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.
WCBE's mission statement is outwardly directed: "To be a catalyst for community..." Our overall goals, therefore, ultimately lead us to answer community issues, needs, and interests. We remained severely short-staffed in 2015, so couldn't advance far beyond our "standard" of the last couple of years. Nevertheless, we continued partnering with other non-profits (13 core NPOs) to help them further their missions...this year, emphasizing arts/cultural and environmental issues. And, of course, we continued our now-annual fund drive to benefit both WCBE and the Mid-Ohio Food Bank.
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.
As mentioned above, we continued our food-raising work, forging a public/private partnership between us, DNO Produce, and the Mid-Ohio Food Bank; for every listener donation to the radio station, DNO Produce donated two pounds of fresh produce to the food bank...resulting in over a half-ton of produce feeding our area's poor. We expanded our literacy initiative in several arenas, including adding extra air time for the Dick & Jane Project broadcasts to make it easier for families of the participating middle-school students to hear their work. And we progressed toward our goal of creating a regular on-air news program for underprivileged teens, airing a series of live, one-hour teen-hosted and -controlled public affairs shows in mid- to late-summer; this was the product of a program from Franklin County and the City of Columbus for at-risk high school students.
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.
Particularly with our current staffing level, it's difficult to tease out our role in any impact on the community beyond the anecdotal. Providing fresh produce for the hungry is the only tangible, quantifiable result. Yet there is no question that our student initiatives -- most notably, our internships and the teen public affairs program -- have a clear impact on the students involved. We saw a dramatic increase in focus and maturity in all the student participants of the county's teen public affairs program, for example.
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 2015, and any plans you have made to meet the needs of these audiences during Fiscal Year 2016. If you regularly broadcast in a language other than English, please note the language broadcast.
Our core efforts for diverse audiences continue to focus on the African American community; African American students are the majority population for our licensee, the Columbus City Schools. To that end, our efforts range from assisting teachers in the school district's vocational program (serving on curriculum advisory boards, hosting interns, providing real-world production projects for classes, etc.) to broadcasting programs addressing concerns of -- or celebrating the legacy of -- African Americans...from weekly specials during Black History Month to our regular weekly local jazz and blues shows. The nascent and evolving teen public affairs program fits in this category, as well.
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?
There is no question that our community efforts would be severely curtailed without CPB funding. Our ability to provide airtime and work with the county's teacher/producer of the teen public affairs program, for example, simply wouldn't have existed: that experimental show simply would not have been broadcast. CPB funding also allows us to diversify and stretch our programming schedule beyond the normal news "bread and butter" shows which attract listener donations and business underwriting; it is only thanks to the flexibility provided by CPB monies that we can subscribe to national shows such as "AfroPop Worldwide," "Selected Shorts," "The Tavis Smiley Show," and others...and commission programs from local, independent producers.