KRVS kicks off annual fundraiser: Q&A with Dave Spizale

by Leslie Turk

Dedicated to the promotion of local artists, musicians, and the magnificent florescence of our people and region, listener-supported KRVS FM 88.7 launched its annual fundraiser Monday.

Radio station KRVS 88.7 FM Monday launched its annual fundraiser, which continues until April 17. Dedicated to the promotion of area artists, musicians, and the magnificent florescence of our people and region, listener-supported KRVS is one of a handful of locally owned and operated stations in this region. We sat down with General Manager David Spizale to catch up on the latest at the UL-based station.

I: What is the goal for the spring fundraiser?
DS: The goal is $50,000 and a 10% increase in membership.

I: What is the annual budget of KRVS?
DS: KRVS' 2010 independent audit (period ending 06-30-2010) calculated $643,939 in direct revenue.

I: How much of KRVS' budget comes from local fundraisers?
DS: Approximately 25 percent of the annual budget is obtained through on-air fundraisers.

I: Where does the rest of the budget come from?
DS: The remaining sources include UL Lafayette, corporate underwriters, local, state, and federal matching grants.

I: How many people are on staff with KRVS?  
DS: KRVS employs six full-time staff. We also have approximately 25 volunteers who work with KRVS, mainly during fundraising marathons and special events. We currently have 17 paid producers and six to eight volunteer producers.

I:  What is the relationship of KRVS to the university?
DS: KRVS is a department of UL Lafayette and is licensed by the Federal Communications Commission to the university as a non-commercial, educational facility. The station broadcasts at 100,000 watts on 88.7 FM and streams all programming worldwide via About 650,000 Louisiana residents have access to KRVS' on-air terrestrial signal.

I: Are UL students involved in the station?
DS: Approximately 20 students per semester receive academic credit through their participation in the broadcast journalism course. Five to six students are also paid as part-time assistants in the areas of development, administration and engineering.

I: How much of the programming is local?
DS: 90 percent of KRVS' programming is produced locally.

I: How much from other sources and where?
DS: 5 percent of our programming comes from NPR in the form of programs such as "All Things Considered," "NPR World of Opera," "Morning Edition," "Fresh Air" and "This American Life." The remaining 5 percent is acquired from the British Broadcasting Company, Public Radio International, American Public Media and Public Radio Exchange.

I: How do the possible cuts in the budget of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and/or NPR affect KRVS?
DS: I feel that it is important, at this point, not to speculate on possible cuts. No cuts have been finalized and/or absolutely implemented; every proposal is and has been very granular.

I: How does the resignation of the CEO of NPR affect KRVS?
DS: Since some individuals confuse our station with the umbrella term NPR, the recent events at NPR have not helped, but most listeners to KRVS know that we are more dedicated to "All Things Local." NPR is a separate production organization, and KRVS has no influence over their staffing decisions. Again, our association with NPR represents about 5 percent of our weekly schedule

I: What's on the horizon for KRVS?
DS: KRVS is now assisting in the development of a Radio Reading Service for the blind and print-impaired by using "sub-carrier" technologies to transmit "talking books," newspaper advertisements and social service information. The station is also keen on making our programming available on all relevant platforms and embracing digital technologies to better serve our audience in providing what they want - when they want it - and on their device of choice. Our website,, is very popular with those accessing podcasts, and we are continually looking for ways to harden the infrastructure of our facility, i.e., emergency generators, back-up transmitters, etc.

I: Local news on KRVS?
DS: In addition to the academic class production of "Louisiana Focus," KRVS is actively involved in Gulf Watch, a consortium of seven stations along the coast to constantly monitor and file news reports on continuing stories dealing with the BP oil spill. On you can access the news button and navigate to KRVS Local and listen to the stories that have been filed thus far.

I: Where do your listeners come from?
DS: Twelve parishes are covered by KRVS' terrestrial signal. People tune into our podcasts from all over the country and world, including the most from Canada, the UK and France at the top of the list internationally, and domestically the most listeners after Louisiana are from Washington State, Texas, Georgia, Michigan and New Jersey.

I: What would you like Independent readers to know about KRVS?
DS:Following the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 was initiated to provide a voice for diverse music, culture and in-depth reporting that is largely ignored or not economically feasible for mainstream broadcasters. KRVS began broadcasting in 1963 and is uniquely positioned in southwest Louisiana to present the rich culture, language, music and spirit of our service area. "RVS" signifies the "Radio Voice of Southwestern." Thirty-two thousand listeners tune into KRVS each week. In addition to local fundraising, KRVS' grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting are used in part to produce and acquire [the previously mentioned NPR programs, as well as] "The Blues Box," "Zydeco est pas Sale,'" "Rendez-Vous des Cajun," "From The Top," "Bonjour Louisiane," "Born on the Bayou," "BBC News Hour" and "American Routes." On the national scene,  the total appropriation for CPB (including radio and TV) amounts to "one three-thousandth of 1 percent of the federal budget." (170 million Americans use Public Broadcasting each week).

I: What needs does the station have that this fundraiser will help support?
DS: Increasing expenses are a reality in today's economy. As such, all of the costs involved with our operation continue to escalate. We need to increase our capacity to record and feature local musicians, scholars, folklorists and the traditional, indigenous mores of south Louisiana. Additionally, our participation in the news special "Gulf Watch" has rekindled our interest in reporting on topics that help improve and enrich the lives of southwest Louisiana residents.

I: Why should people support KRVS?
DS: People should support KRVS because the station is dedicated to localism and is a vital source of diverse news and entertainment programming.

Click here to pledge or call toll free: 1-800-892-6827 or 337-482-KRVS (482-5787).