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Update November 4, 2020: KTUH raised more than $40,000 during its 10-day Radiothon pledge drive. The funds will primarily be used for KTUH broadcast infrastructure, including a new antenna and transmitter. KTUH will also use some of the funds to renovate its live engineering room by installing new AV equipment, lighting and counters. Next year’s Radiothon will be in April 2021.

Original Story:

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s student-run radio station is set to kick off its largest fundraiser of the year, and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have made this year’s event more important than ever.

The annual Radiothon pledge drive encourages KTUH Honolulu listeners and fans to submit donations to support the station. KTUH also plans special programming on air during the pledge drive. However, the station, which features student and community member volunteers, is expecting a loss of revenue and COVID-19 restrictions have limited other in-person fundraising opportunities.

Promotion has also been challenging since foot traffic on the UH Mānoa campus has greatly reduced. KTUH has relied on online communication through social media channels.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has definitely put a wrench into plans because we would normally have booths set up at Campus Center where we would promote Radiothon to students passing by. We would also post flyers across campus,” said Desmond de Vera, KTUH marketing and development director.

Fundraising goals

person looking up records on a shelf

Radiothon 2020 runs October 2–11, on 90.1FM in Honolulu, 91.1FM on Oʻahu’s North Shore and streaming live on its website. Listeners may contribute tax-deductible donations by phone at (808) 956-5288, online on its website, and via mail or in-person (with social distancing measures) at its office in UH Mānoa’s Hemenway Hall.

KTUH General Manager Bjarne Bartlett said donations will go toward essential broadcast and production equipment.

KTUH is hoping to improve its essential broadcast infrastructure on 90.1 by purchasing a backup transmitter and on 91.1 by purchasing a new receive antenna and cable,” Bartlett said. “These upgrades will work in concert to provide better Oʻahu coverage during periods when the main transmitter is being serviced. KTUH has a studio room that is in urgent need of renovation—we planned a $25,000 renovation for this space to create a state-of-the-art digital media studio if we reach $34,000.”

More on Radiothon 2020

This year’s theme is “Musical Echoes,” which Bartlett said recognizes the station’s 50th anniversary in 2019.

“We wanted to have a theme that encouraged us to both reflect on 50 years of college radio at KTUH and explore new music,” Bartlett said. “Our theme also needed something that was not restrictive, because the KTUH DJs are endlessly creative in curating their musical selections and we didn’t want to limit that in any way. Musical Echoes will follow each original song with a cover or remix (the “echo”) allowing for full creativity and unique/interesting shows.”

KTUH will also welcome back alumni DJs to host shows in an “alumni takeover” on air October 9–11. For more details, visit KTUH’s website.

KTUH is one of four UH Mānoa student media programs under Mānoa Now. The others are Ka Leo O Hawaiʻi, Hawaiʻi Review and UH Productions.

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—By Marc Arakaki