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FARMINGTON — San Juan College and its radio station KSJE are taking the first steps toward operating as a listener-supported organization by accepting applications to form an advisory board.

The proposed board of 12 members will advise KSJE employees and the college on how to raise funds and will make recommendations for programming, said KSJE General Manager Scott Michlin.

Michlin said the advisory board will provide guidance as the college cuts funds for the radio station by nearly two-thirds in the upcoming school year.

The advisory board will also provide support for the station and its two full-time employees and one part-time employee.

“Without causing further strain on the college budget, we’re hoping some of these advisory board members can help us with some of their ideas and leg work to get these things done,” Michlin said.

The San Juan College board has approved a proposed budget of $51.7 million for the upcoming school year, which is $2.1 million less than the budget for the 2015-2016 school year. That decrease stems from a drop in revenue due to a decline in both enrollment and state funding, as well as the condition of the oil and gas industry.

Under the proposed budget, KSJE will change to a listener-supported model in which the station needs to raise about $150,000 of its $221,000 budget, according to Ed DesPlas, the college's vice president for administrative services. The college will provide about $71,000 in funding.

Changes to college policy will allow the radio station to solicit donations through on-air fundraising.

Staff at the station have also been involved in seeking other funding sources.

Michlin said KSJE started a business and an underwriting program about seven years ago that raises 10 to 15 percent of the station’s budget.

A $5,700 grant from New Mexico Arts, a division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, kicked in this month.

KSJE also sought sponsorship of a radio program for the first time last winter, Michlin said. The on-air performance of "A Christmas Carol," which was organized by the college’s theater department, was sponsored by local businesses.

Advisory board members will help plan KSJE’s first on-air membership drive, which is currently in the works, DesPlas said.

Michlin said work is also being completed on KSJE’s website so it can process donations and membership transactions electronically.

Collecting information from donors and members will help the station apply for grants. DesPlas said the college will ask for demographic information, such as location and income, as well as what listeners like and dislike about KSJE.

Those interested in applying for the advisory board can go to KSJE.com/Support.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.

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