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WKU Public Radio Diversity Statement for 2022-23

WKU Public Media Diversity Statement for 2022-23

WKU Public Media seeks to serve our increasingly diverse coverage area with high- Public Media seeks to serve our increasingly diverse coverage area with high-quality public radio and television 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 seeks to accomplish the following items as part of our commitment to diversity in 2022-23:

*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 Media 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

A Western Kentucky University student, was mentored by members of the WKU Public Media newsroom. The student created multiple stories that aired during our local news broadcasts and appeared on our website, including one on the ongoing mental health challenges facing survivors of the December 2021 tornado that ripped through Bowling Green, and an exhibit at the WKU-based Kentucky Museum about a pioneering Bowling Green woman entrepreneur who ran a successful fashion business more than 100 years ago. Following her time in the radio newsroom, this student became a regular part-time student employee working as a master control operator at WKU PBS.

The WKU Public Radio newsroom continued to enhance its efforts to report more and better stories about the challenges facing, and contributions made by, our many international communities of immigrants and refugees. Some examples of this coverage include feature stories exploring the challenges faced by refugee/immigrant survivors of the December 2021 tornado that hit Bowling Green. Those challenges sometimes included language barriers and a lack of knowledge of where to turn for help when it came to rebuilding homes, applying for state and federal assistance, etc. Members of the news team also continued to attend, either in-person or virtually, quarterly information sessions held by the Bowling Green-based International Center of Kentucky, which relocates refugees to southern Kentucky.

One of the goals in our previous Diversity Statement was increased content production by creators of color, focused on subject matter related to our communities of color. WKU Public Radio is airing a regular weekly segment called The African American Folklorist, produced and hosted by Lamont Jack Pearley, a Western Kentucky University student seeking admission to the Folk Studies master’s program. This segment tells stories related to the history of the region’s African American people, as well as their contributions to the culture, foodways, music, literature, visual arts, and academia of our part of the world.

Diversity Initiative for 2022-23

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.

So many stories of people who met their end at the hands of a mob have gone untold. 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.

Seeking to understand the cultural and social context of the time period, By Parties Unknown highlights the events and the cultural climate surrounding the lynching through the perspective of Michael Morrow, community scholar and Executive Director of the SEEK Museum (Struggles for Emancipation and Equality in Kentucky), who has spent the better part of his life researching and tracking down as many details of the case as he can in order to chronicle and share the story for present and future generations.

WKU Public Media is committed to sharing By Parties Unknown through multiple mediums including creating an educational curriculum, hosting screenings and facilitating conversations in the communities we serve.