WBHM CPB Station Activities Survey for 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 you engaged.

WBHM seeks to have demonstrable community impact as measured by attendance, interaction and other indicators that show the station’s public service mission is playing a meaningful role in the life of our listeners and our community. WBHM continues to actively solicit interest and responses from a broad cross-section of the community. In 2015, the communication and interaction expanded to include more partnerships and outreach with a diverse array of community organizations, in-person and via social media.

Community interaction came from the expansion of events and programming associated with Issues and Ales outreach. The most dramatic of these was March 24th, 2016 with panels and community input discussing Alabama’s Heroin epidemic. https://news.wbhm.org/feature/2015/issues-and-ales-heroin-in-alabama/

 

More than 300 people attended our free event at WorkPlay in Birmingham, where panels of experts and citizens engaged in powerful discussions on the topic. The event was video-streamed live by the Alabama Media Group, was edited into a long-form program and podcast by WBHM, and also led to shorter news segments and features on-air and online. The combination of programming, partnership with other media outlets and the community was a part of a change in how agencies, media, government officials, and the general public began to engage in resolving a crisis in the state.

 

Other Issues and Ales Events during the year included Football and Concussions (July 23, 2015) https://news.wbhm.org/series/football-and-concussions/ and the Future of Education in Alabama (November 5, 2015) https://news.wbhm.org/2015/11/issues-ales-the-future-of-education-in-alabama/ .

 

WBHM’s radio audience continues to be significant, while the number of Facebook and Twitter followers continues to grow. Listening from computers and mobile devices has grown, reaching the equivalent of 15% or more of RRC/Nielsen Average Quarter Hour metrics. Analytic data shows that website usage from mobile devices is now higher than desktop and laptop computers.

 

  1. 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.

 

WBHM has engaged in features, projects and sponsorships with many different agencies and organizations, including the Birmingham Education Foundation, TEDx Birmingham, Alabama School for the Performing Arts, Create Birmingham, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, The Birmingham Public Library, REV Birmingham, Vulcan Park and Museum, the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, and the Alabama Theatre.

 

WBHM has created a monthly storytelling series in partnership with the non-profit Arc Stories of Birmingham. The program and media sponsorship has helped lead to routine sellouts of Arc Stories live events at the Avon Theater in Birmingham. https://news.wbhm.org/series/arc-stories/

 

WBHM also has electronic media sharing relationships with Alabama Public Television (APT) and WBRC Fox 6. The Alabama Public Television collaboration includes a regular weekly appearance by Don Dailey of the television program “Capitol Journal” when the state legislature is available.

 

WBHM also partners with the Birmingham News/Alabama Media Group, the Birmingham Business Journal and the weekly publication Weld for Birmingham. Writers and editors from those publications regularly appear on WBHM, while WBHM reporters have had their work repurposed for use in print and online with those same outlets.

 

  1. 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.

WBHM’s Issues and Ales series have continued to resonate in the region and the state. The 2014 series on the crisis in Alabama Prisons was influential in nurturing discussions that led to legislation in the state in 2015, and 2016 plans to replace the current overcrowded and obsolete prisons in the coming years. WBHM was one of several media outlets involved with sustaining community engagement on the topic, including a 2014 conversation over solutions aired nationwide by NPR during Morning Edition by two civic leaders who would have otherwise been thought to be adversaries. 2014 efforts had direct results in 2015. http://www.npr.org/2014/08/07/338498177/political-adversaries-work-to-reduce-alabama-s-prison-population

WBHM broadcast and podcast monthly storytelling series in partnership with the non-profit Arc Stories of Birmingham, and related program and media sponsorship has helped lead to routine sellouts of Arc Stories live events at the Avon Theater in Birmingham. Arc Stories is also compelling, diverse content on the radio and online. https://news.wbhm.org/series/arc-stories/

In 2015, the Heroin Crisis in Alabama was a major concern, but not simple to fully address. The WBHM Issues and Ales event, plus several long-form news features on the many related issues around the epidemic throughout the year kept attention on the topic in a thoughtful and insightful way. https://news.wbhm.org/feature/2015/a-recovering-addicts-story-in-her-own-words/

https://news.wbhm.org/series/heroin-in-alabama/

  1. 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.

WBHM is one of 15 public media stations across the United States to be partnered with an independent producer to reach diverse, new audiences and tell new stories as a part of the project, “Localore.” The Localore project “Finding America,” from the Association of Independents in Radio (AIR), will go deep into the Birmingham neighborhood of Ensley. Ensley is a largely African-American historic community that has had challenging times in recent decades.

Producer Mary Quintas has been leading a team and meeting with community organizations, neighborhood associations, schools and religious groups to tell them about the project and hear what the community is concerned about. Broadcast and online content will begin in 2016.

WBHM does not broadcast in any language other than English, but does have an ongoing community sponsorship relationship with HICA, the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama. WBHM also produced a major, multi-part series on Bilingual Education in the South, in partnership with the Southern Education Desk, Renaissance Journalism, and the Ford Foundation.

WBHM creates content for and is the home of the Alabama Radio Reading Service (ARRS). ARRS serves North Central Alabama’s blind and print-impaired community with news, information, entertainment and access to cultural opportunities, via FM subcarrier and internet audio.

 

  1. 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 an essential foundation for mission focus as well as finances. As the largest single source of programming funding, CPB support allows WBHM to maintain the editorial infrastructure needed to provide ongoing coverage and in-depth reports on issues and concerns with a unique perspective relevant to Birmingham and North Central Alabama.

CPB funding is an essential foundation for mission focus as well as finances. As the largest single source of programming funding, CPB support allows WBHM to maintain the editorial infrastructure needed to provide ongoing coverage and in-depth reports on issues and concerns with a unique perspective relevant to Birmingham and North Central Alabama.