What a shame that KUAC is dropping APRN

Question

What a shame that KUAC is dropping APRN; how much will be saved and can a campaign be organized to resurrect it? It keeps Fairbanks as part of Alaska!

Response

Thank you for the question. KUAC had some very difficult decisions to make this year to reach our 22.5 percent Fund 1 reduction. Since the reductions started, KUAC has internally absorbed prior years in an effort to not impact the community. Unfortunately, the 22.5 percent reduction for FY18, coupled with the prior five years — which now totals a 56 percent reduction of Fund 1 — has made it impossible to internally absorb it.

While KUAC looked at a wide range of potential reductions, our goal was/is to minimize the overall changes to the community.

KUAC believes the Alaska Public Radio Network is a very important part of our programming, but from a purely operational perspective it is the most expensive piece of our on air programming. At an annual rate of $13,500, APRN represents 2.2 percent of our weekly programming at a cost of $69.23/hour. By comparison, National Public Radio, at an annual rate of $89,000, represents 33.4 percent of our weekly programming at a cost of $28.76 an hour. NPR is a statewide group purchase; the expense to KUAC will not change if we air one hour or if we air 100 hours. It should be noted that participating in the NPR statewide group purchase represents a 50 percent savings for KUAC. More information about the budget reductions and associated content expenses can be found at http://kuac.org/programming-changes/.

We appreciate the thought about fundraising specifically for APRN; unfortunately, fundraising for specific content is very detrimental to KUAC and our operations. While we would have the funds to purchase the content, we still may not be able to pay personnel, repair equipment, etc. — everything else that is necessary to make the content available to the public.  At this time, KUAC is in a entirely reactive maintenance position for equipment and personnel instead of a proactive position.

KUAC has been working with Alaska Public Media (parent entity of APRN) to continue our collaborative efforts associated with APRN content. The KUAC news department will continue to deliver stories to APRN for statewide distribution, and we will air some APRN content during our locally produced newscasts. We just will not air the prepackaged/curated shows.

— Keith Martin, general manager, KUAC