Facing a $100,000 loss in federal funding this fiscal year, KBYU is searching for alternative ways to bring in revenue, including looking for more donations from members and more funding from the university.
KBYU and other public television and radio stations are finding new ways to juggle their budgets as $285.6 million worth of budget cuts take place over the next five years.
“We’ve had to take cuts across the board to make up for the loss in funding,” said John Rhyme, general manager of KBYU. KBYU is looking for ways to balance the budget, including soliciting more money from donors and catering to different departments in the university.
“We anticipated these budget cuts over a year ago when we eliminated five full-time positions, so we’re not in bad shape,” Rhyme said. Most of the jobs cut were “reduced to student positions.
“I’m now working 20 hours a week doing the job someone used to work full-time and be making $40,000 a year at,” said John Bateman, KBYU production manager and a senior from Provo majoring in broadcasting.
The budget cuts haven’t really affected his job, but the full-time employees are under a lot more pressure, Bateman said.
KBYU’s membership department has been significantly affected by the cuts. KBYU is depending on $800,000 from membership donations this year, Paxman said.
“We’re working on building a major donor program which we have not had in the past,” Rhyme said.
KBYU has had to rely more on volunteers, many of whom come through a base of friends to KBYU. Volunteers are members of the community who volunteer their time, and many of them can’t contribute financially, said Laura Brockbank, membership director for KBYU.
While working hard to maintain the quality of their programming, KBYU is also looking for ways to raise revenue by altering their format and by soliciting more funding from the university.
KBYU is making a change to be more community-oriented and aligned with the university, Paxman said.
“We are doing more to export the university to the community,” Brockbank said. This includes airing events like Education Week, which KBYU received an overwhelming, positive response to.
Long-distance learning, extending the university through satellite, expanding the Self-Study programs and working with the Alumni Association are some of the other ways KBYU is helping extend the university system to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints church members, Paxman said.
KBYU is exploring the possibility of expanding the Blue and White Network, Paxman said. The Blue and White Network is a broadcast service set up between KBYU and KSL that syndicates BYU sports programming.
“We are also looking for ways to cover more on-campus events,” Paxman said.
Although KBYU has managed the loss in funding so far, the future of funding for public broadcasting is still uncertain.
How much funding KBYU will lose in the future will depend on the makeup of this year’s Congress, Rhyme said. If the Newt Gingrich-led Republicans have control, there could be more budget cuts ahead.
Regardless of future cuts, the student programs at KBYU will remain strong.
“I really respect John Rhyme, the general manager, because he has emphasized that this program is here for students and they come first,” Bateman said.
“We are keenly interested in helping students learn,” Rhyme said. “This is an opportunity to teach and help people decide what they want to do with their future,” he said.
Carmen Durland/Daily Universe
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