Telling Public Radio's Story

Telling Public Radio’s Story

The information below was taken from WUOT’s annual Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) Station Activities Survey for Fiscal Year 2015:

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 engaged. 

WUOT remains committed to spending the time and resources necessary to spotlight specific local issues in-depth through compelling, thought-provoking journalistic endeavors.  In an effort to reach out to a broad section of our community, WUOT’s award-winning news department solicits the assistance of a variety of local government, educational and non-profit organizations throughout our listening area in identifying specific community needs and issues.  In addition to using its on-air and online platforms, the station is also engaging our audience and the broader community through social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter.  The station is actively seeking ways to enhance WUOT’s service by reaching out to all corners of its listening area.  Each organization WUOT works with provides the station opportunities to reach and serve new audiences.  Our goal is to be mindful and well-informed about major issues facing our area and to be an appropriate conduit to bring the community together in seeking solutions. 

2.     Describe key initiatives and the variety of partners with whom you collaborated, 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. 

Throughout the year, WUOT worked with a variety of governmental, educational and non-profit agencies regarding numerous topics and subjects that were of interest to area listeners.  Health and science continue to be topics of concern to WUOT listeners and WUOT’s newsroom reported on numerous stories involving the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).  Stories about how ORNL scientists are using social media and other datasets to track infectious and chronic diseases, how direct-inject gasoline engines are generating more pollution than previous engines and what that means to our health, and how mercury pollution is affecting wildlife in the area were a few examples of health and science coverage using the unique resources of ORNL.  The station also hosted a panel discussion about air quality in the East Tennessee region with ORNL officials, a representative of the American Lung Association and a local advocacy group, Mom’s Clean Air Force. 

Other health and science coverage involved Knox County Health Department officials providing information about communicable diseases and the anti-vaccination movement.   Knoxville’s Office of Sustainability and Knoxville Scores provided information and insight into local energy consumption and sustainability in Knoxville, and dangers of nuclear power plants were discussed with safety experts from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). 

Race relations and sexual assaults were topics of concern to our community and WUOT’s newsroom provided numerous stories and features to shed light on these issues which often-times are considered taboo.  In “Fragments of Hate”, News Director Matt Shafer Powell interviewed Charles Moulden, a black man who was shot in 1968 while fishing for trout in an East Tennessee stream.  This “Dialogue” call-in program engaged the community in a frank discussion about race relations then, and now. 

WUOT also provided a unique opportunity for listeners in East Tennessee to hear from civil rights pioneer and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, Marian Wright Edelman, who discussed the current state of civil rights in America on WUOT.  

3.      What impact did your key initiatives and partners have in your community?
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 resources?  Please provide direct feedback from partners or persons served. 

Another key WUOT community initiative is working with area not-for-profits to raise awareness of their needs and provide opportunity for WUOT listeners to assist those groups while participating in WUOT fund-drives.  The Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley, the Joy of Music School, Shangri-La Therapeutic Academy of Riding (STAR) and Human-Animal Bond in Tennessee (HABIT) were WUOT Community Partners during FY 2015.  These non-profits received independent funds, supplies, and donated professional services provided by donors they identified and cultivated, during WUOT fund-drives when the station met its daily goal for donations.  The Humane Society received 350 lbs of pet food.  The Joy of Music School received web design and program services from a local advertising agency.  STAR received approximately $5,000 in signage and landscaping and HABIT received $1,000 to purchase tablets for its program evaluators.  HABIT officials said that there was a significant increase in requests for participation after the organization participated as a WUOT Community Partner.  The WUOT Community Partnerships have been very successful in promoting area non-profits and their needs while allowing WUOT donors to ‘support’ other local agencies while financially supporting WUOT Public Radio. 

Another example of community outreach is through media sponsorships.  WUOT provides publicity and awareness for a variety of community events, sponsored by a broad range of organizations.  During FY 2015, WUOT provided both airtime and web promotion to Friends of the Knoxville Public Library Annual Book Sale, Knox Heritage Summer Suppers, Blooms Days at the UT Gardens, the Knoxville Film Festival, Oak Ridge Junior Playhouse performances and dozens of other community groups.  Our media sponsorship partners credit WUOT as a reason for increased attendance for and participation in their events and activities. 

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 2015.  If you regularly broadcast in a language other than English, please note the language broadcast.

WUOT was a sponsor of the 2nd Annual Latino awards, presented by Centro  Hispano de East Tennessee, and helped secure the host of Latino USA, Maria Hinojosa as the keynote speaker for the event.  WUOT News Director Matt Shafer Powell served as the Master of Ceremonies.  WUOT plans to work with Centro Hispano de  East Tennessee in exploring ways in which the station and the organization can collaborate on future projects. 

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 continues to be critical in WUOT’s ability to provide both quality network and local programming.  Our CPB Community Service Grant (CSG) provides a little less than one-half the costs of National Public Radio (NPR) which our audience expects and demands.  This annual funding assistance enables WUOT to invest local funding sources into providing our community with unique, local content for our local audience.  With CPB’s assistance, WUOT continues to expand our programming and services on multiple platforms.