KSJE advisory board works to collect donations

Joshua Kellogg

FARMINGTON — With the formation of a new advisory board and a grant worth almost $145,000, San Juan College’s KSJE-FM radio station is taking steps to become more self-sufficient.

KSJE-FM technician Nicholas Michael works in the studio Wednesday at San Juan College in Farmington.

The public radio station at San Juan College has been working to raise $150,000, or two-thirds of its budget, by the end of the current school year. The college board asked KSJE to raise a majority of its operating budget as the school dealt with a decline in revenue.

The change was prompted by the college board members approving a proposed budget of $51.7 million in April for the 2016-2017 school year, about $2.1 million less than the 2015-2016 school year. KSJE’s annual budget is about $221,000.

Scott Michlin, KSJE program director, said the station saw a great amount of interest from community members who wanted to volunteer for the advisory board.

“We had a lot of interest in the community about the future of KSJE, and that’s great to see,” Michlin said.

Michlin was notified earlier this month that KSJE was accepted into the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s Community Service Grant program. The station will receive an annual grant of $72,408 for two years.

The radio station applied for the grant last year and did not qualify because it didn’t meet the criteria of having a minimum operating budget of $300,000, Michlin said. After KSJE qualified as a rural radio station that also serves minorities, the requirement was dropped to an operating budget of $100,000 or more.

A new advisory board has been put together to help San Juan College radio station KSJE-FM become more financially sustainable.

“It’s a great help this year,” Michlin said.

The 17 members of the advisory board have held two meetings and are still in the beginning stages of developing the group, according to board Chair Jenny Lee Ryan.

Ryan, the Farmington Public Library program director, said KSJE has been a big part of the community and has helped sponsor events at the library.

“When I learned they needed help, I really wanted to be part of it,” Ryan said.

Board members have been working to finalize the goals of the group, elect officers and start planning future events, including a proposed on-air membership drive in November.

Members were split into three groups that focus on increasing membership donations, seeking underwriting from local businesses and organizations, and planning events, Ryan said.

The short-term goals for the board are to help raise the additional funds for the current school year and then focus on developing long-term plans to help make KSJE more financially sustainable.

Michlin has also led efforts with the San Juan College Bookstore to create KSJE-branded merchandise, including baseball caps and T-shirts as gifts for donations. The items are also sold in the bookstore with proceeds benefiting the radio station.

To increase the station's profile on the main San Juan College campus, new speakers will be installed in the college’s cafeteria, Mary’s Kitchen, to broadcast the station during the day.

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