to full-time employees. KGNU currently has five full-time employees and four part-time employees. By having sufficient operating funds to support a transition to move our part-time employees into full-time employees, we could get considerably more work done.

For example, our Denver studio is currently staffed with one part-time employee 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.

Having at least one 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 24/7 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 maintenance replacement.

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 that 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, "Pasa La Voz" is a weekly program of news, music and community announcements produced by volunteers from the local Latino community and broadcast in Spanish.

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.

"African Roots just might be the best radio show I've heard in a long time. Thanks for sharing the music of Africa this Saturday around 5:00 PM. Cheers" - Brian Plavnicky

"Hands-down the best Independent radio station in Colorado. Do yourself a favor and tune in!" - Hannah Leigh Myers

"Thank you KGNU for you for live streaming Rockygrass festival it is a true celebration! You are a magical asset to our community/ and the music listening public all over the world. Love it that I can listen via the radio or the internet. The Rockygrass broadcast's stories and Music are so inspiring, and the tales of re-birth of Planetbluegrass's renewed landscape after the #COflood13 so profound and real, I shed several tears of joy. Thank you." - Tara Doran

"An eclectic mix of commercial-free music, Local/international news and informational radio. There's nothing quite like it around, and it's an honor to be a part of the KGNU family!!" - Juliette Laurel Strauss

"Great station and easy to navigate page with nearly all shows in an easy to download format." - Bret Bartlo

"What an honor to be producing shows on KGNU. It's about community." - Miriam Mimi Schiff

"Still listening from Vermont! Favorits are Democracy Now, Duncan Campbell, Honky Tonk Heros, BBC, Birgit Mars, Michael Toms." - Liza Cabot-Case

"Thankful for the access to alternative sources of both news and music." - Erin Hamilton

"Great station! Was a volunteer programmer there in the '70s."- Irene Hamilton

"Unpurchased media rocks!" - Vrnda Noel

"I love the alternative perspectives KGNU brings to the news." - Mandy Walker

KGNU Community Radio received a first place award at the annual national Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI) ceremony in St. Louis, Missouri last month for its Call-in Program, "What Happens to our Bodies After Death."

The Call in Program aired on April 29, 2015 during the morning Public Affairs news block on KGNU, 88.5 FM and 1390 AM. The call-in program, hosted by KGNU News Director Maeve Conran explored the intricacies of preserving one's body after death, including the planning involved and different options for burial/cremation and home funerals. The program was part of a quarterly series on end-of-life issues hosted by KGNU. The series covers not only end-of-life health decisions but also physician-assisted suicide and how to deal with grief following a bereavement. Conran has helped lead the news and public affairs programming at KGNU since 2007.

"Many listeners have benefitted from the series because it explores the delicate and difficult decisions around the topic of death," said Conran. "We were very pleased to be recognized by PRNDI for a radio series that addressed this tough subject in a meaningful way for our audience."

The annual award is given to only one news/public affairs program featuring a call-in component. KGNU is considered a "Division C" station (stations with 1-3 full-time news staff) per PRNDI's award guidelines.

The program "Where do we put our bodies after we die?" is available on

Founded, in 1985, PRNDI is a national non-profit membership organization made up of individuals, freelancers, and small and large public news organizations. Each year, PRNDI recognizes the best of local public radio news in a wide array of categories. The award winners are recognized at the PRNDI awards banquet during the annual conference. The PRNDI Conference and the awards banquet was held on June 24th and 25th, 2016 in St. Louis. For more information visit.


KGNU selected as "Diverse Radio" - Best of Boulder - 2016!
The best part about the radio is that when you stop liking something, be it a song or a talking head, you can just turn the dial. But, our favorite radio stations rarely beckon us to do so, and Boulder's KGNU is a station that's hard to turn off. It's likely you've found yourself parked outside your house waiting for an engrossing segment to wrap up before you go inside. Or maybe you turn to it for world-class, no-spin news. Or maybe it's the music and arts features you like. Whatever it is, there's no denying KGNU's diversity, and that's why it's one of our favorites.

Key aspects of this profile information have been reviewed by Community First Foundation staff. Each organization is exclusively responsible for the content that appears on the profile page. Community First Foundation offers general guidance as to the purpose of each area but does not require or encourage charities to include anything in particular in each section.

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