Mike Martz

October is fundraising time here at KYUK.   We launched our annual membership drive last week with the goal of raising $28,000 through individual contributions from devoted and loyal listeners like you.

Our goal this year is 12-percent above what we asked of our members last year. This year the state cut funding to public media by 23% in the face of a 3.5 billion dollar budget deficit resulting from decreased oil production and low oil prices.   Fiscal experts agree the state will continue to cut spending over the coming years.   We’re looking to recover at least a portion of the funds that were cut by the State through your generous contributions.

In the face of this drop in State funding we have reduced our content staff  by two positions.   We’re managing to make up for this staffing reduction by working more efficiently as a team to keep the impact to our programming and services to a minimum.

There will come a point, however, when additional cuts in funding will begin to affect our services in a noticeable way despite our best efforts to mitigate the impact.   That’s why your contributions are especially important in these difficult economic times.

When you give to KYUK, your public media station, we put your donation directly to work on the services you have come to rely on including news, weather, local announcements, music, talk shows and national programs like All Things Considered.    Your contributions in any amount are greatly appreciated.

You can make a donation on our website, kyuk.org, by clicking on the “Donate” button on our homepage. While you’re on the website check out the list of thank you gifts and grand prize drawing items including two round trip tickets on Alaska Airlines. You can also call 543-3131 to make your pledge. The fundraiser runs through Friday October 16th.

Thank you for your continued support of KYUK, public media for the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta.

Congratulations to Sharon Merritt of Goodnews Bay and Alicia Oscar of Bethel for being chosen by the Bethel Broadcasting Inc board of directors to each receive a $1,000 scholarship.

Sharon is a senior at the University of Alaska Anchorage majoring in Education.  Alicia is a sophomore at the University of Alaska Southeast also majoring in Education.

Each year the BBI board of direcctors awards two $1,000 scholarships to deserving college students from the YK Delta region.  The scholarships are awarded in memory of the late Alexie Isaac, a long time KYUK Yup’ik radio and television producer, translator and also an accomplished carver and artist.

Information on applying for the 2016 scholarship can be found elsewhere on the KYUK website.

Later this month, Pope Francis will visit the United States.  During his visit, the Pope will canonize 18th century Spanish priest Junipero Serra, who founded the first nine Spanish Missions in California.  Serra traveled from his station in Mexico to bring Christianity to the Native population of California. The Pope has called Serra “the evangelizer of the West in the United States.”
However, the decision to raise Serra to sainthood has sparked controversy among California Indians. Historians speculate that Serra may have intended to convert California Indians, but the Spanish soldiers who populated the missions had other motives.
Many believe Serra allowed Spanish soldiers to commit atrocities against the Native peoples of California.    Soldiers administered corporal punishment and committed sexual assault against Natives.
Some see Serra as a saint, while others paint him the villain.   Saint explores both sides of the controversy.   This film was produced by Vision Maker Media’s intern, Charles Perry, as part of his multimedia internship with KVCR/FNX. Watch online

Lakeidra PicKYUK is welcoming Lakeidra Chavis to our station and the YK Delta as a temporary reporter.

Lakeidra is a recent graduate of the University of Alaska-Fairbanks and former intern at KTOO Public Radio in Juneau where she comes highly recommended.

Her work has focused primarily on social inequality. She has reported on homeless populations in Florida and coffee production in the villages of Jamaica’s Blue Mountains. Chavis has also produced work for the Anchorage Press and Alaska Commons.

Chavis will study abroad in the spring but was able to help KYUK fill-in temporarily following the departure of reporter Ben Matheson and former News Director Daysha Eaton.

Matheson himself came to KYUK as a temporary reporter but stayed for two years. He has moved to Anchorage to work on a mapping project with the University of Alaska.

Daysha Eaton is taking a position as news director at KBBI public radio in Homer, Alaska.

KYUK has also hired Anna Rose MacArthur, formerly of KNOM, Nome, as a news reporter.   She will start work on September 21.

Grab is an intimate portrait of the little-documented Grab Day in the villages of the Laguna Pueblo Tribe, who annually throw water and food items from the rooftop of a home to people standing below them. A community-wide prayer of abundance, thanks and renewal, Grab Day exists at the intersection of traditional Native and contemporary Western cultures. Billy Luther’s film, which is narrated by Parker Posey, follows three families as they prepare for the annual event, chronicling their lives for the year leading up to this day.

Columbus Day Legacy examines the quintessential American issues of free speech and ethnic pride against the backdrop of the ongoing Columbus Day Parade controversy in Denver.

Since 1992, the 500th Anniversary of America’s “discovery” of America, the Italian-American community in Denver has publicly and wholeheartedly celebrated its revered holiday, much to the dismay of many local Native Americans. Columbus Day Legacy conveys the strong sense of community and cultural pride that both Italian Americans and Native Americans hold.

The history of the annual parade in Denver has been peppered with both verbal and physical violence, as well as numerous instances in which city leaders have had to reconcile issues of political correctness and freedom of assembly. Tensions rise as Denver’s Native American and Italian-American communities publicly fight over race, history and what it means to be an “American.”

Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind the Emmy Award-winning program, Sesame Street, and HBO, the nation’s leading premium cable network, today announced a new partnership that will make the next five seasons of the iconic series available on HBO and its multiplex channels, HBO GO, HBO On Demand and the new internet only SVOD service HBO NOW. As a key part of the deal, Sesame will be able to produce almost twice as much new content as previous seasons, and for the first time ever, make the show available free of charge to PBS and its member stations after a nine-month window.

“Our new partnership with HBO represents a true winning public-private partnership model,” said Jeffrey D. Dunn, Sesame Workshop’s CEO. “It provides Sesame Workshop with the critical funding it needs to be able to continue production of Sesame Street and secure its nonprofit mission of helping kids grow smarter, stronger and kinder; it gives HBO exclusive pay cable and SVOD access to the nation’s most important and historic educational programming; and it allows Sesame Street to continue to air on PBS and reach all children, as it has for the past 45 years.”

In addition to the next five seasons of Sesame Street, Sesame Workshop will produce a Sesame Street Muppet™ spinoff series, as well as develop a new original educational series for children. HBO has also licensed over 150 library episodes of Sesame Street. The new episodes will begin airing as early as late fall 2015, and HBO will be the exclusive, first-run subscription television distribution partner for Sesame Street and the new series. HBO will have the right to air all series in both English and Spanish. All new series will also be made available to PBS and its member stations after the first window. Episodes of Sesame Street will continue to be made available, uninterrupted, as part of the PBS KIDS service on PBS member stations.

“We are absolutely thrilled to help secure the future of Sesame Street and Sesame Workshop’s mission for the nation’s kids and families,” said Richard Plepler, Chairman and CEO of HBO, and Michael Lombardo, President, HBO Programming. “Home Box Office is committed to bringing the most groundbreaking and creative shows to its audience. Sesame Street is the most important preschool education program in the history of television. We are delighted to be a home for this extraordinary show, helping Sesame Street expand and build its franchise.”

“I’ve long admired the creative work of HBO and can’t think of a better partner to continue the quality of Sesame Street’s programming,” commented Joan Ganz Cooney, co-founder of Sesame Street. “Over the past decade, both the way in which children are consuming video and the economics of the children’s television production business have changed dramatically. In order to fund our nonprofit mission with a sustainable business model, Sesame Workshop must recognize these changes and adapt to the times.”

In addition to Sesame Street, HBO will also license approximately 50 past episodes of the two acclaimed children’s series Pinky Dinky Doo, an animated series for preschoolers that focuses on early literacy, and The Electric Company, which was rebooted in 2009, from Sesame Workshop.

About Sesame Workshop

Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street which reaches 156 million children across more than 150 countries. The Workshop’s mission is to help kids grow smarter, stronger and kinder. Delivered through a variety of platforms, including television programs, digital experiences, books and community engagement, its research-based programs are tailored to the needs of the communities and countries they serve. For more information, visit us at www.sesameworkshop.org.

About Home Box Office

Home Box Office, Inc. is the premium television programming subsidiary of Time Warner Inc. and the world’s most successful pay TV service, providing the two television services – HBO® and Cinemax® – to approximately 122 million subscribers worldwide. The services offer the popular subscription video-on-demand products HBO On Demand® and Cinemax On Demand®, as well as HBO GO® and MAX GO®, HD feeds and multiplex channels. HBO NOWSM, the network’s internet only premium streaming service, provides audiences with instant access to HBO’s acclaimed programming in the U.S. Internationally, HBO branded television networks, along with the subscription video-on-demand products HBO On Demand and HBO GO, bring HBO services to over 60 countries. HBO and Cinemax programming is sold into over 150 countries worldwide.

“May you live in interesting times” is a saying, some say a curse, thought by many to have originated in ancient China.  During a brief Internet search, however, I discovered that it’s actually neither Chinese nor ancient. Regardless of its origins and age, the phrase certainly describes the current times here in Alaska. From the most devastating wild fire season in decades to the continued decline of King salmon runs to the drop in oil prices that precipitated historic losses in State revenue we Alaskans are indeed living in very “interesting times”.

These are also very “interesting times” for Alaska’s public media stations. The rapid fire pace of technological change has brought about an incredible array of new devices and new pathways for public stations to connect with their communities, to become the electronic town square connecting communities with each other and providing a host of services that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago.

The challenge facing public media in these “interesting times” is to use this technology to create and distribute meaningful content in new ways that will satisfy the demands and needs of our fellow Alaskans for reliable, up to date and vital information and entertainment that they will find of value. To achieve that goal requires innovation that moves us beyond the tried and true, some would say “tired”, programming formats and delivery methods that have been the foundation of public media here for decades. We must push ourselves out of our comfort zones if we are to stay relevant to our communities and our state.

We can’t continue to do business as usual. The current bleak State revenue situation is stark evidence of that new reality. While some may see this as an obstacle to the reinvention of Alaska public media, others, including myself, see an opportunity for real systemic change to occur.

For that to happen will take real leadership, a broad, courageous vision and a willingness among all public media outlets across Alaska to cooperate, consolidate, coordinate and take risks.

We do indeed live in “interesting times.” Stay tuned.

In keeping with the old adage that “everything old is new again”, KYUK has brought classic radio back to our evening schedule.  Packaged together into a program we’re calling  Old Time Radio, shows like The Green Hornet and The Shadow are the first of several classic radio drama series to be featured on 640 AM on Monday evenings from 9-10pm.

With advice  from our Community Advisory Board, these “old” new programs are part of a broader set of programming changes KYUK is making.

We’re making it easier for late risers on the weekend to catch the news.  NPR’s Weekend Edition now airs from 8-10am, an hour later than before matching the Sunday morning news schedule.  As part of that change,  Car Talk will now air two hours earlier on Saturday mornings.

Car Talk has been airing “best of” and replayed versions of the show since the retirement of it’s hosts and following the death of host Tom Magliozzi in November.  It now airs on Saturdays from 7-8am on 640AM until we find a new NPR public affairs program of interest to our listeners to replace it.

A second hour of Undercurrents, a music show hosted by Gregg McVicar and produced by Native Voice One, is now included in Friday night’s programming schedule starting at 11pm.  Now several hours of Undercurrents, each unique and different, can be heard on  KYUK 640 AM and 90.3 FM.

We’ve replaced This American Life with Radiolab,  a show based on our natural curiosities that blurs the boundaries between science, philosophy, and the human experience.   Listeners can hear Radiolab Sunday evenings 8-9pm.

KYUK’s flagship talk show, Talk Line, expanded to a 90-minute program in April after several months of experimenting with the longer format. Talk Line airs live on Friday mornings from 10-11:30am, with a replay  on Friday evenings on 640AM starting at 7pm.

Our goal in making these changes is to better fulfill KYUK’s mission, as set by our Board of Directors. That mission includes entertaining, educating and informing the YK Delta.

KYUK’s full program schedule can be found on our website kyuk.org by clicking on the link labeled ‘AM Weekly Guide.’

Join us for the fourth annual Webby Award-nominated PBS Online Film Festival. This year’s Festival features 25 short-form independent films from various station and producing partners.

Vision Maker Media is pleased to offer Jeffrey Palmer’s uplifting short film, Isabelle’s Garden–a story of a community coming together in reciprocity, through the hopes and dreams of a young, Choctaw girl and her garden. The short film was supported and launched through the Sundance Institute Short Film Challenge which aims to showcase stories that communicate how we can support one another to end poverty and hunger once and for all.

Stream the videos anytime from June 15 to July 17, and don’t forget to vote for your favorite videos, including Isabelle’s Garden. This week, ROKU users have an exclusive preview of the PBS Online Film Festival via the PBS ROKU app (http://www.pbs.org/roku/home). Beginning June 15, the Festival will be available via PBS digital platforms including PBS.orgYouTube, and PBS social media channels.

The PBS Online Film Festival showcases diverse films from the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB), National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC), Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC), POV, StoryCorps, and Vision Maker Media, as well as PBS local member stations including Alaska Public Media, CET/ThinkTV (Cincinnati/Dayton), KLRU (Austin, Texas), KQED (San Francisco, California), Louisiana Public Broadcasting, Twin Cities Public Television, UNC-TV (North Carolina), and Vermont PBS. Promotional partners for the PBS Online Film Festival include ITVS and World Channel.

The Festival showcases powerful and engaging stories from filmmakers across the country, while also providing an opportunity for producers to reach and engage a digitally-savvy audience. The Festival has become a popular, annual online event–attracting more than 350,000 streams and 50,000 votes cast for the winner last year.

Viewers are encouraged to vote for their favorite film to win the “People’s Choice” Award. For updates on the Festival, follow #PBSolff on Twitter.

“PBS prides itself as the home for independent film, whether on-air or online,” said Ira Rubenstein, Senior Vice President and General Manager, PBS Digital. “With the Online Film Festival, PBS and its member stations have the opportunity to bring unique, high-quality independent film to a highly engaged, digitally savvy audience.”

About the Filmmaker: Jeffrey Palmer (Kiowa)
Jeffrey Palmer felt that this vignette, Isabelle’s Garden, about a Choctaw girl would not just shed light on conditions in the area, but also provide some insight; old traditions, it turns out, can help us create a better present and future.