Radio Station asks to share in funding

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By Carol A. Clark

Gillian Sutton approached council at the start of its budget hearings Monday evening. She referenced the county administrator’s budget, which includes a proposed increase from its current $390,277 to $435,109.

“As the owner of KRSN AM 1490, I would like to inquire how to get a piece of this budget,” Sutton said. “Your own survey by Vantage Market Research from September 2008 indicated around 37 percent, with an error of 4.9 percent, which means anywhere from a third to over 40 percent of citizens of the town listened to KRSN sometime during the last 30 days.”

Gillian said that is the same percentage of people who watched a county council meeting on PAC 8 television in the last six months.

“Of that, 37 percent to one half of the public had heard something about the county on our radio station,” Sutton said. “Well, in September when the survey was taken, the only county departments advertising with us were the fire department and Atomic City Transit during the football games. So those people basically had only two days a week in a three hour time period to hear something the county paid for.”

Anything else listeners may have heard would have been a Public Service Announcement about a county event, which KRSN donated to the county, she said.

“We announce all the county council meetings and most events for you as a community service because we are the community radio station,” Sutton said.

Each Wednesday following Tuesday evening’s council meetings, KRSN features an interview with one of the councilors. The station also informs the public, she said, through on-air interviews with county staff and department heads.

Sutton mentioned as examples past interviews with Anne Laurent on Airport Basin and Rey Gonzales about the Diamond Drive project.

KRSN uses the e-mail announcements the county sends out to the media regarding county business and activities, Sutton said, adding that the station puts that same information out over the airwaves four times a day.

She mentioned that both PAC 8 and the Monitor have contracts with the county.

“I have no desire to replace PAC 8 or the Monitor,” Sutton said. “I feel KRSN has an influence on the community which should be utilized and is deserving of an equivalent budget share.”

In his opening comments at Tuesday’s budget hearing, Council Chair Michael Wheeler thanked KRSN radio for its help in getting the word out to the community about county happenings, referring to Monday’s remarks by Sutton.

“KRSN is an important public information source,” Wheeler said in an interview this morning. “So when we advertise for public meetings and public input, personally I like to publicize via not only the newspaper but through all public information sources.”

Wheeler thinks councilors will mention the radio station when they address the county administrator’s budget Thursday. He doesn’t think they will get into the level of operation detail to actually discuss a specific contract but said the county administrator is good about listening to council comments.

Contact Carol A. Clark at lanews@lamonitor.com or (505)662-4185 ext. 25. Read her blog at www.newsextras.wordpress.com.