Telling Public Radio's Story
The narrative below is a copy of responses provided to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting related to WHQR's content and services that serve local needs, and the reach and impact of local services in our community.
1. Describe your overall goals and approach to address community issues, needs and interest through your station's vital local services, such as multi-platform 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.
WHQR's most recent initiative has been the launch in fiscal 2014 of a local talks how, CoastLine. CoastLine's mission is to "promote civil discourse, foster sincere appreciation of differing points of view, and deepen listener understanding of community issues." Topics have included minority education, healthcare, community planning, environmental topics and more. In our 30th anniversary year engaged many new activities such as classical concerts, public picnics, and parties targeted to younger audiences. We rely on our Community Advisory Board to expand our contact with a wider audience , with a special focus in younger audiences. WHQR has has produced and distributed "Season's Griot," the only nationally-distributed public radio Kwanzaa program. It is distributed by PRI and carried by over 100 radio stations nationwide. We host a monthly book discussion group and often feature either an ethnic author or story. We air a local show called "Homemade Holiday Shorts" in December, which features people of diverse backgrounds telling holiday stories.
2. Describe key initiatives and the variety of partners with whom you collaborated, including other public media outlets, community non-profits, 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.
WHQR's Partnership Challenge is a twice-year effort to spotlight local non-profit groups in the arts, human services, community development and others. Groups have ranged from the United Way to the Good Shepherd Center (homelessness and jobs) to Guardian ad Litem, and more. Groups participate by answering phones during our fund-raising campaigns. They are featured in interviews and acknowledgements. Four such groups are selected each year to receive an underwriting contract.
3. What impact did your key initiatives and partnerships have in your community? Describe any known measurable impact, such as increased awareness, learning our 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 realted resources? Please include direct feedback from a partner or person served.
WHQR's Midday Interview spotlights a different non-profit organization each weekday. Anecdotally many of these groups have told us that such exposure is essential to their efforts at recruitment and fundraising. The waiting list for such interviews is a long one. Twice a year we partner with a non-profit (environmental groups in the summer, social service groups in the winter) and a local business on a support project - planting trees or oytser beds, helping build Habitat houses, feeding hungry children and the like. Awareness is also a key component.
4. Please describe any efforts you 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 2014 and any plans you may have made to meet the needs of these audiences during Fiscal Year 2015.
In 2014, we initiated our "Fresh Voices" program, which targets younger (12-17) and minority listeners. Students are invited to submit and record commentaries, which run in our regular Commentary slots during Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Minority concerns and issues are featured on our News Department's productions for newsmagazines and our website.
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?
Public forums such as election debates are a key part of WHQR's public service obligation. WHQR regularly hosts them as a way to highlight events that affect all members of our community. THese bring in no revenue stream so without the grant money from CPB we would not be in a position to provide these much needed community discussions. CPB funding also helped launch our local talk show, CoastLine, which debuted in 2014 and had highlighted a variety of local issues. For maximum impact, segments are excerpted and used in local news stories in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.