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. We hold regular volunteer training classes, held in a hybrid of virtual and in-person training, resulting in 20 new voices on the air this year.
As a result of the pandemic, KCAW has forged new partnerships with local nonprofits and tribes to deliver cultural content. Our partnerships with Artchange, Inc. and the Sitka Tribe of Alaska have resulted in a new block of programming centered around storytelling. We have worked with the Sitka Fine Arts Camp to broadcast live musical performances live, in order to increase the reach of these events and support the arts programming as an everyday, expected experience. We have also partnered with the Yakutat Tlingit Tribe to support local generation of content on their own radio license – KYKT.
We welcomed 30 new people on the air for Sitka Tells Tales. The host of Our Grandparents’ Teachings invited 10 Indigenous storytellers as well. In a small community, the storytellers bring their networks into KCAW’s listenership. This engages listeners deeply, in that they’re connecting specifically to what (and who) they hear.
How Our Grandparents’ Teachings developed is the best specific impact we can relay – it was the result of an audience member engaging with the storytelling and asking to get involved. Being able to be more diverse and inclusive is the aim of many media outlets, and we honor the fact that the Tribe aligned with this work so deeply that they wanted to partner on it. By sharing Tlingít storytelling, we’re teaching people to listen differently. Stories are a bridge for cultural knowledge, and serve as a tool to bring community together in a time when we need it most. When you listen, the sound design & pacing brings you close, right across the campfire from our host who speaks in traditional structure and expressiveness.
We are taking all the content we created for storytelling and distributing it in the podcast space.
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.
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. In 2021, our RFA reporters filed 38 stories that specifically covered issues in our listening communities. We also partner deeply on a regional and statewide level, as a CoastAlaska newsroom filing on the Alaska Public Radio Network. Some specific initiatives we’ve joined include the Alaska Energy Desk and a rural health collaborative funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
As an operational matter, KCAW collaborates with individuals and organizations on an everyday basis. To see an example of this daily work, take a look at our Morning Interview programming: https://www.kcaw.org/category/kcaw-morning-interview/
And finally, KCAW was involved in a crucial nationwide initiative – the National Federation of Community Broadcasters’ Community Counts Initiative, or CCI. CCI was a cohort-based learning program for community radio stations serving rural and underrepresented communities. The model they’re using for this program (called The Circle of Engagement) suggests that engagement, content, and revenue are interconnected and that solid organizational capacity is the glue that sustains these efforts over time. Our participation in this program certainly affirms this hypothesis.
KCAW is connected in many ways to the public media ecosystem – through our work in super-serving our listening communities, and participating on a regional, statewide and national scale.
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 over 3,000 community events. Raven Radio continues to expand online services. Raven Radio’s website regularly has more than 25,000 unique website users per month, 45,000 sessions, and 68,000 page views. The station’s Facebook page has more than 8,300 fans and has become a critical link in emergency communications. Facebook posts regularly reach tens of thousands of people, with 12,637 people following our page – an increase of 1,944 from last year.
“My ‘pandemic pastimes’ have been listening to local news shows at public radio stations around the United States. Now I am donating to the stations I’ve gotten the most from and listening to every week. I especially like Raven Radio’s Storytelling Hour; it’s unique among the programs I’ve sampled around the country. May the ravens fly high and keep KCAW on the air to inform locals and far off listeners about the happenings in Sitka for many years to come!” – Anne Bennedsen
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, hosted by Maite Lorente.
- Gunalchéesh!, Wednesdays 8-10 pm hosted by K’yuuhlgaansii. This show is a celebration of native languages, focusing on stories told in Haida and Tlingit.
- “Haa Léelk’u Hás Haa Éet Aawlitoo.át”, or “Our Grandparents’ Teachings,” on 1st Tuesdays 7-8 pm, hosted by Daanax.ils’eik (Chuck Miller). Our Grandparents’ Teachings focuses on legends and teachings from the traditions of the Tlingít people of Sitka and greater Southeast Alaska.
We provide a safe, supportive setting for new voices to learn technical broadcasting skills. 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.
We’re looking to the future as well, and CPB’s support of CoastAlaska’s digital efforts will directly benefit KCAW. As a team member for the Digital Transformation Program, we’re excited to learn more about stewarding a culture-shift around our digital presence. Our website analytics indicate that at least 2/3rds of our audience accesses KCAW on mobile devices. Media consumer habits mean that the demand for news content on the web has increased. Our public service mandate extends across different channels – CPB’s support makes meeting this demand possible.