Manager’s Update

Déjà Vu Again

by Mike Martz on December 18, 2015

Governor Walker recently released his FY17 state budget proposal and, to quote the late baseball great Yogi Berra, it’s déjà vu all over again. The State’s fiscal crisis shows no signs of abating, so more cuts to state departments and services will be the order of the day.

The legislature convenes on January 19th.   It’s more than likely that in the their deliberations on this thorny and serious dilemma members of the House and Senate will be proposing even deeper cuts to state departments and services than those proposed by the Governor. So we’ll need to tighten our belts even more than we had to do last year.

Like last year, the Public Communications Services component of the Department of Administration, which includes public radio and television, is a target for another round of budget reductions. In the governor’s proposal, public radio receives a cut of just under 27% amounting to $750,000 system wide. Public TV takes a cut of just over 5% or $33,300 system wide. The Senate and House finance committees will be examining Walker’s proposed budget and deciding on their own spending reduction levels at the same time. At this early date, it is impossible to predict what those reductions will look like.

Both the House and Senate finance subcommittees are comprised of the same members as last year. Last year both subcommittees started out recommending higher reductions to the public media system than the governor proposed. The same will most likely happen again this year. So, we in the public media system are preparing for a similar or even more drastic reduction. Station managers and public media system leaders have already begun meeting to plan our strategy for making the case once again that our local services are essential to our communities and to the state as a whole. We understand that in these tough fiscal times sacrifices are necessary and we expect to do our part. However, we also feel that a cut of more than $783,000 as proposed by the governor, or an even high amount expected to be proposed by the legislature, will begin to erode the public media system to the point that local services to our communities will be seriously compromised.

As the legislative session draws nearer, I will be continuing to work with public medial leaders from across the state to fine tune our response to what we expect will be another extremely difficult budget year.   As this process moves forward, I will once again call on you, KYUK’s loyal supporters and local champions, to step forward and advocate for stable funding for your local community public media station.

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

We Made It…Thanks to You!

by Mike Martz on October 20, 2015

exploding-thermometerThanks to the generousity of all of you, our devoted and loyal listeners and viewers, we reached our fundraising goal of $28,000 on Saturday October 17th.

The traditions of giving and sharing run deep in the YK Delta.  I am always humbled by the extent of the financial support we receive each year from all of you across the Delta.  Even in these tough economic times, you step up and contribute to your public media station, KYUK. Read more →

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,, 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.

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.

“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 by clicking on the link labeled ‘AM Weekly Guide.’

From the earliest days of public broadcasting in the 1960’s, particularly in public radio, volunteers have played an integral role in helping stations fulfill their mission of service to their communities.

Even in this age of digital technology, with automated programming systems and satellite interconnection, local volunteers still play a vital role in local public media services at stations large and small across the country. Volunteers are the local voices of public media in their communities. They bring a variety of perspectives, diversity and talents that help keep local public media truly local.

KYUK has relied on volunteers from the beginning of its operations in 1971 and that reliance continues today. Over the years, we have had volunteers host radio and television shows, assist in fundraising events, organize and perform in talent shows and other station special events, read the evening television news on air, work as TV camera operators, help out with station repairs and construction projects and serve on our boards.

Currently we have close to forty individuals who volunteer their time and talents to KYUK and to their community. One of those individuals, Jean Brinich, has been the volunteer host of the Classical Sunday music program for twenty years. We thank Jean for her years of service and dedication to public media in the YK Delta.

I’d like to take this opportunity to publically thank all our volunteers who donate their time and talents to support KYUK and public media in our region:

Sports Broadcasting (High School Basketball and Wrestling)

Bev Hoffman            Mike Hoffman

Jill Hoffman             Donna Bach

Zach Fansler            Darrell Garrison, Sr.

Corey LePore            Ben Caragnan

Matt Murphy (basketball statistics)

Music Shows

Ben Caragnan – Underground Sound

Caroline Proux & Katrina Beitz – T.R.A.S.H.

Marissa Pardue & Kelsey Wendland – Radical Ravens

Matt Murphy – Organic Blend

Sara Guinn- 5 Cups of Coffee Later

Brian Berube- Stinkhead Stu

Drew Colbert & Myka Kernak – Happy Hour

Rybo Shore- Saturday Sessions

Jean Brinich- Classical Sundays

Peter Twitchell- Delta Country

Talk Shows

Fritz Charles – Yuk to Yuk

Diane McEachern, Joe Moses, Jr., Fran Reich – Talk Line

Community Advisory Board

Donna Bach            Sarah Angstman

Fran Reich               Allen Joseph

Kathy Hanson         Jenn Peeks

Andre Jacobs          Sam Blankenship

 Board of Directors – Bethel Broadcasting, Inc.

Max Angellan                     Fred Phillip

John Lamont                      Dave Cannon

Moses Tulim                      Jean Brinich

Cindy Andrecheck            Janet Kaiser

If you are interested in finding out how you can volunteer at your local public media station, contact us here at KYUK at any time. We always welcome anyone seriously interested in supporting local public media.

To find out what you can do as a KYUK volunteer, call Ryan at 543-0228 or send an email to

Each year KYUK news and content staff enter the best of their work in the annual Alaska Press Club awards.  This award competition recognizes the best work in news reporting and news photography from across Alaska.

KYUK has consistently won awards in a number of categories in the past and this year is no exception.  Three KYUK staffers won awards at this year’s competition.

News Director Daysha Eaton won first place in the Best Single Story Reporting Category for her story “Tragedy Renews Hope for Bethel Family”.

News Reporter Ben Matheson took a third place in the Best Reporting on Health Category for his story “Spay and Neuter Clinics Improve Village Safety”.

Both Daysha Eaton and Dean Swope received a third place award in the Best Multimedia Presentation-All Media Category for their story “Fire Burns Bethel Alcohol Treatment Center Construction Project”.

Congratulations go out to all three of these hard working KYUK staffers for continuing our tradition of excellence.

In an earlier post  I presented the KYUK Radio Report to the Community. This report is a requirement of the federal grants we receive through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting- CPB. KYUK-TV also receives substantial financial support from the Federal government through CPB grants. As a joint radio and television licensee, KYUK also must prepare and present a report to the community on our television services for the prior year.   In this article I will present some of the highlights of our local television services for 2014.

For 44 years KYUK Radio and Television has shared the world with the people of the Yukon/Kuskokwim Delta and shared the unique culture, lifestyle and issues of the Yukon/Kuskokwim Delta’s people with the world.

In 2014, KYUK-TV continued the transmission of four digital channels of free over the air public television programming for the community of Bethel. These channels include PBS, the Alaska Rural Communication Service (ARCS), 360North/Gavel Alaska and a local message channel. This has been a key local service provided to the community of Bethel for 43 years.

In late March 2014, KYUK once again shared with the world the Cama-i Dance Festival, Bethel’s celebration of dance, culture and artistic expression held each spring in Bethel. KYUK-TV has documented this event since 1991. In 2014 we had a multimedia team produce feature print and audio stories, a photo slide show and a sixteen minute highlights video that were all posted to the KYUK website.

In September, 2014 KYUK entered into a partnership with the Tundra Women’s Coalition working with their youth group, Teens Acting Against Violence (TAAV), to produce an interactive video program educating YK Delta teens on appropriate and healthy relationships. Titled Lets’ Talk About: Healthy Relationships, the program will be written, produced and acted by members of the TAAV teen group who will present this video program to their peers in communities throughout the YK Delta as part of their community outreach program. The goal of this project is to reduce the incidences of sexual violence and suicide among teens in Y/K Delta communities. Additional partners include YK villages touched by sexual violence; schools throughout the YK Delta and YKHC’s Behavioral Health Department.  This project is now in the production phase. The anticipated completion date will be in July of 2015.

The construction phase of our USDA Rural Public Television Station Digital Transition Grant is nearing completion.   Demolition and construction began almost a year ago in April 2014. During the ensuing months, we removed all our 20+-year-old analog production and studio equipment from our control room, dismantled equipment racks, rerouted, replaced and upgraded electrical wiring, took down three walls to open up the space, installed new lighting and soundproofing, raised the floor to accommodate wiring for the new equipment and had the floor carpeted.

We are awaiting delivery of a second low power TV transmitter purchased through this USDA grant. The addition of this second transmitter, on channel 17, will provide the community of Bethel with a total of eight free, over the air digital TV channels.  One channel on this transmitter will broadcast programming locally produced by KYUK. A second channel will broadcast UATV, a programming service of the University of Alaska- Fairbanks produced by our partner station KUAC-TV. UATV programming includes the First Nations Experience Television Network (FNX). The FNX network distributes programming by and about Native Americans from KVNR-TV, a public station in San Bernardino, California. The two remaining channels will be offered to the Lower Kuskokwim School District and to the City of Bethel for their programming use.

We are beginning the equipment procurement phase through this grant now, selecting equipment including a video server, automated program play out system, cameras and studio production and support equipment. When completed, this multimedia area will be able to provide programming over the air via our channel 15 and 17 low power transmitters and via broadband over the Internet. Our vision continues to be for KYUK to once again produce local program content in our community, for our community, our region and statewide while at the same time participating in the training of the next generation of digital media creators in the YK Delta and beyond. We will fulfill this vision in partnership with our region’s five school districts offering a state of the art digital production center for real world, hands on multimedia training for our local students.  Our measure of success for this project continues to be the extent to which we can involve the community and the five regional school districts in this project in sustainable and long-term ways.

Finally, our statewide television partnership with Alaska Public Media in Anchorage and KTOO-TV in Juneau successfully completed its second year of operation in 2014. It is through this partnership that KYUK-TV is able to provide a full PBS program stream to our community along with other relevant public programming like 360North and Gavel Alaska during the legislative session.   Although KYUK is not capable of providing locally produced programming to the statewide service at the present time while we are rebuilding our digital capacity, when we complete this project we will become a more active program provider in this shared TV service.

We are in a rebuilding period that will continue for the next twelve to eighteen months that will bring KYUK-TV into the digital era so that we can continue to provide public media services to our community as we have done since 1972.

Each year KYUK Radio, like all public radio stations across the country, receives substantial financial support from the Federal government through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting- CPB.

In order to comply with the requirements of our CPB grants, each year we produce a report that describes the local content and services we have provided to our community during the previous year. This report is submitted to CPB and also must be posted on our station website.

This year I also want to present here some of the highlights of our local radio services both on the air and on line for 2014.

In 2014 KYUK 640 AM radio broadcast a total of 8,765 hours of programming. Of this total close to 600 hours was original programming. We broadcast over 4,000 hours of music, over 3,200 hours of news and public affairs, over 700 hours of arts and cultural programming and over 250 hours of sports programming including high school wrestling, basketball and the Kuskokwim 300 Sled Dog Race.

In addition to our regularly scheduled programs like Talk Line, Yuk To Yuk, Wellness Wednesday, basketball coverage and the Birthday Call-in show, some special programs of interest during in 2014 included:

  • Live broadcast of the Debates for the State: US Senate & US House
  • Live broadcast of the Yupiit Nation fisheries management meeting.
  • Live call-in program on Kuskokwim King Salmon management.
  • Live broadcast of YKHC’s annual Tribal Gathering.
  • Live broadcast of the grand opening of the YK Aquatic Fitness and Training Center.
  • Live broadcast of the YKHC Behavioral Health Conference.
  • Live studio performances and interviews with Alaskan folk artists Hobo Jim and Emma Hill.
  • Halloween & Christmas stories by John Active.
  • Live broadcast of the Bethel City Council Candidates Forum.
  • Live coverage of the AFN Convention.
  • Live coverage of two BRHS wrestling tournaments.
  • Live broadcast of AVCP’s 50th anniversary convention.
  • A live interview with a Veterans Affairs representative on obtaining VA benefits.
  • Live broadcast of the Yupiit Nation fisheries management meeting.
  • Live call-in program on Kuskokwim King Salmon management.
  • Live broadcast of YKHC’s annual Tribal Gathering.

We continue to regularly broadcast in the Yup’ik language as we have done since KYUK signed on the air in 1971.   In addition to the one-hour per week Yup’ik language talk/call in program, Yuk To Yuk, we added a second hour long Yup’ik language program featuring respected elders discussing a variety of topics of interest and value to our Yup’ik audience. Topics in 2014 included subsistence hunting and fishing rights, conservation of declining King Salmon, the political process and government involvement, tribal sovereignty, education, health care, substance abuse prevention, suicide prevention, elder care, child welfare, ANSCA issues, environmental issues and Yup’ik language and cultural preservation and enhancement.

In partnership with the Ayaprun Elitnauviat Yup’ik immersion school, we started producing a Yup’ik word of the week segment airing three times a day. We also continue to produce newscasts in the Yup’ik language three time a day every weekday and post these newscasts to our website daily.

During the election season we broadcast a special program in both Yup’ik and English providing information and explanations on all the ballot initiatives. We also broadcast in both Yup’ik and English a Bethel city council candidates forum and a debate on the marijuana ballot initiative.

We continue to broadcast Native America Calling to keep our Alaska Native community engaged in and informed about issues, topics and problems discussed nationally across Indian Country.

In keeping with our mission to “educate, stimulate, inform and provide cultural enrichment and public access”, our goal is to be the community convener, providing platforms, both on air and on line, for the dissemination of information, for dialog, discussion and debate, to offer opportunities for education and to be a point of access for resources related to the issues, problems and values of importance and interest to our community.

We do this through announcements of events, conferences, workshops and the location of available resources. We make extensive use of public service announcements in both English and Yup’ik produced with our community partners that identify resources, provide education and advice, promote healthy living and strengthen families and cultural values. We coordinate these public outreach efforts with our news reporting to broaden public awareness and response to these issues. We offer opportunities for direct community interaction through the production of long form live talk/call in programs in both Yup’ik and English that provide opportunities for the community to address their concerns, questions and comments directly to experts, educators, to their elected government representatives, to federal and state natural resource managers, health care and legal professionals, business and industry leaders and to interact with elders and tradition bearers. We broadcast, webcast and link to our website special conventions and conferences that focus on topics of importance to our listeners in the YK Delta.

We partner with a broad cross section of local, regional and state organizations including Bethel Search and Rescues, YKHC, TWC, the Alaska Children’s Trust, public safety and law enforcement, AVCP, KuC, LKSD, ONC and many more.

The key initiatives we undertook with our partners in 2014, and will continue to undertake into the future, include health and wellness, natural resources, workforce development and employment, education, local/state/federal government, regional social and economic development, public safety, domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse and neglect prevention, early childhood development and Yup’ik traditional values, language and culture.

It’s our supporters, listeners like you, through your financial contributions, your encouragement and your trust and confidence in KYUK that motivates us to work as hard as we can each year to bring you news, information, education, cultural enrichment and entertainment of value to you both now and into the future. Thank you.

The full 2014 KYUK Radio Local Content and Service Report is available on the About page of our website under Reports.