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Salida-based radio station KHEN 106.9 FM kicks off its spring membership drive today. The membership drive continues through March 30 and features new membership options and a grand-prize drawing for all new or renewing members.

A plethora of special programming featuring on-air guests and entertainment will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Wednesday through Friday, March 21-23. Guests will include local musicians performing in the studio, Salida Mayor P.T. Wood and Chaffee County Commissioner Keith Baker.

“Individual memberships are our biggest source of support, and this is our big membership drive of the year,” said KHEN Board Chair Leslie Matthews. “Without the financial support of our community we could not and would not exist.”

KHEN is as community radio station, which means it is not for profit, not corporately owned and not government supported. In the past year, the radio station has made significant strides. It brought nine new professionally produced local shows to the airwaves, producing both on-air shows and podcasts that provide programming to online listeners.

The station has 1,100 Facebook followers and is adding followers every week. Podcast shows are archived for at least two years for rebroadcasting. In addition to the KHEN Local Election Series that aired prior to recent city council elections, KHEN podcasts garnered more than 500 online listeners.

This past year, KHEN launched its archive service, which makes all locally produced shows available on demand for two weeks immediately after they air. “Democracy Now” airs five days a week at noon, and “Sunny Side Up,” a humorous new morning drive-time show, runs at 8 a.m. five days a week, featuring music and banter about town happenings.

Matthews said program underwriting continues to grow, and the station plans to launch the KHEN smart phone app by mid-2018. While the range of the KHEN radio signal remains limited, downloading the KHEN app to a smart phone will make it easier to listen to KHEN anywhere in the county.

The continued progress is completely dependent upon community support, which Matthews said is fitting because the relationship is symbiotic.

“We exist solely because our community stands for our existence,” she said. “Our only commitment is to our community ‒ to you.”

The radio station has created a new sustaining membership that makes it easier for people to become members and to continue to their support without worrying about renewal dates. Supporters of the radio station can go to KHEN.org, click “Donate” then click the “Sustaining Member” button.

New and renewing members can automatically contribute a few dollars a month ranging from as little as the cost of a cup of coffee to more significant amounts.

People can also become members by calling 719-539-1069 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. or by mailing a membership donation to KHEN, P.O. Box 596, Salida, Colo., 81201.

All those who join or renew by March 30 will be entered into a grand-prize drawing for a Salida Stay-cation at the April 6 KHEN Quinceañera (Keen-sin-year-ah), a party to celebrate the station’s 15th birthday at Fun Street Family Arcade, 243 F St. in downtown Salida. The prize includes, among other items, two free half-day raft trips, a free massage, a hotel room and dinner for two at Shallots.