1. Describe your overall goals and approach to address identified community issues, needs, and interests through your station’s vital local services, such as multiplatform long and short-form content, digital and in-person engagement, education services, community information, partnership support, and other activities, and audiences you reached or new audiences you engaged.

KCAW’s overall goal is to provide current and ongoing news and information for the communities of coastal Southeast Alaska. We also strive to include as many local stories and voices on the airwaves in an effort to continually reflect and improve our community. There are several aspects to our work that fulfill these objectives.

Our mandate is to inform — we do so on a local level by being present at as many community meetings and activities as possible on a virtual basis, given the social distancing restrictions posed by COVID-19. Every weekday morning, in addition to the local newscast, weather reports and community calendar, KCAW broadcasts a live interview about community issues and events. Interviews are scheduled by request. One day a week is reserved for school activities and staff regularly works with the Sitka Tribe of Alaska to schedule interviews. All local news and morning interviews are available in perpetuity on the KCAW website. We have integrated remote meeting software in order to make this resource available.

We promote opportunities for the community to share their stories, despite the challenges posed by COVID-19. After many months and crucial financial partnerships, KCAW is able to welcome our live and local hosts back on the air safely. The pandemic destroyed our volunteer pipeline, and we are working to rebuild it better than before – focusing on virtual instruction as much as we can to reduce in-person potential exposure. We hope to launch this system by the end of March 2021.

KCAW has put significant effort into creating a comprehensive community calendar populated with user submissions sent by email, website form, fax, mail or drop in. The goal is to include all events in the communities served on the calendar, which is regularly read on the air and available on line. During the first shutdown phase of COVID-19, we were proactive in researching/sharing closures and health mandates. This work still continues, and has shifted to provide listeners resources like Farms to Families food boxes and tribal rent relief programs, for example.

We are constantly working to increase opportunities for human connection and engagement during the pandemic. We developed call-in programming, ‘virtual’ drives that could include community members safely from a distance, events on Zoom that connected listeners directly with public health officials. We partnered with a local creative nonprofit to collect audio snapshots out community coping with the realities of social distancing.

The pandemic has changed a great many things about life as we all know it, and KCAW remains committed to community issues, needs, and interests.

2. Describe key initiatives and the variety of partners with whom you collaborated, including other public media outlets, community nonprofits, government agencies, educational institutions, the business community, teachers and parents, etc. This will illustrate the many ways you’re connected across the community and engaged with other important organizations in the area.

KCAW is a founding member of CoastAlaska. Our newsroom regularly collaborates with other CoastAlaska newsrooms as well as the statewide cohort of Alaska Public Radio reporters. This is part of critical lifeline service to communities throughout our listening area.

KCAW’s General Manager is an appointed member of the Local Emergency Planning Commission (LEPC). We collaborate with local elected officials, emergency services personnel, community groups, and local infrastructure operators to make sure that Raven Radio not only provides essential support in times of emergencies, but also creates practical plans in advance of events.

Mt. Edgecumbe High School is a boarding school for kids from around the state that live in villages with limited or no high school opportunities. The student body is predominantly Alaska Native. The MEHS Radio Club now produces an hour 1/2 long radio program broadcast every other Tuesday at 7 pm featuring news about high school activities, student commentaries, live music performances and prerecorded music. Partnering with schools to provide youth programming has been a logistical challenge given COVID-19 health and safety mandates – as of March, the MEHS Radio Club has returned to the air from a studio built specifically for them on campus.

KCAW partners deeply with the community every day, but there are sometimes exceptional moments of increased collaboration. We created “Talk of Southeast Alaska” as a public affairs program dedicated to unpacking specific topics of community concern. We partnered with SEARHC, the Alaska Department of Health and Human Services, the US Forest Service, the towns of Kake, Tenakee Springs, Angoon, Sitkans Against Family Violence, the Sitka Health Coalition, and many others.

In 2020, KCAW became a Report for America host newsroom, creating a beat reporting position that focused on sharing stories outside of Sitka. This position is a means to address a huge news publication deficiency in our communities of coverage.

KCAW is about to release an enterprise reporting project focused on accessible/affordable housing issues in Sitka. This taps into issues felt throughout our community – from an individual level to businesses to city government itself. There are many, many ways KCAW is the connective thread throughout our entire listening audience.

3. What impact did your key initiatives and partnerships have in your community? Describe any known measurable impact, such as increased awareness, learning or understanding about particular issues. Describe indicators of success, such as connecting people to needed resources or strengthening conversational ties across diverse neighborhoods. Did a partner see an increase in requests for related resources? Please include direct feedback from a partner(s) or from a person(s) served.

KCAW members are listeners, volunteers, donors and programmers. KCAW is a hub for community engagement, which is a key factor of health for any community. KCAW listeners can participate in important dialogues about issues that are deeply affecting our community. They bring their voices and their diverse community experiences to the KCAW broadcast and to the world through our website. KCAW encourages and makes possible deep engagement and dialogue that is vital to the health of our community.

Each year, we connect nonprofits in Sitka, Angoon, Elfin Cove, Kake, Pelican, Port Alexander, Tenakee Springs, and Yakutat to our listeners, promoting community events despite COVID-19. Raven Radio continues to expand online services. Raven Radio’s website regularly has more than 25,000 unique visitors on average each month. The station’s Facebook page has more than 11,806 fans and has become a critical link in emergency communications. Facebook posts regularly reach tens of thousands of people.

“Raven local news is consistently excellent in quality. I depend on it for important information about Sitka and the region and i also greatly enjoy learning new things with Raven news – frequently educational and entertaining as well.” – Dr. Elliot Bruhl, Chief Medical Officer SEARHC

4. Please describe any efforts (e.g. programming, production, engagement activities) you have made to investigate and/or meet the needs of minority and other diverse audiences (including, but not limited to, new immigrants, people for whom English is a second language and illiterate adults) during Fiscal Year 2019, and any plans you have made to meet the needs of these audiences during Fiscal Year 2020. If you regularly broadcast in a language other than English, please note the language broadcast.

While it is our hope that all of our programming serves our whole community, the specific KCAW programming that is by and for underserved communities, includes:

  • Indigenous and Other Expressions, Wednesdays 2-4pm, hosted by David Sam. Dave is an Alaskan Native, and his show highlights Native American and Indigenous artists and music.
  • Bulevar Latino Saturdays 2-3pm is entirely in Spanish, and is an exploration of music and culture.
  • Gunalchéesh!, Thursdays 10pm-12am, hosted by K’yuuhlgaansii. This show is a celebration of native languages, focusing on stories told in Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian.

We provide youth a safe, supportive setting where they can learn technical broadcasting skill and put youth perspectives on the air through our partnerships with high school radio clubs, even in the face of COVID-19.

The Library Show is an incredible engagement vehicle for the local library, which encourages listeners who may experience barriers to literacy to utilize library programs.

KCAW is working to improve our discrete services to communities of listeners who speak languages other than English. We are also working with our Community Advisory Board to collect quantifiable information on the way listeners and non-listeners are served by our work.

5. Please assess the impact that your CPB funding had on your ability to serve your community. What were you able to do with your grant that you wouldn’t be able to do if you didn’t receive it?

CPB’s support is a foundational aspect to our operational capacity. The ability to broadcast news from around the country and around the world, from sources such as NPR, BBC and the Alaska Public Radio Network is dependent on CPB funding. This service is especially important for listeners in the remote coastal communities we serve that don’t have access to regular internet service. To that point, in compliance with Section 396(k)(3)(A)(iii) of the Communications Act, we are able to not only acquire national programming — we regularly produce programs in a variety of formats for national distribution.

We could not afford the statewide network dues without the continued support of the CSG revenue. The station’s interconnect fees for the PRSS system is also paid with the CSG revenue. Ongoing expenses associated with seven translator service areas are supported by CPB.

Because of CPB’s support of KCAW, we are broadcasting a diverse and vibrant program schedule that achieves an excellence that would otherwise be impossible. CPB funding is crucial to staffing the newsroom enabling us to provide daily news coverage for Southeast Alaskans whether they are looking for their information on air or online.

And during the early stages of the pandemic, CPB’s quick action to provide stabilization funding to rural stations is one of the reasons we can be here today. Having this support as we were trying to understand the pandemic and the consequences to our operational capacity was so, so important, as we were looking at deeply cutting services and programming in order to survive.