WKU Public Radio Diversity Statement for 2021-22

Mar 30, 2021

WKU Public Radio 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, and the BBC, WKU Public Radio 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 and information 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 Radio has been to strengthen our coverage and awareness of our region's growing immigrant communities. Our news room 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 Radio 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 radio service adheres to WKU’s formal diversity efforts.

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

Diversity Goals

WKU Public Radio seeks to accomplish the following items as part of our commitment to diversity in 2021-22:

*Increase the outreach from our local content creators to individuals in our region who are members of minority communities. This will allow staff to enhance their knowledge and awareness of the diverse nature of our listening area, issues of importance to those communities, and organizations that support those diverse groups. 

*Enhance outreach efforts to Western Kentucky University’s School of Media as a way of encouraging a diverse group of students to consider internships at WKU Public Radio in order to further public broadcasting’s commitment to diversity and education. The student radio station at WKU, WWHR, is now under the managment of WKU Public Broadcasting, and one of our full-time employees is overseeing student production and community outreach efforts. 

*Create new local programming produced by people of color that is aimed at the contributions made by Black Kentuckians in the fields of history, music, arts, literature, foodways, etc. 

Diversity Progress

In FY 2021 and FY 2022, two of the six local news reporters/hosts at WKU Public Radio are African-American. One of those two is also manager of the student radio station at WKU, and teaches broadcasting courses with the WKU School of Media. This is the most representation journalists of color have ever had in our local newsroom. WKU Public Radio has increased the amount of local news stories it produces based on issues related to racial/social justice, especially regarding the national conversations related to the treatment of Black and Brown Americans by law enforcement, the criminal justice system, financial systems, and other key institutions. We also continue to produce regular local news content related to issues facing the region's  refugee and immigrant populations.

Diversity Initiative for 2021-22

WKU Public Radio will produce stories that reflect 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.