KUNM remodels, raises funds
By Carolyn Gonzales
KUNM 89.9 FM operates in a 44-year-old, 10,000 sq. ft. student dormitory. Because of cramped and antiquated studio space, the station is unable to expand new and local programming. Efficiency and collaboration operations are limited – as is the number of volunteers and students who can be accommodated.
|Arthur "Curly" Welsh, long-time Albuquerque realtor, recently donated an old Philco radio to KUNM. Purchased secondhand after Pearl Harbor because he wanted to access to international broadcasts, Welsh said the radio can pick up the BBC and ships at sea. "We are pleased to have the radio for KUNM's remodeled facility. We will be able to take advantage of its capabilities because we have equipped Onate Hall, our building, with a short wave antenna," said Richard Towne, KUNM general manager. Photo by Carolyn Gonzales.
Richard Towne, general manager, is looking to change all that.
“Through our remodel, we will double our news production space, enhance our ability to offer community collaborations like Youth Radio, create a functional music library and create a fourth studio to create more local programming and services,” he said.
Other benefits of the remodel include expanding local voice and cultural reporting, enhanced sound/fidelity, new community meeting spaces and improved accommodations for volunteers, guests and staff with disabilities.
“We will also have the capacity to expand to digital broadcasting,” Towne said, which will make KUNM one of the state’s first digital radio stations.
Estimated costs for the project are $650,000. “The first phase, totaling $350,000, is completely funded,” Towne said. The second phase, coming in at $300,000, is scheduled for completion by December 2004.
To help cover the costs, KUNM has received a $100,000 challenge grant from the Lannan Foundation. “The goal is to raise $125,000 from business foundations, faculty and friends. Public radio is dependent upon its friends to help KUNM earn the Lannan Foundation challenge,” Towne said.
The other $75,000 will be raised, Towne said, from KUNM listeners. “Our hope is that they will give over and above their annual gifts,” he said.
The McCune Foundation is a KUNM supporter.
“Why did the McCune Foundation give? Because our funds have always been wisely stewarded and effectively managed. And, because KUNM is an organization of the highest quality and integrity,” said Owen Lopez, executive director, McCune Foundation.
KUNM serves nearly a million people in central and northern New Mexico with main studios on the UNM campus and news studios at the Roundhouse in Santa Fe.
|Spencer Beckwith, host of New Mexico Performance Today, and Barbara DeKims, a volunteer-in-training, work from a newly renovated broadcast studio at KUNM-FM. Photo by Greg Johnston.
Approximately 88,200 people tune in to KUNM each week for diverse news and music programming (source: Arbitron Diary Data, Spring 2004).