KOOP’s Volunteer & Events Coordinator Max Yancy is one busy guy these days, as the station prepares to re-start live broadcasting. I spoke with him on August 10.
Michael A. Brown: First things first … please bring us up to date on the station’s plans to reopen on August 23.
Max Yancy: Even with the rise of the delta variant, we do intend to open as safely as possible on that day. Programmers will be able to return to broadcast their shows live with great safety protocols in place or continue pre-recording at home. We want everyone to feel safe.
MAB: What are you and our volunteers doing to prepare?
Max: Inside the station, we’ve repainted all the walls and will be adding some new decorations. And nice new chairs, too! There’s a new hybrid phone system that lets you have multiple callers while you’re on the air. And there’s WebDAD, the new software program that was featured in programmer re-training. We’re also getting the schedule set, identifying which shows will be going live and which will continue as pre-records. That’s so everything lines up correctly in Playout.
MAB: What did we learn about recruiting and onboarding volunteers during the remote-only era that will be applicable going forward?
Max: One thing I learned is that because the lifeblood of KOOP is bringing new people in, we should continue to recruit even when things are not ideal, like in a pandemic. So we switched to Zoom orientations, which made volunteering more accessible. We created volunteer teams to match the stated and likely interests of both present and new volunteers, and which can be fully remote.
MAB: What is the station doing to attract new volunteers, listeners, and members from under-represented communities?
Max: The Community Council and the Racial Justice Subcommittee have been working hard to make that happen via outreach initiatives. We’re always trying to get the word out and branch out as much as we can.
MAB: What sorts of in-person community events are “in the works” for when we’re broadcasting live again?
Max: We’ll be doing DJ events through the fall … masked and socially distanced of course. We want to get outdoors and into the community. If the covid stages permit, we expect to be tabling at various events this fall. We really want to meet our community where they are.
MAB: Finally, do you expect that KOOP station meetings for September 6 and beyond will remain via Zoom or will we be seeking a new venue for in-person meetings?
Max: We’ll likely be on Zoom through the end of the year. But I do have a few venues in mind for when we can meet in-person again. Sadly, the Moose Lodge where we used to meet is closed, so if you have any possible venue suggestions, please let me know. (I do! Perhaps the new city-owned pavilion at Branch Park in Mueller, about one mile from KOOP.)
Interview by Michael A. Brown