Since 1975, KOTO has provided the Telluride region with high-quality, commercial-free, non-underwritten community radio. Listener-supported KOTO’s radio mission is to entertain, educate, and inform while reflecting the needs, desires, and diversity of our community.
A MESSAGE FROM THE SMEF BOARD
Much has been written about KOTO, the San Miguel Educational Board of Directors and the executive director over the past several months. In a perfect world this would be based on a true passion for community radio and the desire to discuss programming, or the desire for constructive community dialogue. We don’t live in a perfect world – sometimes the world we live in is far more interested in a story than facts.
KOTO has three assets that are equally vital to our survival – our 501c3 status, our FCC license and our membership. All three were components of recent decisions to focus KOTO resources on radio programming versus special events. We have specific obligations that must be met to satisfy requirements of those assets and we can’t compromise or place the wants/needs of one over the other.
For fiscal year 2014 KOTO has already secured over $147,000 for programming. We anticipate this number will rise over the course of the year with additional grants and funding. The approved draft budget projects that special events will bring in $80,000. A successful not-for-profit must have a balanced funding stream to insure survival if one avenue of funding goes south. KOTO is working to reduce risks, diversify funding streams and condense expenses.
KOTO is cognizant of its place in Telluride culture and it is an honor to share the history of special events we do with past and current Telluridians. KOTO will still hold our signature events like Lip Sync and Ski Swap. KOTO is exploring options to host The End of the Season Street Dance and Halloween party but we need to secure partners to defray the expenses and eliminate any financial liability to the radio station. The KOTO Duck Race has always been under the auspice of our esteemed Jerry Bonafiglio, AKA Ben Kerr, and it is slated for August 1, 2014. The Ride is a partnership with Telluride Productions, with KOTO holding the contract with the Town of Telluride. KOTO is responsible for specific contractual obligations with the town and holds the liquor license for the event. For the first time KOTO will generate revenue off of 100% of beer sales and tips at the beer booth in July 2014. Hope to see you at the Town Park.
The SMEF boards of directors have spent countless hours over the past several years evaluating the current operational system. An independent consultant was brought in to conduct an objective assessment of all things KOTO in 2011. The results of that effort illustrated the need to proactively implement change across the board before it was “too late” for KOTO. The SMEF board has utilized the consultant’s report as a foundation for discussion and self-evaluation. Decisions made were done thoughtfully, with all of the information at hand and in the best short- and long-term interests of KOTO.
The current staff has elevated the entire operation to a level not seen in years. Thanks to staff, we are seeing great news reporting, new public affairs programs, a better fundraising model, fantastic team work, top-notch music programming, new and exciting grants, bigger donors, excited listeners and more positive feedback than we have received in a decade.
KOTO staff and DJs are excited to launch our upcoming on-air Winter Fund Drive. We’re planning an eight-day week of lively programming, all your favorite DJs, daily prizes and a diverse array of guests from our community. We first took the new fundraising model for a spin last summer and were gratified with its success. Most importantly, you, our listeners and supporters, let us know how much you liked the new format. In just five days and 40 hours this community supported community radio at the rate of $1000 an hour. With additional donations, we easily achieved our $50,000 goal. We’re so grateful for your support and hope to hear from you beginning next Wednesday, March 12th.
Lastly, board members have dedicated a considerable amount of volunteer time toward guiding KOTO through the waters of change. We do this as a community service to benefit not only KOTO but also the Telluride community. The SMEF board of directors collectively has decades of experience and devotion for KOTO. We stand by our executive director and our decisions to restructure KOTO and move into the future as fiscally responsible stewards of KOTO community radio.