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WKU Public Radio Diversity Statement for 2023-24

WKU Public Media Diversity Statement for 2023-24

WKU Public Media seeks to serve our increasingly diverse coverage area with high-quality public radio programming, both on air and online, that reflects and explains issues impacting a wide variety of individuals and communities.

Through our own locally-produced content, and through programs we air originating from organizations such as National Public Radio, American Public Media, Public Radio International, PBS, American Public Television, NETA and the BBC, WKU Public Media seeks to enhance the quality of life in our region by presenting unique, non-commercial programming of exceptional quality. The majority of this programming is focused on news, educational and informational shows that touch upon topics of interest impacting an audience of various racial and ethnic backgrounds; genders; religions; age ranges; sexual orientations; and education and income levels.

One of the goals of WKU Public Media has been to strengthen our coverage and awareness of our region's growing immigrant communities. Our staff has worked to establish contacts within those communities that serve as ways for us to learn about issues, challenges, and programs related to these groups.

One of the categories in our FCC-mandated quarterly Programs and Problems report is “Issues Impacting Minority Groups, Immigrants, Refugees, and LGBTQ Community". This is one-way WKU Public Media ensures that our local content creators maintain a focus on issues impacting diverse groups of people from across our region.

Diversity of Governance, Staff

WKU Public Radio’s governing body is an 11 member Board of Regents. Eight of the members are appointed by the Governor from among nominees submitted by a nominating commission. These members serve up to two six-year terms.

Faculty and staff representatives are elected by their peers to three-year terms. The student representative is the President of the Student Government Association and is elected to a one-year term. All members have voting privileges.

More information on the makeup of the Board of Regents can be found here.

Since we are a part of WKU, this public media service adheres to WKU’s formal diversity efforts.

The diversity of WKU Public Media’s staff is recorded annually in our Employee and Job Openings Statistical Report. That report can be found here.

Diversity Goals

WKU Public Media hired a new reporter with a background in covering issues impacting racial/ethnic minority groups, including Black residents. This reporter will help bolster our existing coverage of our region’s Black and Brown communities, as well as our large refugee and immigrant populations.

A WKU Public Media host/reporter has spearheaded a new student news producer internship program, which will identify students in the Western Kentucky University School of Media who will receive training in how to assist the WKU Public Media news team in preparing local news content for the morning and afternoon news programs. Those opportunities will include learning how to write stories for our local newscasts, undergoing editing with professional journalists on staff, creating news content for our website, and voice training. WKU Public Media will seek to make this opportunity available to a wide spectrum of students majoring in/minoring in/interested in broadcasting and public media.

WKU Public Media continued to air a weekly feature called African American Folklorist focusing on telling the stories of how Black communities in our region have contributed to culture, foodways, music, literature, visual arts, and academia. The producer of the feature, a Black Western Kentucky University student, is also spearheading the creation of a new annual Blues music festival at the SEEK (Struggle for Emancipation and Equality in Kentucky) Museum in Russellville.

Diversity Progress

Multiple WKU students were mentored by members of the WKU Public Media staff. Students worked on and contributed to the full range of projects and productions that WKU Public Media undertakes, including the sharing of By Parties Unknown through multiple mediums including creating an educational curriculum, hosting screenings and facilitating conversations in the communities we serve. By Parties Unknown is a documentary film that explores one particular story of the violent lynching of four Black men in Russellville, Kentucky in 1908 after they were singled out for supporting their friend, Rufus Browder who shot and killed his foreman in self-defense.

Diversity initiatives for 2023-24

WKU Public Media will produce content that reflects the diverse nature of the communities we serve. We will also feature stories covering the growing international communities in our southern Kentucky region, including the contributions made by, and challenges facing, immigrants and refugees, and the potential impacts of the newly increased federal refugee resettlement cap on our region and state. WKU Public Media will also continue to focus it’s lens on the history of our region and share the stories from our history that have shaped our region.

The WKU Public Media news team will seek new stories to tell on air and online about the challenges facing, and accomplishments achieved by, our region’s growing refugee and immigrant communities.

The WKU Public Media news team will sharpen its focus on local stories related to the LGBTQ+ population, in light of recent legislation passed by a number of states in our region curtailing the freedoms of that community in terms of gender affirming health care for transgender youth and materials involving LGBTQ+ people in public schools.