Sally Kane, former executive director of KVNF and now the chief executive officer for the National Federation of Community Broadcasters (NFCB), finds she's talking more to herself these days. Not a surprise for such a staunch supporter of the First Amendment, but mainly because her CEO office is out of her home in Crawford.
She has to bounce all those ideas off someone, even if it's herself. But not to worry; in her capacity as NFCB CEO she will also be speaking to many, many people. This year alone she will be making three trips to Washington, D.C. where she presses the issues of community radio before the Federal Communications Commission, the U.S. Congress, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and National Public Radio. She'll also travel to both coasts to spread the importance of community radio.
Of course community radio is something Kane knows inside out having been with KVNF Community Radio in Paonia for 14 years.
The skills she applied for KVNF's successful capital campaign for a new facility and starting a news department, and her skills as a former midwife, expertly prepared her for taking on the top duties for the NFCB.
"Towards the end of my time at KVNF I served on a review committee for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Every 10 years by statute they have to review their main granting program. I was invited with 20 others from across the system representing pretty much every market size and the full spectrum of types of public radio that is out there to review the requirements of the grant program and make recommendations. Prior to that I had been invited on a couple of brainstorm meetings. They fly you to Washington and you are meeting with a whole group of your peers from across the country, They prepare you with a lot of background information about the conversations they want to have," Kane said. "So, I had gained quite a bit of experience in how to handle that kind of level of conversation. I had developed a pretty strong network of colleagues, so it made me a good candidate."
The NFCB has been through a time of transition with changing leadership. When Kane arrived at its helm on Jan. 6, she already had some goals in mind to keep NFCB a strong voice for community radio in the future and to meet the challenges of new technology and economic factors that impact community broadcasters today.
"The number one goal is to clarify the way we proceed in the future as an organization. The number two goal is to secure more funding for some of the projects we have going on. The number three goal is to reach out to the members and have a growing membership and a membership base that [has] a really strong public voice, so we are a unified alliance," Kane said.
"The National Federation of Community Broadcasters exists to provide advocacy for community radio stations at the national level, to provide some basic member services and professional development.
"The advocacy part has to do with funds because the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is a major funder of particularly the minority owned and the rural stations. So you do spend a great deal of time advocating for the value of community broadcasting in the rural areas and among minority populations to make sure that they get those funds."
There are different licensees among the non-profit stations. Those include university owned stations like KCFR at Denver University. Also among those are Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) licensees. KVNF is an example of a community licensee. Other licensees are from Tribal Councils serving the Native American populations on reservations. There is a contingency of Latino stations. The NFCB has historically represented and served minority and rural populations.
Kane wants people to understand the importance of freedom of speech in our country.
"The free flow of information in our society is not guaranteed to us by an Internet. It is only something that exists when we as citizens stand up for it. And when we are interested in engaging in civil dialogue with one another. I don't believe that can happen exclusively with the Internet. We still have to engage face to face, one on one in our organizations on the community level," Kane said.
"It's important enough for me to spend some time in Washington to stand up for the First Amendment because I think it is in grave danger. You don't have a democracy without a free press and freedom of expression," Kane said.
"We have information that we can get just about anywhere, but we're not going very deep into information anymore. We are staying on the surface. I think community radio stations have a unique capacity because it's people who live and work and raise their children in these communities that are actually the lifeblood of those community radio stations. They're committed, and it's not something being brought in and just distributed. It is actually being created," she said.
"We're really, really lucky to have what we have here, and whether you like the song you hear or you agree with the opinion you might hear or not, it's owned by the people who live here. Most of the programming is made by the people who live here, and those kinds of community wide conversations are not going to happen without those strong, independent media institutions. If my being part of a national organization brings that to the forefront in the minds of the people where I grew up, then I'll be very happy about that," Kane said.
"I just really value rural America. I think we are brave and we grow food. We protect water. We provide energy for people's homes and lifestyles. And because we are a minority population in terms of our numbers and we are dispersed, we don't always have a strong voice. I have been given a lot of ability in the area of public speaking and wordsmithing and I have a love of rural people and rural life so I want to make a differenced and stand up for that too."blog comments powered by Disqus