Odd Couple: Community Health Center to Acquire 2nd Radio Station

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August 10, 2011; Source: Yakima Herald | In Washington State, the Sea Mar Community Health Centers are in negotiation to take over Spanish-language radio station KDNA, known as “the voice of the farm worker.” The station has been embroiled in labor disputes serious enough to drive away financial backers and the previous board of directors. Sea Mar, however, is a large operation with more than 50 medical, behavioral health, and dental centers in the Puget Sound area, and it is apparently willing and able to infuse capital into the operation. It has also received approval from the FCC for the move.

Sea Mar says it sees the radio station as one more way to serve its community. KDNA is, in fact, the second Spanish-language radio station that Sea Mar has acquired. A spokesman for Sea Mar says that the biggest hurdle in the deal is the need to raise money for the station’s operations, but that the organization is not worried. “We’re confident that we can do it,” he said. “We have experience in writing grants. We don’t see a major problem doing that.”

Assuming it can get its labor issues figured out, Sea Mar might just be on to something here. After all, radio is the perfect medium for public health messages. What sorts of unusual, baffling, or brilliant nonprofit organizational pairings have you noticed lately?—Ruth McCambridge

  • Paul Konigstein

    For years, the United States Agency for International Development has been funding radiio stations in developing countries to broadcast health messages.