Despite a week of coronavirus related cancellations and postponements, including KBGA college radio’s final “Radiothon” fundraiser events, one UM grad student said the station is already planning a way forward.
“We’re thinking ‘LaterAThon.’ Isn’t that cute?” said Amanda Barr, the outreach and volunteer coordinator at KBGA. “We’re not done.”
Radiothon, which features a week of events ranging from record swaps to trivia nights, has served as the station’s primary fundraiser for years.
However, the rising threat of COVID-19 prompted the Montana University System to cancel group gatherings. KBGA was forced to end the fundraiser early, postponing its “EndOfThon” concert at the ZACC until further notice.
“The plan right now is to continue it in the fall,” Barr said. “Several of the bands that were supposed to play at EndOfThon are in for doing it. They’re all local and fantastic.”
KBGA started this year’s Radiothon with a fundraising goal of $20,000. Even without EndOfThon, Barr said the station still managed to fundraise a little over $5,000.
“We did make what we think is a pretty decent amount,” Barr said.
Barr said the station is offering training for its crew of volunteer DJs to broadcast remotely as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve. With the University’s shift to online classes, KBGA DJ Robert Hylbom said the station’s office will be closed for at least two weeks.
However, he said he’s set on continuing his Monday show, “Classics on Plastics.”
“I don’t like going a week without my show,” Hylbom said. He said he’ll be learning how to remote broadcast to keep it going.
According to Hylbom, EndOfThon is the station’s biggest Radiothon event, and its cancellation reaffirmed KBGA’s interest in expanding their fundraising efforts throughout the year, rather than focusing them on a single week.
Hylbom said spirits at KBGA remain high.
“Everyone’s talking bigger and better,” he said. “It’s not like this is the only thing being canceled.”
Hylbom said he was able to participate in the DJ Art and Music Showcase event on Friday. During the event, he said the station heard about Gov. Steve Bullock’s announcement that there were four positive tests for COVID-19 in Montana. The station decided to call off EndOfThon, which was scheduled for the next day.
“It’s unfortunate for sure,” Hylbom said. “But it’s definitely the right call. I think it sets a positive example. A lot of people are hopeful we can make something even bigger and better.”
Barr said the station is hard at work planning for future fundraising. It is considering expanding KBGA’s “Birthday Bash” this fall to include additional fundraising efforts. For now, she said she’s thankful for what the station has accomplished — especially without its biggest event.
“We actually did fairly well,” Barr said. “People still really stepped up and supported us, and we’re grateful for that.”