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. 

In FY17, the WHQR Board of Directors, Friends of Public Radio, adopted a 3-year strategic plan, posted on the WHQR website, the plan addresses sustainability, diversity and inclusivity. WHQR also produces a local one hour, award-winning public affairs program on Wednesday(s) and Thursday(s), CoastLine. The mission of CoastLine is to “promote civil discourse, foster sincere appreciation of differing points of view, and deepen listener understanding of community issues”. Topics have included: the local opioid epidemic, pollutants in our drinking water specifically the chemical GenX, immigration, economic development, healthcare and the environment. CoastLine podcasts are available on demand through the WHQR website and the new WHQR app. In addition, WHQR produces a weekly 4-minute interview segment, Communique, that highlights local area non-profits, promotes community engagement, and helps to foster the sharing of ideas. On average, each month, WHQR hosts four community outreach events in the radio station’s MC Erny Gallery, including a sit-down discussion with local authors, live entertainment highlighting local musicians, and featured artwork from local artists. These events not only help to nurture goodwill and strengthen ties between WHQR and the arts community, they also introduce new audiences to public radio and WHQR. 

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 supports many local non-profits and public service groups through various means, including media sponsorships, the Cultural Calendar, and WHQR’s 4-minute interview segment, Communique. The Cultural Calendar highlights local non-profits; these free public service announcements are read on-air on both HQR News (HD1) and Classical (HD2). Communique is a locally produced segment that airs during Morning Edition and All Things Considered on HQR News. During the 2017 fiscal year, WHQR collaborated with Chamber Music Wilmington to provide free masterclasses with classically trained musicians to area youth. Music students had the importunity to be tutors by pianist Reiko Aizawa, a student of Julliard, a Steinway Artist, who has performed at the Kennedy Center and Carnage Hall. WHQR has four graduate fellows interning in the key areas of news gathering, digital marketing, development, and broadcast operations. The internship program is a partnering between WHQR and University of North Carolina Wilmington. This partnership provides UNCW students with professional training and career possibilities and durthers our mission in education for the future of the industry. WHQR also collaborated with two local media outlets, StarNews and WWAY, to host two public forums on the GenX water situation; both forums were broadcast live on HQR News, 91.3FM. WHQR produced the Kwanzaa program, A Season’s Griot, distributed nationally to PRI member stations through a partnership between WHQR and Public Radio International.

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 provides support on-air to nearly 100 community service and outreach organizations throughout the year. Each December, WHQR partners with a non-profit social service organization and a local business on a support project such as fighting hunger and the like. WHQR has seen a steady increase in interest and attendance to its masterclass sessions and Little Lunch Music series. In addition, WHQR has begun to make use of Facebook Live to broadcast radio station events like through social media for those folks who might not be able to attend in person, but also increase awareness on station activities. Communique host, Gina Gambony, began working four hours a week with Josh Brinkley, a senior high school student with Cerebral Palsy. Josh is working on a produced radio piece for Communique. Josh chose a topic for his own piece (opera), researched it, and conducted an interview. Josh will be with WHQR through early January and is on track to finish the goals that were set in August. For over 20 years, WHQR has produced and distributed A Season’s Griot, the only nationally-distributed public radio Kwanzaa program. It is distributed by PRI and carried by over 100 radio stations nationwide

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. 

The Friends of Public Radio adopted a 3-year strategic plan that addresses diversity and inclusivity. The Community Advisory Board is actively seeking new members and CAB events are being planned in diverse communities within the WHQR listening area. CoastLine continues to tackles topics that reflect the diverse population of the Cape Fear Region from the impact of immigration reform to religious understanding, to accessibility for all. In FY18, WHQR will continue its work to improve access to live events for its radio audience. For instance, WHQR is currently reviewing the potential rebroadcasting area concert performances on Classical HQR. The radio station is also looking into new ways WHQR can partner with local Emergency Management officials. WHQR is currently working on expanding its Classical HQR signal into Southern Brunswick County. The appeal for having WHQR’s low power translator in Southern Brunswick County as an emergency resource is its reliability for broadcasting emergency messaging to county residents.

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 is a vital financial resource for WHQR; CPB funds help pay for the quality programming our listeners have come to rely on. It makes possible our ability to hire news staff, and thus to produce local news content for air during Morning Edition and All Things Considered, to publish and maintain our website, and to support our local award-winning public-affairs program, CoastLine. In FY17, WHQR hired a full-time reporter expanding its newsroom staff to two. This addition has allowed us to focus more of our energy on issues affecting the WHQR community, such as the discovery of GenX in its drinking water. Our full-time reporter was a moderator during two Public Forums on GenX and has been a frequent guest on WUNC’s program, State of Things. These activities bring in no additional revenue streams, so without the grant money from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, we would not be in a position to provide these much needed community discussions.