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Message From the GM – April 2024

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

Flotation Device Interview with Mat Maneri

Mat Maneri by Antonio Porcar Cano

Mat Maneri is one of the few prominent jazz musicians to make the viola his primary instrument. He joined Flotation Device host Michael Schell to talk about his music, including his Ash Quartet’s upcoming Earshot Jazz performance at Cornish Raisbeck Auditorium on Monday, October 30 (tickets and info at

Hear more of Mat Maneri’s music Sunday night at 10:00 PM on Flotation Device.

Flotation Device Interview with Melvin Gibbs of Harriet Tubman

Flotation Device host Michael Schell recently interviewed Melvin Gibbs of music collective Harriet Tubman. Harriet Tubman performs Friday, October 27 at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute during this years Earshot Jazz Festival!


“Founded in 1998, the New York-based power trio Harriet Tubman embraces freedom as its governing principle, as evinced by its name and its seamless interweaving of soul, rock, jazz and avant-garde elements. Bassist Melvin Gibbs joined Flotation Device host Michael Schell to talk about the band’s upcoming Earshot Jazz performance at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute on Friday, October 27 (tickets and info at”

KBCS In-Studio with Cooper Stoulil

A mighty fine in-studio with Cooper Stoulil. We chatted about creating memorable melodies, how our limitations can often be creative gifts, and a lovely thought that the aboutness of art can sometimes miss the whole point. Embrace the abstract, the feeling, the moment. 

KBCS In-Studio with Andrew Duhon

Andrew Duhon stopped by the KBCS studio on Wednesday, October 4th and we had a terrific conversation about PNW logging roads, how walking in a circle may not take you back to where you started from and being inspired by nature in songwriting as both metaphor and our place within in it. That took us to chatting about kudzu which took us to poems by Robert Frost and James Dickey and even a choice Henry David Thoreau quote from Self Reliance. C’mon now!

You can hear the interview plus 3 live songs above!

KBCS In-Studio with Paula Boggs Band

We were thrilled to have Paula Boggs Band return to the KBCS Studio for an in-studio performance. Paula and KBCS Music Director, Iaan Hughes, talked about her latest album Janus, and as the album title might imply, delved into beginnings and transitions. Janus is a personal and potent album pulling from Paula’s own history, yet through her exceptional songcraft the music comes alive for all of us in profound ways.

Paula Boggs Band performs Friday, June 2, 2023 at the Triple Door in Seattle!

KBCS In-Studio with Tuck & Patti

Genre crushing duo Tuck & Patti stopped by the KBCS studio before their show at Jazz Alley for a wide ranging conversation about musical partnerships, early influences, covering Cyndi Lauper, and how music is community; it was all really quite lovely.

Oh! They also played 3 songs live, plus Tuck showed Iaan Hughes what a 13#11th chord, and Patti stunned with a few a cappella bars of “High Heel Blues!”

KBCS In-studio with Willy Tea Taylor

We spent a nice Friday afternoon hanging out with Willy Tea Taylor this past Friday listening to his tough but tender songs, talking about the lost art of the knuckleball, why he plays tenor guitar, and a shared love for Jim Harrison books.

KBCS In-Studio with This Girl

KBCS Music Director, Iaan Hughes, sat down with This Girl to chat about Diva Ranch: A Country Drag Show at the Tractor Tavern on April 16th. This conversation goes everywhere from country music as Drag performance, to the silliness of Kid Rock shooting beer cans, to the multiple laws being written to ban Drag performances around the country, to the beauty and art of Iris DeMent. They also played a lot of music as This Girl stormed the airwaves, including:

Gretchen Wilson’s “Redneck Woman”

Yola’s “Faraway Look”

Patsy Cline’s “Leavin’ On Your Mind”

Dolly Parton’s “Just Because I’m a Woman”

The Chicks’ “Cowboy Take Me Away”

Iris DeMent’s “Let the Mystery Be”

LeAnn Rimes’ “Blue”

Pam Tillis’ “Maybe It Was Memphis”

Conway Twitty & Loretta Lynn’s “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man”

Kacey Musgraves’ “Follow Your Arrow”

KBCS In-Studio with Mama’s Broke

Amy Lou Keeler and Lisa Maria, the wonderful Eastern Canadian duo that is Mama’s Broke stopped by the KBCS studio on Monday, April 3rd to chat with music director Iaan Hughes. They talked about love as both briar and rose, song cycles, and going beyond traditional covers when working with old ballads like “Barbara Allen.” They also performed 3 songs! You can hear it here!

Catch them live tonight, Friday, April 7, when they perform at Conor Byrne Pub in downtown Ballard!