KPRG-FM 89.3 is the public radio broadcast station of the Guam Educational Radio Foundation. KPRG is licensed by the Federal Communications Commission to serve the public interest, convenience and necessity of the people on the island of Guam. KPRG is a high-quality news, information and entertainment service in a non-commercial environment. KPRG is a non-advocating entity with an obligation to give fair and impartial treatment to all sides of issues.
WHO IS KPRG?
KPRG is a non-profit, community-organized public radio station licensed to the Guam Educational Radio Foundation. Our organizational governance and staff are as follows:
Board of Trustees: Parker Van Hecke (Chair), Dr. Jaqui Cyrus, Jenevieve Sablan-Ooka, David Hopkins, Jason Vest and Sharleen Santos-Bamba. All of the preceding individuals are unpaid volunteers.
Staff: Chris Hartig, General Manager; R. C. Luzanta, Asst. General Manager; Lydia Taleu, Programming/Production Director; Geri Leon Guerrero, Development Executive; Robert "Bob" Wang, News Reader.
Inquires regarding the station or its governing body may be directed to us via email through our contacts page. Our Mailing address is KPRG, UoG Station, Mangilao, GU 96923.
KPRG 89.3 FM is on the Guam airwaves today thanks to the vision and hard work of the Founders:
Joanne F. Barta
George J. Boughton
George M. Butler
Culley J. Carson-Grefe
Bryant J. Reynolds
Donald R. Swanson
James J. Taylor
Hon. Robert Underwood
Michael C. Wilkins
C. Parker Van Hecke, Founding General Manager
KPRG: A BRIEF HISTORY
Compiled by Todd Thompson"Signing On"
It all began on the afternoon of January 28, 1994: "This is radio station K-P-R-G, 89.3 FM, Agana, currently operating under program test authority granted by the Federal Communications Commission, Washington, D.C., signing on." Thus began public radio broadcasting on Guam.
That might not seem like a long time ago until you stop to consider what else was going on back then.
The war in Bosnia was at its height.
President Clinton had just celebrated his first year in office.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was about to burst the "4000" barrier.
Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan were getting ready for a skating showdown at the Winter Olympics in Lillihammer, Norway.
E mail was a new-fangled tool used by few outside of the scientific and academic communities.
Only a privileged few had cellular phones or internet access.* Los Angeles was still recovering from a major earthquake which hit earlier in the month.
Guam was still recovering from its own earthquake, which had shaken the island just five months earlier, in August, 1993.
Guam had a serious tourism problem: Not a shortage of tourists, but a shortage of hotel rooms!
Governor Ada had encouraged the Guam Power Authority to bring almost daily "load-shedding" to end.
The world has come a long way since January, 1994; and so has KPRG.
The Early Days
When the station first began broadcasting, the programming consisted mainly of straight feeds from the satellite, with just a smattering of locally-produced shows (some of which are still going strong today). Unlike most stations, KPRG had no automated programming or switching equipment. Broadcasting was limited to hours when a station staff member or volunteer was present. Thus, for its first three years on the air, KPRGâ€™s broadcast day was limited to 18 hours.
In the summer of 1997, KPRG began broadcasting 24-hours daily. Since then, save for the odd typhoon, earthquake or power outage, KPRG has had a continuous presence on island radios.
Of course, the birth of KPRG had really taken place two years earlier, in 1992, when a group of educators and concerned citizens decided that the time had come for a public radio station on Guam. KPRG and its listeners owe a debt of thanks to KPRGâ€™s founders, Joanne Barta, George J. Boughton, George M. Butler, Ted Carroll, Culley Carson-Grefe, Michael J. McCarthy, Donald R. Swanson, Bryant J. Reynolds, James J. Taylor, Michael C. Wilkins and Hon. Robert Underwood.
The group formed the non-profit Guam Educational Radio Foundation in 1992 and hired C. Parker Van Hecke to direct the start-up phase of KPRG. The planning and implementation took more than one year; and KPRG became a reality when it took to the air with test authority in January of 1994. Parker stayed on as the station's first General Manager for the next two years; and his radio experience and vision put the new station on solid footing. Despite his many successes since 1994, Parker recently stated that he views launching KPRG as his proudest accomplishment to date. Kudos also go to Bob Kelly, who was instrumental in converting the dream of Guam public radio into a technological reality.
A "Technological Marvel"
Perhaps KPRGâ€™s greatest accomplishment is simply "being there." Over the years many had inquired about bringing public radio to Guam but were daunted by the technological challenges. One of the key objectives of bringing pubic radio to Guam was to provide NPRâ€™s excellent news programming features to local listeners on a "live" or "same day" basis. This would entail using either telephone lines (with poor and sometimes garbled audio quality) or satellites. Although satellite technology had been in use for years, Guam lied outside of the "footprint" of satellites feeding public radio programing to Mainland U.S. stations. This meant that a satellite signal would have to arrive on Guam via a double-satellite hop.
For more than a decade, the network programming you hear on KPRG was first beamed across the Mainland U.S. from Washington D.C. to Washington State, where the signal was received and then beamed to another satellite which had Guam in view. For many years, KPRG was the only station in the NPR family that received its programming through such a double-satellite arrangement, a situation which led former Morning Edition host Bob Edwards to dub KPRG a "technological marvel" of the network. Of course, the "marvelous" task of using and maintaining two satellites brought with it twice as much expense and twice as many opportunities for transmission problems.
Like most public radio stations these days, KPRG has generally had a hand-to-mouth existence. Money has always been tight. Like most such stations, KPRG depends upon funding from three primary sources, federal grants, listener contributions and local government support. Unfortunately for KPRG, the local government has had its share of hardships over the years, and for several years KPRG received no GovGuam funding at all. During these times, KPRGâ€™s financial situation has become dire. For most of its existence, the station has survived with a skeletal paid staff ranging from one to four members in strengthâ€“virtually unheard of for a station generating local programming content. Volunteer efforts and listener contributions have been essential to keeping programing on the air. But volunteers and listeners can only do so much.
In November 2000, the station came perilously close to shutting down for lack of funds. Network programming was discontinued because there were simply no funds available to pay rising satellite programming fees. In response to the situation, KPRG board members and volunteers got to work and managed to raise an unprecedented $60,000 during a 10-day membership drive. KPRG was saved. But the station has survived only by overcoming many trying times financially.
The Best May Be Yet To Come
With government and listener support, KPRG continues to look optimistically to the future. KPRG recently took advantage of advancing computer technology and replaced the old double-satellite link with a less costly and more flexible broadband connection. The move frees up the KPRG satellite dish to receive programming from other sources such as Radio Australia , in order to add a Pacific regional focus to KPRGâ€™s existing fare of news programming from NPR, BBC and other sources.