Emerging from financial troubles, WHQR searches for a station manager
April 13, 2010By Alison Lee Satake
After three major pledge drives that exceeded the station’s goals, local public radio station, WHQR, has raised enough to hire a new station manager.
The non-profit public radio station has been operating without an on-site manager for about 15 months and is being run by a volunteer board, said Jeff Hunter, WHQR board chairman.
The board eliminated the station’s top four positions and salaries including former station manager, John Milligan, in December 2008 to regain its financial footing.
With the help of an accountant on the board of directors, the station implemented a new, conservative cash flow model, Hunter said. “If the money comes in, then we can spend.” Only because the station raised about $200,000 during the spring 2009 pledge drive, exceeding its goal by about $25,000 and continued to exceed its fundraising markers in fall 2009 when it raised about $150,000 and $152,000 in the recent spring pledge drive, did the board approve hiring a new station manager, Hunter said.
Meeting its pledge goals did not guarantee that the board would have approved the new position, however, it guaranteed that the board would vote on the issue, he said. “We want to make sure that everything is in order,” he said.
A three-member search committee has been appointed, which will meet on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. They will set the salary and draft the job description. WHQR plans to launch a national search inside and outside public radio. The station hopes to have a station manager in place by July 15, two weeks into the new fiscal year, Hunter said.
He describes his ideal candidate as someone who has strong leadership, believes that public radio can be a community-building asset, can manage staff and is capable of raising money.
WHQR’s $1 million annual budget comes from about $355,000 in local business underwriting, $550,000 from individual donations including pledge drives and $100,000 from two grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Hunter said.