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 better informed community. This includes a detailed explanation of the issues that helps listeners understand a complex topic that they may not be familiar with. This basic understanding can help a listener better grasp the problems facing some members of our society. Through our community outreach effort such as providing educational books to children in our community, we hope to inform them about the history of events that help shape our current culture. Every in-person event that we have is meant to connect with our audience on a one-to-one level to let them know that there is someone willing to listen to their story. We seek not only to educate our audience but to do it in an entertaining and captivating way that makes it enjoyable.
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.
WKU Public Radio is taking part in a new collaborative effort along with seven fellow CPB-funded public broadcasters in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia known as the Ohio Valley ReSource. The goal of this collaboration is to explore economic and social changes that are impacting life in our region. OVR reporters are based at each of the seven participating stations, and contribute originally reported and produced radio, online, and social media content for the public. In addition, those reporters also contribute reporting and production help for the local stations where they are housed. WKU Public Radio partners with the Western Kentucky University School of Journalism and Broadcasting to provide opportunities for students to tour our facilities, meet our professional staff, shadow staff members, and participate in internships for course credit. The WKU Public Radio news director and station manager participated in events sponsored by the WKU Minority Student Journalism club, where minority students who are either majoring or minoring in journalism fields could meet professionals, get feedback on their resumes and resume tapes, and ask questions about broadcasting careers. WKU Public Radio provided live, uninterrupted coverage of both political conventions in the summer along with every presidential debate and wall-to-wall local and national coverage on Election Night. This provided vital information to voters who may not have the advantage of cable television. WKU Public Radio took part in a book giveaway effort with the local minor league baseball team, the Bowling Green Hot Rods. This event provided copies of the book "Who Was Jackie Robinson?" to children as they entered the ballpark on Jackie Robinson Night (April 15th). WKU Public Broadcasting teamed with the Bowling Green-Warren County Humane Society as media sponsor for an "adopt-a-thon"helping connect families and individuals with pets looking for a "forever" home. We hosted NPR President/CEO Jarl Mohn at a Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce breakfast in 2016. Mohn's address to the breakfast centered on the need for a well-informed electorate and the need for businesses and the media to work in partnership to put an emphasis on awareness and understanding of important issues facing our communities and the nation. WKU Public Radio began broadcasting both a live and recorded music series called "Lost River Sessions" that put a spotlight on the region's musicians. This allowed musicians from our area to get exposure on radio and in concert that they might not have received otherwise. While folk, bluegass and Americana music are popular, they are not always readily available on over-the-air radio. "Lost River Sessions" changed this by giving those genre's a platform.
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.
In 2016, reporter Lisa Autry worked with a member of the WKU PBS staff to produce a full-length TV documentary with a radio component about the foster care system. This documentary included interviews with agency workers, teens in the foster care system, foster parents and advocates. The documentary aimed to explain the foster care system in greater detail and break down some of the myths associated with foster children. With two military posts in our coverage area, WKU Public Radio's reporting staff was dedicated to exploring issues affecting military service members and veterans such as PTSD, employment and healthcare. This included a story on a dance class meant to help those with PTSD and continuing coverage of some veterans' struggle to find healthcare close to home. We received feedback from veterans who said they became aware of these opportunities thanks to our stories.
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.
On our dedicated classical/music service, we run three Spanish language-focused programs: Concierto and Fiesta (syndicated), which focus on the Latin American contribution to classical music and Alt Latino, a syndicated program that focuses on Latin American pop music. WKU Public Radio began discussions with WKU's Office of International Programs about more coordinated efforts to bring listeners events, discussions and stories revolving around international issues. The 2017-2018 "International Year of" program is centered on Bosnia- Herzegovina, which will allow us to focus on Bowling Green's large Bosnian population. WKU Public Radio's local news team covered in detail efforts by the Bowling Green Police Department to hire more minority officers. This initiative by the city began after a U.S. Justice Department report stated that the percentage of city police officers from minority groups was far less than the percentage of the city's overall minority population. The news staff also covered throughout FY 2016 the debate in Bowling Green over whether the city should accept a number of Syrian refugees who were displaced by their country's civil war. Our coverage included interviews with Syrians already living in our coverage area, as well as with employees of the Bowling Green based Kentucky International Center, which helps relocate refugees to our region and assists them with housing, jobs, education, etc.
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.