A couple of years ago the National Federation of Community Broadcasters (“NFCB”) almost closed up shop. Beset with past poor leadership, debts and burned bridges, two members of the NFCB Board told me folding NFCB was a “50/50” option. But that didn’t happen. Sally Kane became NFCB’s CEO.
ACTIONS NOT WORDS
Since Sally became NFCB’s CEO in early 2014, NFCB has shown new vitality. It seems be playing a larger role in the public media conversation. This is a good thing because community-based radio has the potential to become a bigger factor in American society. Sally gets it.
She is a refreshing change from the lengthy verbal screeds found in Old-School community radio like the wordsmiths at FORWARD KUSP [LINK] Sally knows from first-hand experience that mere words don’t pay the bills.
MEET SALLY FROM PAONIA
Sally Kane is living an amazing public media life. Back in the late 1970s, her mom and dad were among the founders of KVNF. (Her father is US District Court Judge John Kane.)
Sally grew up knowing that money doesn’t grow on trees. The early years of KVNF were hand-to-mouth – pledge drive food, filling in for absent volunteers and managing cash flow.
After high school, Sally moved the big city: Fort Collins. She graduated from Colorado State and went into the restaurant and catering business. Then, changes happened, as Sally says in a quote I found online:
I closed the cafe down when I was 9 months pregnant with my second child. because it had my name in the sign I wanted to close it down rather than lease it or try to manage it off site. The experience gave me a great set of skills that I have used over many years in book keeping, cooking, delegating, and customer service.
Not long afterwards, Sally moved back to Paonia. She eventually became General Manager of KVNF.
SUCCESS IN A SMALL MARKET MEANS ATTENTION TO DETAILS
KVNF and repeater KVMT, Montrose serves much of the western third of Colorado.
This is rugged, beautiful country where wolves outnumber humans. I’ve heard it called Poverty With a View. It is also an extremely competitive radio market.
KVNF faces full-power repeaters of Colorado Public Radio’s News and Classical services. KVNF succeeds by being hyper local, providing many of public radio’s best national programs and hanging out the Welcome Sign for new people and ideas. And it is working.
While Sally was GM she led a capital campaign for a new facility and launched a local news department. According to IRS filings, KVNF is a larger organization than NFCB. [KVNF 2012 Revenue = $450,000; NFCB 2013 = $390,000]
SALLY AT NFCB
NFCB is currently sponsoring Regional Meetings for member stations. [LINK] Guest speakers at past Regionals have included some of best and brightest in the public media biz: Sue Schardt from AIR, John Barth from PRX. These folks are doers not talkers.
I don’t know Sally Kane but I respect her leadership. If anyone can help community radio find sustainability and renewed purpose with better book keeping, cooking, delegating, and customer service, it is SALLY FROM PAONIA.