State of the Station: July 2020

2019, which was challenging in its own right, seems like it took place several decades ago. The unknown has eclipsed the known in nearly every sense in 2020, and it isn’t hyperbole to state that all of us walked through a strange door together this winter. None of us anticipated experiencing decades worth of change, loss and existential threats in five months, and there is more to come.

It’s okay to take a deep breath as we face that together, and openly admit that on any given day many of us are feeling unsettled. What doesn’t feel uncertain is Radio Boise, and I deeply thank those of you who’ve connected with us and supported us so the station can continue to be there for all of us.

For a station that prides itself on exploring unknown territory, the fact that we provide a sense of normalcy right now speaks to the constant importance of hope, resilience and human expression. While we’ve been focusing on being a lighthouse in the darkness through our programming, for this update I want to focus on the answer to a broad question: “How is the station doing?”

With the disruption of the pandemic, this spring forced us to reinvent our Radiothon, seek out emergency relief and make a contingency plan for a year in which there is no real contingency. Here’s a brief update on where we’re at financially, and how you can help.

You stepped up for the station in a big way during our extended spring drive while we also worked on securing other forms of relief for KRBX. With over $35,000 in one-time contributions and a strong boost to monthly donations, we raised close to what we’re traditionally brought in for a Radiothon drive. Radio Boise moved quickly to apply for federal relief, and secured a PPP [Paycheck Protection Program] grant as well as an SBA [Small Business Administration] loan to provide operating capital.

This gave us the breathing room we needed to form an amended blueprint for 2020, apply for some additional grant funding and look to replace our biggest guaranteed loss for the year, which will be about $40,000 in revenue connected with our usually busy schedule of community events and special fundraising concerts.

Although we have plans for an incredible virtual version of our Practice New Year’s Eve Party, our live in-studio performances, community events, Radio Boise Tuesday concerts, Hi-Fi Society gatherings and special fundraising concerts – like the Blues Cruise – are on hold.

While this situation isn’t without its challenges, we are grateful for your understanding that we need to remain focused on the safety at and around the station as well as maintaining our connection to socially-distant live music on our broadcast. We look forward to connecting more in person again, but until then, your support keeps the utterly unique resource that is Radio Boise going 24/7.

COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on our community of local businesses who’ve supported Radio Boise throughout the years. Many of them have continued to support the station but we’re anticipating a loss of about $25,000 in underwriting income for the year, largely due to the impacts on our live music scene and the hospitality industry.

Underwriting with Radio Boise offers tremendous value for local businesses and provides critical operating income for the station. While we can’t predict what the future holds, many businesses have a strong need to connect with people right now and Radio Boise offers just that. If you’ve considering supporting us as an underwriter, there literally hasn’t been a better time to take the next step.

Our Fall Radiothon is scheduled to take place Wednesday, October 14 – Tuesday, October 27, and while many of our specialty programs will remain remotely produced, we have been working on ways to provide a more live experience in the midst of social distancing.

We will have some critical fundraising targets to hit in order to make sure we can carry on throughout the winter months. Needless to say, the pandemic’s impacts will still be deeply felt throughout our community, but with your continued investment in the only people-powered radio station in the region we’re confident we’ll be able to weather the rest of 2020. And if you don’t want to wait, there’s no reason to hold off showing your support today.

In short, we’re cutting expenses as we can, planning for losses and continuing to explore all avenues for new support to offset those losses and keep our dedicated staff and volunteers safe, healthy and focused on our mission. 

Grief is an extraordinarily complex experience, but even more so when there is no immediate end to the losses we’re facing – as individuals and as a society. Hope offers simplicity and power, and it is important that we don’t lose it. Grief deepens us, but it needs an antidote. While the station isn’t out of the woods yet, your support thus far has kept us broadcasting loud and clear and allowed us to adjust our plans for the year. We might not be the complete cure for what ails us, but we’re part of the cure and it’s essential we continue to be there. It took many years to get Radio Boise on the air, and there’s no way we’re turning back now!

On hope, we’ve seen individuals and organizations step up their accountability and commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement, racial equity and social justice. It’s critical we all continue to have hard conversations and work toward meaningful, lasting change.

My next update will focus on concrete, long-term commitments the station will take on to advance our role in making the world we’ve all walked into a more equitable one. As we look to the beyond of 2021, we remain hopeful that Radio Boise will continue to serve our community in known and unknown ways. 

Thank you for taking us this far, and for keeping a vessel that provides authentic connections, without fail, on the airwaves.

Jessica Evett
KRBX General Manager

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