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Message From the GM – April 2024

Man in a suit with trees in background Dana Buckingham KBCS GM

April 16, 2024 - 2:29 pm

Embracing Sustainability: A Necessity in Managing Successful Noncommercial Educational Radio

Dana Lee Buckingham, General Manager KBCS Radio

Dear KBCS Listeners and Listener Supporters,

As I mentioned in my newsletter last month, the ability to adapt and embrace change is not just beneficial—it is essential for nonprofit radio stations like KBCS. The need to embrace change is also true when it comes to sustainability. Having worked for both commercial and noncommercial radio stations for many years, along with my work as a corporate operations specialist for a Fortune 500 company, I am very cognizant of the need to be adaptable, innovative, and resilient to change in a competitive and ever evolving marketplace. And that holds true regardless of whether the business model is a commercial or noncommercial business.

As the General Manager of a large market noncommercial educational radio station, the relentless pursuit of funding is always a top priority for me and crucial to our station’s long-term survivability. Traditional nonprofit radio fundraising initiatives are based primarily on free-will donations from our listeners, grant funding, and business underwriting. Donations from our listeners and supporters are by far the largest source of operating funds for KBCS. However, among the many challenges our donors face today, inflation, high gas prices, and high-interest rates all place an added burden on our traditional station fundraising. A large segment of our core KBCS audience is represented by the working class and retirees who live on a fixed income and many of them are especially impacted by the uncertain economy and a polarized political divide.

Pursuing new fundraising and revenue stream initiatives is often frustrating with our limited resources and our complicated reporting and budgeting infrastructure. However, it is essential that we continue to manage all our operations for continuous improvement to better serve our listeners, and the college, and to further our commitment to greater diversity and a relentless pursuit of excellence in all that we do. That is why new sustainability initiatives are so important to our success. What follows are updates on our current and planned sustainability goals and initiatives at KBCS that I want to share with you.

Launch new broadcast revenue streams aimed at serving a different audience demographic than our flagship KBCS-FM-HD1: Our new World News Radio KBCS HD2 on-air broadcast and online stream features the worlds most trusted news source, the award-winning BBC World Service, in a live satellite feed from London as the base programming. This all news and public affairs stream also features programs of independent broadcast journalism from respected news sources from across the country and around the world. During the weekday evenings listeners can sit back, relax, and enjoy the nations and the world’s leading symphony and chamber music ensembles weekly broadcast series. Our World News Radio KBCS program stream also features the acclaimed LA Theater Works on Sunday evenings, a program featuring contemporary stage and screen actors performing impactful radio dramas including new radio plays as well as new versions of the old-time classics in radio drama and new original radio drama adaptations of great literature. This program is designed to reach a completely different audience base of potential new donors to KBCS. Recently our World News Radio KBCS HD2 broadcast stream launched a new website featuring a live program stream online at

  • We are also making plans to launch another alternative revenue stream that we are calling Bulldog Radio KBCS HD3. This broadcast stream will seek partnerships on campus that focus exclusively on Bellevue College events and may include live campus-based debates, a visiting speakers’ series, special guest lecturers on campus, live broadcasts of college athletics and other college related events and community outreach initiatives.

These new broadcast streams will require targeted and unique fundraising initiatives and marketing campaigns with separate donation pages, unique branding and logo designs and focused donor premiums and merchandise offerings.

Digital Fundraising Opportunities: We must explore new ways of capitalizing on digital fundraising technology through peer-to-peer fundraising, new online donation platforms, and expanded social media fundraising opportunities. We will be hiring a new full-time “Director of Broadcast Automation and Digital Media Technology” who will provide leadership and technical expertise in expanding our digital fundraising footprint and more fully integrating our station automation to achieve greater operating efficiencies resulting in significant cost savings.

Major Gifts ad Planned Giving Initiatives:  We will be exploring new and proven strategies for securing major gifts and planned giving commitments from individual donors through donor prospecting, cultivation mixers, and a legacy giving program through our existing KBCS Future Fund Endowment

Financial Sustainability: In addition to adopting a new budgeting process, our efforts will be directed at better cash flow forecasting through an expanded emphasis on our monthly sustainer giving program.

Corporate Partnerships: Many corporations are open to corporate partnerships with strategic nonprofit partners. These partnerships can lead to mutually beneficial relationships and related marketing opportunities.

Increased Marketing Initiatives: Effective Marketing strategies are critical to the success of nonprofits like KBCS. These marketing strategies help identify potential new supporters and the great programming offerings that KBCS has to offer. People cannot support our cause if they do not know that we exist. An effective marketing strategy includes increased awareness, clear objectives, a comprehensive content strategy including social media, digital advertising, blog posts, as well as videos, compelling infographics, and more structured, personalized, relatable, and focused email campaigns.

Sustainability initiatives for nonprofits like KBCS, are essential for our future growth and development. For over fifty years, KBCS has served Bellevue College and our community with an eclectic mix of programming that informs, educates, and entertains. As a large market college radio station with a community radio programming format, we provide the rare opportunity for local citizens and not just professional broadcasters to produce and host their own radio programs across the greater Puget Sound.

This is true democracy in action and is only possible when we all work together despite our individual differences to order to achieve a greater good. KBCS is a shared cultural tradition here in the Pacific Northwest that features diverse programming serving a very culturally diverse audience. We see our mission as celebrating our differences. The more we all know about the station, the stronger our village becomes. Please join with me and the many thousands of listeners that support KBCS with a regular monthly sustaining donation to the station. You can set up your monthly donation online anytime at

Again, thank you for your moral and financial support for Community Radio KBCS. Help us spread the word and feel free to reach out to me with any comments, concerns, or questions that you may have at


Dana Lee Buckingham

KBCS General Manager and Executive News Producer of World News Radio KBCS HD2

Man in a suit with trees in background
Dana Buckingham KBCS GM