After being at the helm of KVNF Radio for 10 years, Sally Kane knows it's time to move on to other challenges. As station manager, then general manager and executive director, she has guided the community radio station through a successful capital improvement campaign.
Kane's first exposure to KVNF began when her mother, Maggie Dessain, was one of the original members of the founding steering committee that established KVNF in 1978. The following year, KVNF was broadcasting. Dessain was the president of the board.
"When you look at the articles of incorporation at that time, it's my mother's signature," Kane said.
Carl Clay was Kane's high school principal and encouraged her and others on the speech team to become involved with KVNF. It was a great foothold into radio. The station had Kane and her classmates do an hour program. She learned how to cue up the vinyl and use her performing artist talents. The station was located in the Bear's Theater.
Seventeen years later she would return to Paonia with her husband and kids and to KVNF. It seemed that she and the station were destined for each other as she looked at the original documents with her mother's signature.
During her time away, KVNF had grown some, but was in need of new facilities. In 2000, she indicated her interest to serve on the station's board. By 2004, she became the station manager to lead a capital campaign. KVNF needed to address its infrastructure and its facility. Because of her childhood roots she understood the community. Because of her connection with the early founders of the radio station, she provided continuity in relationship building. "I think that was a big piece in being successful with that," she said.
It was also the right time concerning the economy.
"It was a bountiful time economically. We really could go out and raise generous donations from folks. ... We also had federal dollars that were available through the National Telecommunications, it's called PTFP [The Public Telecommunications Facilities Program]," Kane said.
KVNF moved into it's new facilities in the renovated Belmont Building. Then in 2008 the economy bottomed out.
With the economic downturn, managing the station's resources became more challenging.
KVNF has survived the hard times. "I consider it really a feather in the cap of the real hardworking staff [and] the amazing board. KVNF has always had just extraordinary dedication from its volunteers. They love their radio station," she observed.
In the last year, Kane was tapped to serve on a panel reviewing the CPB grant program.
"I learned a lot about how Public Broadcasting System was established and what kind of problems it was facing," she said. "I started to get more and more interested in the system as a whole and how we could make sure that our First Amendment rights continued to be valued on a grassroots level in our country. I'm just on fire about it."
Something was birthed in her spirit when Kane was in Washington, D.C. for a meeting. She was to make a presentation before the CPB board.
"I was just struggling with how hard it is to keep it all going and to keep making your case when you start seeing that 70 percent of your time is about the fund-raising. What's left for the program? . . . And that's where my heart is. I was just thinking, 'Why do we do it?' as I was wandering around D.C., taking a picture of a cherry tree blooming, kind of in this quandary and I looked up and find I'm in front of the Newseum. It's got the headlines of every paper around the world in the front everyday. [When] you look up, engraved on the front of the building in huge letters is the First Amendment of our Constitution. I thought it was a sign. I was feeling like, 'Why do we do it?' And I looked up and I saw the First Amendment and said to myself, 'This is why.' We don't have a democracy without that. And when you consolidate ownership of media in the hands of so few, you do lose truly the practice of the First Amendment. People think it is all about saying whatever the heck you want, whenever you want, but it isn't. It's about dissent. It's about voices for the voiceless. It's about standing up for the underdog. That's what our country is built upon ... An independent press is the only thing that still has its feet on the ground in touch with grassroots ordinary American experience."
So a fire was lit inside Kane to move forward on the national stage as an advocate for rural areas and as a representative for the independent media that is left in rural areas.
"It's a big risk I'm taking actually. But I did feel my work at KVNF is done. I can't explain how but I just felt it," Kane said. "But it has rewarded me a thousand-fold ... I just have that sense that what I began has been completed and it's time now to do something different."blog comments powered by Disqus