Facing a significant budget shortfall due to state funding reductions, the Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC) District Board of Education will consider a proposal to transfer the operation of Portland's only all-jazz station, KMHD (89.1 FM), to Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) effective July 1. Under the proposal, MHCC would continue to own the station, while OPB would take over programming, operational and fundraising responsibilities.
MHCC President John J. "Ski" Sygielski said the board of education will give serious consideration at its April 8 meeting to this proposed partnership with OPB. A decision is expected at the May 13 board meeting.
"This partnership would give KMHD the best opportunity to thrive in the future," Sygielski said.
"OPB's intention is to continue to operate KMHD as a jazz station. With a current audience of about 100,000 listeners, we believe that the station can attract an even wider audience through increased promotion and higher visibility to OPB's 1.5 million viewers and listeners," said OPB's president and CEO, Steve Bass. No changes in programming or on-air hosts are planned before July 1.
"At this time, we expect to receive at least $4 million less from the state in 2009-10, with further cuts anticipated beyond next year, so transferring KMHD's operations to OPB is one of the areas where we can reduce costs without compromising a music institution that is important to the College and the community," Sygielski noted.
Sygielski, who became MHCC's president in July 2008, has expanded the College's outreach and visibility. "I see this proposed partnership with OPB as providing significant benefits to Mt. Hood Community College in terms of increased visibility and internship opportunities for College students, while allowing us to redirect scarce resources into our academic programs," he said.
Under the proposal, MHCC would receive on-air sponsorship credits and recognition on both KMHD and OPB. OPB would be responsible for all operational costs, eliminating the need for the College to subsidize the station with taxpayer funds.
The proposal calls for OPB to originate programming for KMHD from OPB's studios on S.W. Macadam Ave., near downtown Portland. OPB's central location is expected to draw more event and fundraiser attendees as well as to shorten commutes for many of the volunteer on-air hosts. The station's call letters and city of license (Gresham) would not change and would be identified hourly on the air.
OPB is the state's most far-reaching and accessible media resource, providing free access to programming for children and adults. Our programming is designed to give voice to community, connect Oregon and its neighbors and illuminate a wider world. Every week, over 1.5 million people tune in to or log on to OPB's television, radio and Internet services. As the hub of operations for the state's Emergency Broadcast and Amber Alert services, OPB serves as the backbone for the distribution of critical information to broadcasters and homes throughout Oregon. OPB is one of the largest producers and presenters of national television programming through PBS, and is also a member station of NPR, Public Radio International (PRI), and American Public Media (APM). The OPB Web site is opb.org.
Serving more than 26,000 students each year, Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC) provides students the education needed for the career of their choice. MHCC offers more than 60 associate and certificate programs in a wide variety of disciplines as well bachelor's degrees through partnerships with area four-year institutions. Classes are offered at several locations – the Gresham Campus, the Maywood Park Campus and the Bruning Center for Allied Health Education in Gresham.
MHCC is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). You may contact the NWCCU at 8060 165th Ave. N.E., Suite 100, Redmond, Wash. 98052-1981. MHCC does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, veteran status, political affiliation or disability in its programs or activities.