WASILLA - Radio station owner John Klapperich, an avid promoter of growth and development in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, has seen the future, and it is green.
Green energy, that is.
"We're currently working on a green energy plan with Mat-Su Energy," he said. "This will make us the first radio station in Alaska to broadcast under solar and wind energy. The goal is to offset our electric bill and perform an energy audit that should save us thousands the first year. We're calling it an energy diet."
Klapperich said that by 2009, he plans to have KMBQ-FM, broadcasting from the Parks Highway near downtown Wasilla, powered mainly by solar and wind turbine.
"Green is just part of my mission statement," said Klapperich, president and general manager of the Spirit of Alaska Broadcasting Corp., an Alaskan-owned and -operated radio station manned around the clock. "I'll have LED lights on my wind turbine, shining on my building. I want a little power pack, to say the energy here is being produced by the wind and sun in the Mat-Su Valley."
Klapperich, who has been in business in the Valley for 30 years, already attracts a lot of attention to his station with a large marquee in front of the building on a busy stretch of the Parks Highway.
He hopes his example will start a trend, encouraging more people to look to alternative energy sources.
"It will take time," he said. "I want every business and home to consider it, to get educated and then make a decision. That's all my job is, to have people consider that."
As an active booster of the Mat-Su business community, including service as president of the Greater Wasilla Chamber of Commerce, Klapperich said he anticipates he'll be able to educate a lot of business people and other radio listeners. He points to a poll conducted in February by an Anchorage public opinion research firm that showed more than 42 percent of radio listeners in the Valley tuned in to his station.
Klapperich also owns Anchorage radio station KBYR-AM, on which he will also promote green energy. Between Q99.7 Valley radio and AM 700 (KBYR), he figures he reaches 70 percent of the potential radio audience in Alaska. KBYR is also the only radio station broadcasting entirely in English on the North Slope, he said.
As an added incentive, Klapperich said he plans to offer a discount for advertisers on his radio station if they pledge to go green.
"If they will attempt to go 10 percent green, they get 10 percent off on advertising," Klapperich said. And he will match that commitment up to 40 percent, he added.
Starting May 1, the 51,000-watt station will also offer listeners a new feature, the Green Minute, 60 seconds of points and tips on how to save energy and go green. Klapperich said he plans to display the station's electric and natural gas bills on the station's Web site too, to show everyone how much money can be saved by adding alternative energy into the mix.
"Anything I do, I want to be able to pay for in seven years," said Klapperich. While he's still calculating the costs, Klapperich is hoping federal and state grants and other incentive programs will be available to cover part of those costs.