2017 State of the Station

GM Update

A huge thank you to everyone who joined us for our Practice New Year’s Eve event on December 1st. In the words of at least one attendee, “On what has been a terrible day, who knew that an ELO cover band was exactly what I needed?” It was a great night, with great people, and with the kinds of unexpected connections we all need. Practice New Year’s Eve summed up a year in which so many of you have held onto the fact that Radio Boise is unique, and ours, and worth getting excited about.

Radio Boise’s programming and the people behind it speak to a range of ages, experiences, and identities. In a world of divisions and barriers, the fact that a community of 500 unique individuals with wildly divergent life experiences, identities, and opinions produce great radio 365 days a year is one example of how inclusion makes us better. The fact that we’re a media outlet with people who are comfortable with change and exploration matters, and the way we achieve this is unique within the Treasure Valley.

As 2017 draws to a close, Radio Boise needs your help to truly meet our mission as a community radio station that values the connections we make with each other behind the scenes and over the airwaves. Arts, culture, and journalism are essential, but the barriers to inclusion within the structures that produce them are not. No matter how vital something is to our society, it’s clear that when individuals are excluded from participating from those essential aspects of our culture, we all lose. Community and the sense of humanity that it can create cannot afford to lose due to perceived barriers – or the ones we choose to create. That’s why we need you right now.

Radio Boise leverages the efforts of 5.5 full-time equivalent staff to coordinate over 9,000 volunteer hours a year and ensure that we’re making your support go as far as possible. We know we’ve been asking more frequently for support over the last year, and we deeply appreciate the level of giving we’ve seen from our community. Our Go Farther electric car raffle was a new venture for us and a way for us to spread the word about Radio Boise while bolstering our pledge drives, events, underwriting, and grant support. A huge thank you to everyone who participated in the raffle and contributed in so many other ways, and, thanks to you, we met our goals for supporting a good portion of our work in 2017.

Here’s the challenge… This was the first year we’ve coordinated this type of fundraiser, and we had no historical reference for how it would be received. While it was a very successful effort for its first year and the $30,000 we raised had a meaningful impact, we had a goal of raising $100,000. That larger goal was established to cover unanticipated equipment repairs in 2017, invest in our people-power here at the station, cover operating needs at the start of 2018, and expand our capacity in a world that needs platforms for independent voices now more than ever. With a major engineering project necessary next year, a desire to grow our collaborations with other organizations and within schools, and our dedication to continually upping our game in terms of the content we provide and the voices we feature, it is critical that our year-end giving goals help make up for some of the support we’d anticipated bringing in earlier in the year. Without it, we’ll be looking at cutting back when we know we need to need to be one of the many local organizations positioned to lead positive change. While we can cut out a few minor expenses here and there, we already stretch every dollar to bring you great radio, and we’d rather scale up enough to dream bigger. If you agree that 2018 isn’t a good year for us to think smaller, you can help us take the next step.

We know that meeting our end of the year fundraising goals will be a challenge, and we need your help to make it happen. However, we see that the scale we’re shooting for is within reach. Here are some specific ways to show your love for Radio Boise.

  1. All contributions add up. If 1,000 listeners kicked in with a $20 gift to Radio Boise before the end of December, that would pay for our major engineering project in 2018. That’s the price of one album for 365 days of music, arts, and local voices. One of the easiest ways to make a $20 gift to Radio Boise and spread the word to others is through Facebook.
  2. Throughout the month, we’ll be sharing our favorite pieces of content produced here at Radio Boise including interviews, performances, and clips from our Voices Project on Facebook. If 1,000 listeners share one or more of these posts and encourage your friends and family to support this kind of content with a donation, that would help ensure that we can keep making it happen. Each contribution will ensure that noncommercial radio continues to connect you with those individuals who give us a variety of perfect moments, and the world needs those people and these moments.
  3. We know that local businesses striving to expand and dream bigger for their community share the values of community radio and a sense of discovery. Underwriting with Radio Boise provides a huge value for local businesses and provides us with steady support for our programming throughout the year. Adding 10 new underwriting clients would go a long way toward funding our efforts to expand our collaborations with other local nonprofits who believe in putting in the hard work to improve our communities. If you’re interested in joining us, e-mail jan@radioboise.org to learn more.
  4. In December, we’re encouraging anyone looking for a unique gift for someone to consider a Hi-Fi Society gift membership. With special experiences including house concerts, meet-and-greets with musicians, and opportunities to connect with our DJs and volunteers, it’s a community experience for those who value great music and conversation. These gifts will also bring Radio Boise to anyone who might not be in a position to give this year. If ten of you opted to give the gift of a Hi-Fi membership, our year-end goals would be within reach.
  5. Choose your own adventure. If Radio Boise is meaningful to you, you are the best person to decide how much you’d like to give and our website is the place to go if you’re able to contribute $50 or more in these final moments of 2017. And if you have a unique idea on how you’d like to support us, we’re all ears.

We’d need to raise $50,000 to meet our baseline goals for the end of the year, and if we meet that we would end the year where we need to be to enter 2018 with confidence. If we surpass that goal we’ll immediately start sharing what we know how we could leverage that support. We’d love to be able to share those plans with you, and will if we surpass our initial goal.

When you think about the financial resources available to commercial media outlets, social media platforms, apps, streaming music services, and other platforms compared to what noncommercial, non-profit stations like Radio Boise operate on; it’s staggering. We’ve been growing, but Radio Boise has been operating on less than $300,000 a year since its inception, and we’ll just be crossing the $300k threshold this year. We don’t run on the same financial scale of bigger media outlets and online platforms. Thankfully, we don’t need millions of dollars to meet our mission to connect, inspire, and challenge ourselves. Millions of dollars also wouldn’t be able to replace the community that makes the sounds you hear utterly unique. We do need to scale up a bit, and if you’d like us to continue dreaming big, the financial scale we need to meet our monthly needs while building the capacity to push ourselves is within reach now. That’s why your support is so critical this December, and why the ways to give listed above would have such a huge impact.

Human experience and identity is and should be, all over the map. Arts, culture, and stories with a focus on the community help us navigate experiences and identities if we’re open to listening. There is only one Radio Boise, and community provides an alternative to comment threads, algorithms, and consolidation. It takes a lot of internal communication and effort to create an environment that values independence while still working together because we disagree at times even when we have a common goal in mind. The energy required to transcend disagreement, find common ground and unite around the idea of community radio that connects, inspires, and challenges are worth it. To those of you who’ve brought us this far, we appreciate you so much. In a world of change and challenge, 2018 is not going to be a year in which something as unique as Radio Boise can play it safe or cut back. Being powered by people willing to listen and engage with each other matters, and so do you.

Jessica Evett

Jessica Evett

General Manager, Radio Boise

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