1. Describe your overall goals and approach to address identified community issues, needs, and interests through your station’s vital local services, such as multiplatform long and short-form content, digital and in-person engagement, education services, community information, partnership support, and other activities, and audiences you reached or new audiences you engaged.
The aim of every news story and every news/informational program on WKU Public Radio is to create a more informed, engaged, and connected community. We cover a wide listening that includes southern and western Kentucky, northern Tennessee, and southern Indiana. Our local news efforts focus on stories that have a wide-ranging impact on the individuals living in these areas. Our journalists work daily to produce original news content for our live morning and afternoon newscasts, and long-form features and interviews that air locally during Morning Edition and All Things Considered and are posted on our website and social media platforms. Our local content focuses on a variety of issues we know to be of interest to our audience. Some of the major subjects we cover on a regular basis include issues related to local and state government; health; business and employment; arts and culture events; and education. In addition to posting our local news content at our website, we also host an online community events calendar that allows organizations such as theatre groups, music ensembles, houses of worship, and school systems to post, free of charge, information about events they are hosting in our region. This results in a wonderful, easy-to-use resource where our audience can learn about what’s happening in their community. We have put increased focus on posting more audio on our website, which results in more local content available on the increasingly popular NPR One app.
2. Describe key initiatives and the variety of partners with whom you collaborated, including other public media outlets, community nonprofits, government agencies, educational institutions, the business community, teachers and parents, etc. This will illustrate the many ways you’re connected across the community and engaged with other important organizations in the area.
In 2017, WKU Public Radio continued its collaborative with public radio stations in Kentucky as part of the Kentucky Public Radio Network. This led to sharing of daily news stories; a statewide newscast from 9am-2pm each weekday and a statewide call-in show surrounding Kentucky's pension system. We also partnered with stations across the Ohio Valley ReSource (Kentucky, West Virginia and southeast Ohio) for longform feature reporting covering infrastructure and the economy. We also partnered with the Capitol Arts Center in Bowling Green (operated by the Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center) to produce 10 live "Lost River Sessions" concerts in downtown Bowling Green. Over the course of the 10 shows, this brought more than a thousand people downtown to experience live music. We also did a remote broadcast of Barren River Breakdown from the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro. We've also partnered with several on-campus organizations such as the Potter College of Arts & Letters, the Office of International Programs, the WKU Music Department, WKU's Theater & Dance, etc.
3. What impact did your key initiatives and partnerships have in your community? Describe any known measurable impact, such as increased awareness, learning or understanding about particular issues. Describe indicators of success, such as connecting people to needed resources or strengthening conversational ties across diverse neighborhoods. Did a partner see an increase in requests for related resources? Please include direct feedback from a partner(s) or from a person(s) served.
Our reporting partnerships with stations across Kentucky and our region helped gain exposure for the organizations/businesses/groups from our area that we covered in 2017. This brought attention to the issues facing our region. We also spotlighted the stories individuals who are immigrants, refugees, coal miners and educators. Through our Lost River Sessions concerts, we provided local and regional bands a platform to share their music. We also saw more than a thousand people come to concerts in downtown Bowling Green, providing an economic boost for that area on Thursday nights.
4. Please describe any efforts (e.g. programming, production, engagement activities) you have made to investigate and/or meet the needs of minority and other diverse audiences (including, but not limited to, new immigrants, people for whom English is a second language and illiterate adults) during Fiscal Year 2016, and any plans you have made to meet the needs of these audiences during Fiscal Year 2017. If you regularly broadcast in a language other than English, please note the language broadcast.
Our news coverage included stories about immigrants and specifically companies who hire some of those immigrants for their technical expertise or to help train other non-English speaking employees. We also featured DACA recipients facing an uncertain futures after being brought here as children. We also did multiple stories surrounding WKU's International Year of South Korea, dealing with the Korean culture and how Americans are interacting with it. As a part of our music lineup, we air Concierto, Fiesta and Alt-Latino, all of which celebrate Latin American music of various styles.
5. Please assess the impact that your CPB funding had on your ability to serve your community. What were you able to do with your grant that you wouldn't be able to do if you didn't receive it?
CPB grant support is an absolutely essential component of our overall funding. In addition to the support we receive from our community and university, CPB funding allows us to serve a very wide geographic area, covering parts of three states. Our CPB grant ensures that we can continue to provide high-quality public radio programming and meaningful community engagement. This station faces considerable challenges when working to raise financial support in our community. Much of of coverage area is rural, not affluent, and does not fit traditional public radio listener demographics. CPB funding strengthens our efforts and helps us acquire programming that would otherwise be unaffordable and unattainable for us. Without CPB's support, our public service efforts would be tremendously diminished, and many in our region would be left without a local public radio service. A lack of CPB support would also affect the size and quality of our staff.
Being a fully-qualified CPB station also gives us access to resources and program providers that are essential for our operation.