Friday, March 6, 2009

Public Radio Day on the Hill

The dust hasn’t settled from the Stay Warm fundraiser yet at KAXE, and at noon on the last day we don’t know for sure whether we’ll reach the $50,000 goal. But our fingers are firmly crossed we are hopeful. Listener support is KAXE’s largest and strongest source of funding, and members step up in unbelievable ways, especially when times are tough.

The funding picture is getting more serious as we move into the last half of KAXE’s fiscal year 2009. We already know we will not receive our $16,000 annual endowment payment (because the Pax World Fund, where the endowment is invested, lost so much money in 2008). We cut the budget to make up the difference. Because the state budget is decided in April or May, we won’t know about the state appropriation until late in the fiscal year, when it will be hard to make up any shortfall with budget cuts.

This Tuesday is Public Radio Day on the Hill. Starting at 8 a.m., members, volunteers, staff and board members from AMPERS radio stations from across Minnesota, along with their counterparts from MPR, will meet with legislators in St. Paul to talk with them about funding for public radio stations in our state.

KAXE usually receives about $30,600 annually from the state. Some of that is for operations ($26,090) and some for equipment ($4,545). This is about 5% of KAXE’s operating budget, or about one staff salary.

The entire AMPERS appropriation (for all 11 stations) costs each Minnesotan a little less than 7½ cents per person per year (MN’s population is 5,167,000 and the appropriation for AMPERS is $386,000/year).

For that amount of money, we are all getting a really good deal! People especially rely on information and entertainment resources like KAXE and other community-based media during hard times.

It’s going to be hard asking our legislators for money when they’re scratching their heads, wondering how to pay the state’s bills. All of us have to share the burden of this deficit. But we have to ask for some money nonetheless, because KAXE really needs it!

If you’d like to be part of Public Radio Day on the Hill, call KAXE. If you can’t make it to the Twin Cities, consider writing a letter to your legislators. Thanks to the volunteers and board members who are taking the time to be part of this effort on behalf of our regional community’s radio station!

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