Tuesday, October 1st, marked two months since I became executive director of KFAI. It has been an exhilarating eight weeks! With input from many volunteers and staff, I have crafted my vision for where I want to take our beloved organization in the future. My vision is that, “KFAI will be the premier source for getting and sharing news and information on arts, entertainment and public affairs for people and communities not adequately served by mainstream media.” In order to achieve this vision, I have laid out a set of ambitious plans:
• Periodically review programs to determine whether they need refreshing to appeal to listeners.
• Ensure programs that cater to a younger demographic are highly visible and accessible;
• Invite listeners to become members, volunteers, programmers and contributors;
• Strengthen 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. programming to meet the needs of drive-time and mid-day listeners; and
• Make better use of technology with everything from tracking of volunteer hours to improving our mobile app and expanding online listening on our website.
I want to recruit more and younger listener-volunteers to assist with programming, administration, marketing, and fundraising. And, I plan for KFAI to sponsor and lead community events: festivals, concerts, panel discussions and social justice forums. We will create a speaker’s bureau with staff and volunteers who will speak at service clubs, churches and other organizations to tell our story.
I am passionate about social justice and I plan to increase involvement and leadership of people and communities of color. I will meet with area pastors and community leaders to see how KFAI might collaborate to improve social conditions in the Twin Cities.
My vision also includes revitalizing the KFAI brand to increase community awareness, achieve greater listener loyalty, and create uniform messaging throughout the organization. KFAI has been in existence for 35 years and has a rich history in the Twin Cities. However, we may be one of the best kept secrets in our community. We plan to tell our story.
I also plan to raise more funds to sustain and grow the organization. I want to ensure the public knows that KFAI is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that is worthy of their support. In order to grow and sustain our organization I plan to:
• Increase tax-deductible donations during our spring and fall pledge drives and other special appeals;
• Establish a major gifts committee that will identify and cultivate donors for larger gifts;
• Execute a capital campaign in three to four years to replace aging equipment and remodel our studios;
• Kick off an endowment campaign within the next five years to engage donors in including KFAI in their estate plans, in order to endow our programs for future generations; and
• Secure more underwriting dollars to help offset the cost of producing programming.
I want to continually recognize the great work of the many volunteers who help operate our station 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We couldn’t do what we do without the help of the many dedicated volunteers who serve as board members, programmers, engineers, producers, and office assistants. Last year 515 volunteers contributed 30,727 hours to our organization.
To achieve this vision, we will expand the connections of the KFAI mission to a larger audience; catalyze new collaborations, programs and organizations that grow new and existing audiences; convene programmers, journalists and artists to drive leadership and innovation within arts and media; and, build a strong and growing organization.
Thank you for your support of KFAI and helping to ensure we can continue to provide a voice to those without voice in our community!
Willie Dean, Ph.D.
News Department Dreams Impossible Dream
When it became evident that the Minneapolis Mayoral Contest this year would feature an unusually large field, Twin Cities news organizations began looking for ways to shorten the list. Some media forums featured only candidates that had won elective office before. Others focused on top fundraisers, assuming that office seekers without money simply don't count in American politics today.
At KFAI, our instinct was exactly the opposite - we wanted to talk to everybody.
All thirty-five candidates.
Getting everyone together in one place at one time for a single program would be unmanageable (and unlistenable), so we decided to invite the candidates one-by-one to chat with KFAI hosts for The Morning Blend
How have we done?
At this writing (early October) we've conducted 24 interviews and our hope is to collect the entire set of prospective mayors before November 5th. We've talked to business owners, professors, city council members, retirees, accountants, technical writers and one bare-chested YouTube celebrity. You can listen to what we've done by selecting Minneapolis Mayoral Race 2013
from the program menu at KFAI.org.
And if you know a mayoral candidate who hasn't spoken to us yet - send them in our direction!
KFAI Events: Blues Bash Kicks off Fall Pledge Drive!
From Marketing & Underwriting Director Jackson Buck
We've had some exciting and successful sponsorships recently. KFAI presented the legendary Jimmy Cliff to an enthusiastic crowd at First Avenue on September 19th and the last weekend in September packed the grounds at Harriet Brewing's annual "Rauchfest."
On the horizon:
Oct. 19: We're partnering with the Minnesota Food Truck Association as sponsor of "Fall Feast Food Truck Rally" at Harriet Brewing
Nov. 1: Living Color in concert at Mill City Nights performing their breakthrough album "Vivid"
Plus, we have sponsorships at numerous venues including The Cedar Cultural Center, Republic, Acadia Cafe, 331 Club, Harriet Brewing, Icehouse, Club Underground, MN Music Cafe, and The Eagles Club #34 in Minneapolis.
I'm looking forward to our upcoming kickoff of the fall pledge drive. This special event will take place on Sunday, October 13th at Wilebski's Blues Saloon in Saint Paul. Harold Tremblay of KFAI's House Party hosts an annual "Blues Harmonica Bash" and this year he's kindly rolling it into a big fundraiser for KFAI. The show features harmonica players R.J. Mischo (pictured at right during a German blues festival in 2012), Geoff Starin, Hurricane Harold, Curtis Blake, and Geoff Starin. The party runs from 3pm - 7pm and features a terrific backing band.
The "House Party All-Star Band" includes MN Blues Hall of Fame inductees Bruce McCabe (played with Lamont Cranston, Hoopsnakes, Jonny Lang) and Dan Schwalbe (Lazy Bill Lucas, Lynwood Slim, Mojo Buford, Sonny Rogers), plus Jeremy Johnson (Fabulous Thunderbirds, Lazy Lester, Hubert Sumlin, Pinetop Perkins), Victor Spann (of Nick Moss & the Fliptops), and Billy Black (The Senders)
Thanks to Harold for his hard work marketing his show and all his contributions to the station. He's a master at spreading the word about KFAI and is truly one of our major goodwill ambassadors within the community. We should all look to him for inspiration and ideas. I sure do. See you at the pledge drive!
KFAI's Fall Pledge Drive: Get on Board October 13th through October 25th!
There are three ways you can Get on Board now with KFAI's Fall Pledge Drive:
Listener-members keep KFAI commercial-free and able to provide space for many different communities to air music and information, in more than 12 languages. For 35 years, talented volunteers have been able to bring innovative and creative shows to hungry ears, thanks to dedicated listeners who have become members.
It's easy to join KFAI as a member.To make a secure pledge on-line now, click here
Another way to help KFAI during the fall pledge drive is to become a member of the KFAI Booster Club. The KFAI Booster Club is a group of dedicated members who are passionate about their support of KFAI, so much so that they want to encourage other listeners to become members, too! By pooling their resources, the KFAI Booster Club will match donations of fellow listeners. Booster club members can make a powerful statement about what happens when people come together to financially sustain their community radio station. Contact Pam Hill Kroyer by email at email@example.com
to become a KFAI Booster Club member, or call 612.341.3144 ext. 22.
Are you interested in being part of the activity at the station during pledge drive? You can also contact Pam to answer phones! We have many shifts available, we are able to validate your parking while you answer phones, and you get fed! It's a fun way to connect with other KFAI supporters and volunteers. To sign up, email Pam at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 612.341.3144 ext. 22.
New Shows on KFAI!
The end of summer brought fresh, new programming to the KFAI airwaves and website! Check out our most recent additions:
Soul Tools Radio
– Saturdays 9-11pm – Hosted by Toki Wright - Great music of multiple genres from around the world through the lens of Hip-Hop by active members of the community, such as live DJ mixes and MC freestyles on the “The Bar Exam”.
Malarkey: Radio With An Irish Accent – Mondays 7:30-8pm - Hosted by David O’Sullivan & Siobahn Kierans - Music and story, guests and news related to the Irish, Irish-American, and the Celtic worlds.
Web Exclusive Programs – Available at KFAI.org and on the KFAI app every Thursday!
Homegrown Hip-Hop Radio
– Hosted by Charlie Thayer & Manny Phesto - Local & positive Hip Hop music continuously reaching out to local communities of color, creating a platform that will highlight Hip Hop outside of what mainstream media has depicted as the culture.
Jazzed Up and Bonkers!!
– Hosted by Daniel Henry & Travis Ramin - is an eclectic music, “outsider radio,” show that will appeal to twenty-something hipsters and to fifty-something oldies enthusiasts.
– Hosted by Noah Kauffmann - SynthWaves is a weekly web-cast featuring all new and relevant-to-the-80s-revival-synth-scene music. Listen for exclusive tracks and interviews with artists and other players in the new "80s synth" genre.
– Hosted by DJs Kary & Lady Em - Versed Radio is rooted in Hip Hop, from the early to the golden era to the current, and also explores genres that overlap with and contribute to Hip Hop, including R&B, neo-soul, dancehall, reggae, Latin, electronic, spoken word.
KFAI's Arts & Cultural Heritage Program "MinneCulture" Moves to Weekly Broadcasts
MinneCulture has been part of KFAI's Legacy Project since the program began in 2010. Supported by a grant from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, MinneCulture is a half-hour show that features documentaries, short stories and live local performances.
This fall MinneCulture moved from airing twice a week to Wednesdays only from 7:30 to 8pm. To date it has broadcast more than 100 different programs about Minnesota arts, culture, history and the environment.
"I love having a show dedicated to the exceptional work of our Legacy producers," says Project Manager Nancy Sartor. "We air content that highlights unique stories from our community--from historical segments like Wilbur Foshay and the Owatonna Orphanage, to cultural stories about the Tretter Collection, Coldwater Spring and the Karen Community. Plus so many more."
"MinneCulture broadcasts stories for the ear about the times, places and events that matter to us as artists, activists, listeners, dreamers and doers in the Twin Cities and across Greater Minnesota," adds producer Britt Aamodt.
MinneCulture programming has drawn both public acclaim and professional accolades, including Page One Awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. Some of the shows have also been rebroadcast in other markets, including Ampers stations in Minnesota, and other public radio stations across the country.
Dave Rohlf is a KFAI volunteer who engineers the show every other week. He says, "MinneCulture shows are the combination of many people working together to create something unique. The program moves, informs, enlightens and entertains."
To learn more about MinneCulture, visit kfai.org/minneculture
. Full audio links to these stories are available at ampers.org.
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