KBBI AM 890 is a public radio station based out of Homer AK with a mission to provide news, information and entertainment to foster community engagement. As the COVID-19 crisis has unfolded KBBI has been finding new and inventive ways to fulfill this mission and keep the community connected. One such initiative has been the creation of a live weekly call in show, The COVID-19 Brief.
At the outset of the pandemic, KBBI senior producer Kathleen Gustafson reached out to the Homer Unified Command to offer them an opportunity to speak directly to the public, dispel misinformation and answer questions. It quickly became clear that a weekly update would be to the benefit of all involved.
KBBI operates on an AM signal which reaches over 20 communities including rural homesteads and fish camps which would be unlikely to have the capacity to access information via television or internet. To maintain social distancing, KBBI set up call-in lines for the panel to minimize exposure in the studio and for an hour every Thursday morning representatives from some or all of the City of Homer, South Peninsula Hospital, AK Department of Public Health and the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District would give updates to the community on COVID rates, new symptoms, relief programs, policy, health mandates, closures and more.
The first show aired in late March 2020, and the format quickly developed to include an update, questions, and end with general information and news. All shows were recorded and made available for on-demand listening on our station website.