Northwest Public Radio Local Content and Services Report

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.

Northwest Public Radio (NWPR) continually seeks to produce and present quality programs that expand horizons, stimulate thinking and encourage discovery.  We continue to make strides in local and regional news reporting, most significantly by integrating student journalists into the newsroom.   NWPR has also given attention to digital distribution of regional news via internet and smart phones.  News stories must be produced for digital as well as broadcast distribution so audiences have access to programming in a variety of platforms. In addition to its on-air broadcast, NWPR provides free access to content on digital and social media platforms such as a website, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and smartphone apps.  Listeners have access to provide feedback through these digital channels, as well as through email and a toll-free phone line.  NWPR’s free community calendar on its website allows the public to advertise events, and also learn about community and other events in the region. This past year Northwest Public Radio sponsored events across the region to engage the general public. These included an extensive StoryCorps event in Yakima, a debate in Tri Cities on the future of renewable energy with Ira Flatow and a panel of experts, and annual Murrow Symposium events in Seattle and Pullman.

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.

NWPR seeks to connect with communities across the region.  For more than a decade NWPR has been a member of the Northwest News Network, which shares news reports with other public media outlets across the region including KUOW, Oregon Public Broadcasting, KPLU, Boise State Radio, KLCC, Jefferson Public Radio and Spokane Public Radio.  NWPR has partnered with Clover Park Technical College in Tacoma to manage and program KVTI-FM, providing a vital NPR and Classical service in the South Sound region. Similarly, NWPR has partnered with the Yakima School District to manage and program KYVT-FM to bring more local and national news to residents in central Washington.  NWPR has partnered with Whitman College and Broadway Center for Performing Arts to bring TEDx events to Walla Walla and Tacoma. Our partnership with the Yakima Valley Museum brought the StoryCorps mobile recording booth to Yakima. And in conjunction with The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University, NWPR provides learning experiences for students of journalism, media and communications.

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.

Through partnerships, NWPR continues to have measurable impact within the community.  Through involvement and sponsorships with arts and cultural organizations throughout the area, larger audiences are being served by organizations such as symphonies, arts and culture and civic groups. As an example, NWPR partnered with the Richland Public Library, Pacific Northwest National Laboratories and Richland Public Schools to host a roundtable discussion on renewable energy with Ira Flatow and a panel of experts. The event was free to school children.  That same event included a group of STEM school students visiting Pacific Northwest National Labs with Ira Flatow for a unique learning experience.  Follow up information was provided to the public through the Richland Public Library. The events were well received, the audience remained engaged and an audio recording of the discussion event was also made available on the NWPR website.  As another example, NWPR initiated a project aimed at sharing marketing and engagement resources amongst non-profit organizations in north central Washington to boost the success of these organizations’ various community focused programs. Hundreds of people were reached and gave the parties involved a way to explore future partnership opportunities.  In addition to the abovementioned examples , NWPR continues to be a primary resource for community information about arts and events through our online calendar. During inclement weather, NWPR also provides up-to-the-minute information on school closures and delays in the region.

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 2013, and any plans you have made to meet the needs of these audiences during Fiscal Year 2014. If you regularly broadcast in a language other than English, please note the language broadcast.

In partnership with the Yakima Valley Community Foundation and Spanish language public radio station KDNA, NWPR identified the need for bilingual reporting in central Washington. NWPR and its partners were successfully awarded a Knight Foundation grant to hire journalists and develop a bilingual reporting team. The grant and initiative also include resources to conduct community outreach to asses and ascertain regional topics of concern for Latino and other potential audiences, and to develop digital tools to increase the reach and impact of the reporting. NWPR sponsored a five-week tour stop of the StoryCorps mobile recording, which included dedicated efforts to reach Spanish-speaking and Native American communities to capture their stories.  NWPR has sponsored Boys and Girls club fundraising events, school supply drives and a variety of other community-focused events to further engage the community. NWPR’s audience has doubled in the last four years, indicating the increased need and appeal for its programming. Our online audience also continues to grow rapidly, indicating the success of our expanded access to the community.

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 funding through the Community Service Grant plays a critical role in NWPR carrying out its public service mission.  As with other stations which provide programming to large swaths of principally rural areas, NWPR operates on a tight budget.  CPB funding is especially important to local production of news, music and other cultural programming efforts.  Without CPB funding, NWPR would be significantly limited in presenting diverse and responsive programming.  As mentioned before, audience has grown significantly - doubling in just four short years. This is a very strong indicator that investment of CPB funds continues to have a significant reach to under-served audiences in the region.