President’s Report, KMUD Board of Directors

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Submitted by Jimmy Durchslag, Board President and Programmers Rep

Current Board Members: Board Appointed Reps: Vice President behr, Secretary Rob Bier, Kim Phelps; Member Reps: Treasurer Sarah Scudder, Shira Brown, Holly Kreb; Programmer Reps:  President Jimmy Durchslag, Wendy Emerson, Correspondence Secretary Chanin

Vision Statement: Redwood Community Radio envisions a community of listeners who, guided by the example of RCR programming, work together to create better, more just and sustainable world systems to ensure that all humans and other living species on earth move toward a higher quality of life and are able to survive challenges in the time ahead.

Mission: Redwood Community Radio will encourage a communication center of open airways (KMUD) for all voices to inform, educate, entertain and inspire the listening community through quality programming.

My Last Year. The above vision and mission statements are always read before the start of every KMUD Board of Directors meeting. In a year with so many unexpected twists and turns, filled with so much national divisiveness and anger, it is vital to remember that we are all connected. We may not agree all the time, but we must show respect and honor each other, no matter our individual opinions. Per our bylaws, this is my last year on the Board after six years. I have found my time to be truly rewarding and am always amazed by and grateful for my fellow Board Members’ hard work, dedication, creativity and willingness to make hard choices. I will of course continue to be involved in KMUD as a programmer and volunteer.

Challenges in the Year of COVID-19. 2020 changed the way we approach almost everything. We quickly went from many in-person meetings to doing everything remotely, many of us becoming regular Zoomers (Boomers to Zoomers?) Our Station Manager, Alyssa DeLeon, introduced strict health and safety protocols which mandate masks, disinfectants and other actions while severely limiting the number of people authorized to be in the station. This means most programmers have learned to do their shows from home with the assistance of volunteer engineers, many of whom have put in lots of volunteer hours. Our dedicated staff has also stepped up and filled in when necessary. And of course the news department under the direction of News Director Lauren Schmitt, has more than ever been a source of critical information, constantly reporting on the state of the pandemic in our broadcast area and advising listeners on the best way to protect themselves, their families, their friends and our communities.

Membership Drives. As the world changed, we knew that raising funds from the community would be more difficult. Many people and businesses have lost income, so it was very unclear how KMUD would raise the money we need to keep the organization going. Although revenue is down, we should have known that our listeners value KMUD and will continue to prioritize giving us their support even in hard times. We went from three intense on-air membership drives with lots of people in the studio, a bevy of phone answerers and a boisterous atmosphere, to two much lower key drives–“Keep Us Connected” and ”Make It Rain”–conducted mainly through on air announcements and reminders. These have been supplemented with Silent Drive mailings and other mailings. At the end of the year, we raised almost $167,000, only about $7500 short of our 2019 totals.  This is truly gratifying, validates all our efforts and emphasizes the station’s importance to you.

Other Fundraising. All in-person events were cancelled. The Summer Arts Festival, Halloween Boogie, on-site gatherings, the Fall Luau, and most significantly, the annual Block Party, typically add $20,000 or more to our budget. KMUD volunteers did step up with some alternatives, such as a Virtual Talent Show (thanks Keena, Lisa Luv and the Committee!) and Fall Harvest Boxes of fresh produce (thanks Holly Kreb!), but while successful, these did not make up the lost revenue. It is our hope that as the pandemic comes under more control, we will once again be able to gather together, even with precautions, and celebrate each other as members of the KMUD community.

Our Treasurer, Sarah Scudder, is providing updated financial information, but it is important to note that a major reason for our current stable financial condition is that significant additional grant funds were granted to us by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) as part of Congress’s early COVID relief package. While more may be approved in future Congressional actions, we cannot count on that, although we still receive our annual CPB grant funds. We are also pursuing other grant opportunities. Tanya Lynn, our Public Affairs Program Director, is submitting complimentary grants to the Humboldt Area Foundation for a Youth Journalism Project involving local schools. The Development Committee is always looking for fundraising ideas and energy and all are welcome to participate.

A New Member of the KMUD Community. We have to give a huge shout out to our Station Manager, Alyssa de Leon. One of the newest Kmudders, her son Silas, was born in 2020. Due to some physical issues with Silas, Alyssa and family had to stay in the Bay Area for many months while he received additional care. Despite this, Alyssa remained engaged and very active in station activities, providing direction and taking care of pressing KMUD business as necessary. While the Board and staff provided as much support as we could, Alyssa was always responsive and involved in important planning and decision making. We are extremely fortunate to have her. 

Board Vacancies. Board elections are now open. One seat will be elected by the Membership, one by the Programmers, and one is Board appointed. Nominations close on Feb. 19. There is currently one candidate for the open Programmer Rep seat and several for the Member Rep seat. Depending on the number of candidates, ballots will be distributed in March and voting closes at the end of March. The seats that are up: Jimmy Durchslag as Programmer Rep, Sarah Scudder as Member Rep and behr as Board Appointed rep. Shira Brown joined the Board in 2020 to fill an open seat and there is another year left on that term. We would love to get more candidates to offer a choice to the different voting groups. It is a really remarkable bunch of people to work with and an exceptional experience. Nominations from the Membership are open at the Members meeting, and any Member candidates are welcome to make a statement.

Community Involvement. Although I have already stated how important our listeners and the communities KMUD serves are to everything we do, it cannot be emphasized enough how gratified we are by your support. It would not be surprising, given all the current circumstances, if we were struggling to stay afloat right now. We are in reasonable financial condition in large part because of you. We highly value your contributions, both monetary and otherwise. There are many ways to be involved if you can. The Community Advisory Board (CAB) has continued to be very active and provided valuable input in 2020. Current members include CAB chair and former KMUD Board President Siena Klein, Tanya Horlick and longtime KMUD supporters Betty Miller, Kate McGuire and Bonnie Blackberry. Our Program Selection and Review Council (PSRC) advises the Music and Public Affairs Directors on programming issues and welcomes community members to attend and apply to join the Council. The Development, Finance, Policy, and Membership Drive are all standing committees that meet regularly and are open to community involvement. We occasionally look for community members to help with hiring or evaluation of staff. When the COVID-19 situation changes, we will once again look for people to come into the station to help with volunteer tasks.