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Radio Survivor

Alaska’s unique geog­ra­phy and way-of-life leads to unique radio. Raven Radio is a pub­lic and com­mu­ni­ty sta­tion serv­ing the city of Sit­ka, along with sev­en oth­er small towns in South­east Alas­ka. The sta­tion is not just a source of news, music and cul­ture, but also a life­line for peo­ple liv­ing in remote com­mu­ni­ties where there may not even be cell service.

Becky Meiers moved from Port­land, Ore­gon and com­mu­ni­ty sta­tion KBOO to become gen­er­al man­ag­er of KCAW in fall of 2018. Paul made Sit­ka the last stop on his spring Alaskan vaca­tion to vis­it her at the sta­tion this past Memo­r­i­al Day week­end, tak­ing time for an inter­view. Becky explains why the sta­tion airs a mix of con­ven­tion­al pub­lic radio pro­gram­ming, like NPR’s Morn­ing Edi­tion,” along­side the kind of vol­un­teer-pro­duced pro­grams that one asso­ciates with com­mu­ni­ty radio.

Broad­cast­ing in a mar­ket with just two oth­er radio sta­tions, Raven Radio real­ly needs to be all things to all peo­ple” in a way that is demand­ed of few sta­tions in the low­er 48. While a tremen­dous respon­si­bil­i­ty, it also leads lis­ten­ers to learn how to use a sta­tion that doesn’t air the same pro­gram­ming 247, and to val­ue the resource. The expe­ri­ence of broad­cast­ing at KCAW informs take­aways about com­mu­ni­ty radio in gen­er­al that Becky shares with us.