Life at KMUD this past year has mirrored life in the world in general as we have been challenged to adapt our ways of doing things by Covid 19, climate change, and a political climate fraught with tension. I’m proud of the way that our station has persevered and adjusted through these challenges.
We were forewarned of the imminent changes ahead due to Covid 19 thanks to the excellent reporting of our news department. Thanks to this forethought, we were (somewhat) prepared for the shelter in place order that was put in place last March. In addition to integrating remote broadcasting and the use of new technology into our programming, we welcomed a small group of volunteers who agreed to follow strict safety protocols and facilitate the shows of other programmers as dedicated engineers. While we miss the open door days of KMUD, I’m really grateful for the group of dependable and familiar engineers helping our voices to be heard. Our regulations and procedures have changed as information and requirements have changed this past year, but all along, we have been dedicated to keeping our community safe and ensuring that quality, diverse programming graces our airwaves. Dennis, our music director, has dedicated many hours to the ever changing schedule of programmers, and I appreciate this.
I am especially proud of our fire coverage this past year. No one in our region could have missed the sense of urgency that accompanied the huge fires this past September. Our news department , Lauren and Tanya in particular, worked tirelessly to ensure that accurate information was passed along to our listeners throughout the day, and, our new and improved website (check it out) benefitted from the addition of a fire resources page.
This past election season has encouraged a lot of reflection on the part of our staff and programmers on the importance of accurate, truthful and diverse information. KMUD is and has always been a mecca of diverse perspectives, and we continue to work hard to ensure that these voices spread truth and respect regardless of differences of opinion. There is always improvement to be done in this area, and staff and programmers alike continue to engage in conversation to this end.
In the midst of this turmoil, we continued work on our Measure Z funded emergency improvements. Upgrades to our backup systems and facilities at our tower sites and at the station ensure that KMUD will stay on air. Thank you to Simon Frech, our longest standing employee for taking on this HUGE upgrade.
On a personal note, 2020 brought me a new baby and a 5 month stay in the NICU in San Francisco. Having KMUD to focus on during this time helped me stay sane and connected to my home community. I’m grateful to Patricia and Nona and the Board of Directors for holding things down in the office when I suddenly disappeared, and to Rob Seifert Gage for joining our staff when we needed him most- he produced a Reggae on the Radio event this past August that was a great homage to our community, and filled my heart with nostalgia.
Despite financial struggles with the loss of two of our biggest events (The Block Party and The Summer Arts Fair), our financial position remains solid thanks to our dedicated listeners and a bonus of support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. I am borrowing words from my eleven year old, Ben here: I’m cautiously optimistic that 2021 will bring increased connection and health in our community. My greatest hope is that we continue to serve as a voice for our community, and improve our stability and service toward this goal.