Autumn is upon us and, for KPTZ, it is an extremely exciting season this year. It’s also traditionally when community and public radio stations ask listeners for support. I’ll ask for yours below, but first I would like to tell you three reasons why we are excited.
Construction of our new studios at Fort Worden has begun! Thanks to extraordinary generosity from you and others, KPTZ raised sufficient funds to build state-of-the-art facilities in historic Building 305, the keystone of Fort Worden’s Makers Square project. Our ambition is to grow services for our community and to provide a solid base for compelling radio long into the future. The rich cultural community on the Fort Worden campus is a wonderful place for radio! We expect to be moved in by this time next year.
A second significant development for KPTZ is the hiring of its first general manager, Kate Ingram. Founder and long-time board president Colin Foden reminded me last week that hiring a general manager had been the number one priority in the station’s strategic plan for five years. Growing support from listeners like you enabled us to name Kate GM, and we are thrilled! Kate has had a tremendously positive impact on our organization since she began involvement as a volunteer three years ago. Under Kate’s guidance KPTZ is forging alliances with organizations throughout our communities, while also fostering a welcoming sense of family among KPTZ’s many volunteers.
Providing regular local news is something I view as a fundamental responsibility for community radio. KPTZ’s superb shows like The Compass news magazine, Phil Andrus’ Tossed Salad, natural history journal Nature Now, and many others — all offer incredible insight into our neighbors and the place we live, while daily local news keeps people abreast of what is happening around them. Experienced journalist Charlie Bermant stepped forward a year ago to produce a Local News broadcast, so every Tuesday and Thursday at noon since then Charlie has provided news you need to hear. This is our first, major step in providing reliable daily news, a goal close to my heart.
These and other developments during the past year have generated a palpable momentum at KPTZ and, interrelated, they illustrate the transformation we have envisaged as KPTZ 2.0 — a significant upgrade that will provide more to you, our listener.
I write this appeal, after having participated in community radio fund drives for 26 years, because for several reasons I believe community radio is more important now than ever.
- Climate disruption is increasingly impactful, and in coming years our communities will be challenged to cope with those impacts. KPTZ will provide timely information to help us build resilient communities.
- KPTZ is increasingly expanding its capacity to provide emergency broadcast services, working closely with Jefferson County’s Emergency Operations Center. We plan to build an Emergency Broadcast Operations Center at our transmitter site to be able to sustain long-term broadcasting after an earthquake or other major emergency.
- Community-wide, listener-supported radio was born 70 years ago when democracy was under assault by political forces. It is not hard to see those forces at work around the world today. Unbridled to corporate or political influence, community radio like KPTZ is a profoundly democratic media space.
- Given the gloomy conditions described above, perhaps equally important as anything else we do is to provide an incredibly diverse array of music programs that have the simple power to make us feel better about life.
We have an ambitious goal to raise $40,000 during our annual autumn drive during Halloween week. One way you can greatly help our effort is to provide a significant donation ahead of the on-air drive: by providing a match challenge. Your gift can be a powerful way to generate donations during the drive. Maybe in the future we will be able to dispense with on-air drives, but noting how well-heeled Seattle public stations seemingly do appeals every other month, it is unlikely. We do not sell our product; through tremendous efforts we give it away for free.
Most of us probably pay multiple monthly fees for media services, some of whose objectives are to sell us something. I choose to be a sustaining contributor to KPTZ in much the same way as other subscriptions.
Sustaining is such a descriptive word that exactly depicts what your monthly contribution will do for KPTZ.
Thank you ever so much for your continued support. Feel free to write to me if you have questions or comments on anything above.
President, KPTZ Board of Directors
Host, Rhythm Connection, Tues 1-3