Station Update from the G.M.

Jessica Evett

As Radio Boise’s General Manager, I interact with stakeholders ranging from those who are deeply involved with the station to those who are unaware of how our respective roles, either as an individual or as a representative of an organization, could align. Over the past several months, I’ve heard from many people who have expressed concern about how Radio Boise’s role could be affected at a time when media and freedom of expression face unprecedented challenges. Although we’re confident in the station’s direction, these conversations speak to the importance of communicating our vision and plans for the future with our listeners on a regular basis. With so many questions about how our path forward relates to broader events, I’d like to speak to some of the concerns I’ve heard here.

Some of you have asked specifically about Radio Boise’s approach to remaining financially healthy in an uncertain climate, particularly in regards to independent media and the arts. Nonprofits within our communities have always been challenged to work with available resources to serve their missions, but the election has created perceived and real threats to the entire nonprofit landscape and the people engaged in tackling the world’s challenges. There are many things to consider as we work to keep Radio Boise going. While we work to simultaneously providing a platform for our mission and telling stories within the Treasure Valley, planning for the future depends on our ability to hold on to the things we value while remaining true to ourselves and responding to those changes imposed by external factors. Although we do our best on an ongoing basis to anticipate the challenges ahead, it is important to recognize them without fearing the future. It is clear that we must approach this work with dedication and gusto.

Radio Boise receives support for our broadcast through individual donations, underwriting revenue, events, and foundation grants. Our 2017 budget will require about $1,000 per day to operate the station and expand our efforts to more effectively engage with our community. That represents an increase of our expenses, and we are cultivating new avenues for supporting that growth. The election has brought our mission into sharp relief related to the values we’ve always held, but they also provide opportunities to expand those activities because it is evident how important we are. We have always recognized that our ability to fully engage the community is dependent on our available resources and capacity, and we are grateful to you for helping support this dream throughout the years.

Regardless of your political leanings, it is impossible to ignore the potential impacts fundamentally altering the systemic support for alternatives to commercial media would have on our station. Recently proposed cuts to the funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) would not result in immediate impacts on our budget since Radio Boise does not currently receive CPB funding. However, those proposed cuts would have a devasting impact on non-commercial media outlets across the country and threaten freedom of expression. Cuts to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) would have far-reaching effects on artists and vital nonprofits within our communities that we regularly partner with and feature on our broadcast, and some of our grant funding relates to NEA support. Independent music and thoughtful conversation are not “nice to haves” in a functional democracy. They are essential. Radio Boise functions as a place where individuals from the community engage in the creation of media, and that is a unique opportunity within the Treasure Valley.

While we are hopeful that the CPB and NEA will weather talk of proposed cuts as they have many times in the past, it is critical that we raise our collective voices to support these programs. Community radio provides opportunities for thoughtful dialogue and listening. Without that platform, the hopes many of us continue to hold for a more peaceful society become threatened. CPB and the NEA enjoy broad bipartisan support in urban and rural areas throughout the country, and that far-reaching support speaks to the possibility of common ground. It speaks to what we continue to do here at the station 365 days a year by fostering that common ground on the airwaves.

We are always exploring new opportunities for support, through encouraging involvement, as well as cultivating those who support us with financial contributions. This year is no exception, and we’re excited for what the year will sound like with your efforts behind us. As long as we foster active listening and the creation of sounds worth listening to, the future will never be something to fear. The future is us, and we hold that contract dearly.

– Jessica Evett

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