Wrangell Sentinel -


KSTK meets $17K funding goal


The fall pledge drive for KSTK FM, Wrangell’s non-profit community radio station, met its earning goal of $17,000 during the week of Sept. 22-27. The amount raised during the week-long drive was significantly greater than what the station brought in during the 2011 fall drive, which was close to $16,000.

Station general manager Mike Symons said the drive, which is held every spring and fall, is necessary to augment the funding the station already receives via grant money and other funding sources.

“We reached our goal by Saturday at 3 p.m.,” Symons said. “Without the support of the volunteers, staff and board we couldn’t have done this. It takes all their hard work, like staffing the phones and bringing us food to sustain us, without which we could not have done this. The people in the community stopping by helped to because it kept our spirits up.”

The $17,000 goal, Symons added, goes toward augmenting the budget of the station, which receives both state and federal money to make ends meet.

“It goes toward the operations of the facility and we have full-time employees,” Symons said. “We have revenue, but also a lot of expenses, like our shows. People like shows like Car Talk, Prairie Home Companion, or Performance Today. But those shows come at a cost.”

A number of shows, Symons added, can be purchased at a group rate by Coast Alaska, which was incorporated in 1997 as an organization meant to serve public radio stations in Juneau, Sitka, Petersburg, Wrangell and Ketchikan. The conglomerate began as an informal group that has expanded to include all of the financial operations of the associated stations to include payroll, personnel administration, bank and investment accounts, benefits, bookkeeping and grant administration.

“It’s not cheap, and thankfully we’re involved in Coast Alaska, because sometimes we get a group purchase rate. If we had to purchase those shows individually, it would be even more expensive. Because we’re purchasing it for more stations, it comes a lot cheaper,” Symons added.

According to Mollie Kabler, the Executive Director of Coast Alaska, the annual amount spent on purchasing external programming, as well as affiliation and acquisition fees, is equal to 8 percent of the organization’s budget. In 2011, the group’s gross assets totaled $2.218 million and it reported $1,157 million in cash on hand at the end of that same year.

Accounting data for Coast Alaska’s current fiscal year is not yet available.

Coast Alaska also provides engineering services for maintenance of station studios, transmitters and translators throughout the region. A vast majority of regional news reporting and editorial support is also handled by the organization.

Financial data available from Coast Alaska shows that during the 2011 fiscal year KSTK ended the reporting period with total support and revenue equaling $428,717. Of that amount, $30,998 came from membership, with $49,567 coming from underwriting.

Underwriting, which is one of the sources of the total net assets pulled in by the station each year is based upon the spending of local businesses, groups or individuals that purchase advertising time on the station and support it financially by backing particular shows or segments heard throughout the day.

KSTK’s underwriting revenue climbed in 2011, with a total $45,739 raised in 2010. Ad revenue for KFSK in Petersburg declined over the same period, with $59,385 taken in during 2011, versus $67,353.

Wrangell Radio Group, which is the business entity of KSTK, also received $149,314 in grant money from the Alaska Public Broadcasting Commission in 2011, and $123,907 from the federally funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting during the same period. KFSK took in the same amount of APBC funding, but had slightly more federal dollars roll in, netting $127,824 from CPB in 2011


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