Telling WFAE's Story In FY2013

(Responses to the following questions were submitted to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting)

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.

Six years ago, WFAE launched a forum series, called Public Conversations. This series is designed to convene Charlotte-area residents for discussion of timely and relevant topics. The goal is to create comfortable settings that encourage stimulating and enlightening exchange of ideas. By organizing these Public Conversations forums, WFAE intends to serve as a catalyst for community dialogue.

The station also partners with a variety of non-profit organizations to promote community events, performances, lectures, forums and festivals that we feel are in alignment with our listeners’ interests.

2. Describe key initiatives and the variety of partners with who 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.

In FY13, WFAE hosted four Public Conversations forums. “Politics in the Streets” looked at the First Amendment rights of protesters coming to Charlotte for the Democratic National Convention, and the city of Charlotte’s plan to maintain order and safety during the convention.

“Respect and Disrespect” explored what many see as a widespread culture of disrespect permeating our society today. Panelists and audience members discussed the causes and effects, and the roles of parents, schools, public figures, and other groups in fostering an atmosphere of respect, or disrespect in the local community.

“Voices in the Gun Debate” examined the current debate on guns and gun violence in America. The forum looked Second Amendment issues, enforcement of gun laws, the politics of the gun control debate, and recent proposals designed to reduce gun violence.

“One Charlotte or Many” addressed whether Charlotte has invested in its Uptown at the expense of neighborhood improvements or if a vibrant Center City contributes to quality of life in other neighborhoods. Panelists and audience members talked about the balance of taxpayer money on public safety, transportation or recreational facilities in different neighborhoods, the most effective ways to invest in older neighborhoods and renovate blighted areas, and if residents have a voice in the city’s neighborhood development plans.

In FY13, WFAE partnered with 6 theatre groups, 4 museums, 4 educational institutions, the symphony, a golf tournament, a historical preservation group, a community organization and a cultural festival. These partnerships covered a wide range of events and activities including a science and technology expo at a local university geared towards children, a community blood drive, a festival celebrating Indian arts and culture, a night at the symphony, and taking Charlotte Talks, our local talk show, to a university for an interview with an author that was recorded for broadcast.

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.

Over 550 people attended our Public Conversations Series forums in FY13. After each forum, a survey is sent to attendees. Results indicated that the majority of respondents learned more about the subject by attending, had a desire to learn more about the issue, and had a desire to share what they learned at the forum with others.

Many of our community partners credit the station’s involvement as a cause for increased attendance at their events. In the case of our annual blood drive, the pints of blood we collected helped 42 patients in the region.


“I appreciated the opportunity to learn and reevaluate my thoughts on protest, the 1st Amendment and protection for the efficiency and service of the city to all its citizens.” – Public Conversations attendee, Politics in the Streets

“Didn’t realize this was such an important topic before I attended. Glad to have heard all sides.” – Public Conversations attendee, One Charlotte or Many

“For the patients who will receive your blood, it is likely the most important thing you did yesterday.” – Community Blood Center of the Carolinas

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

WFAE aired numerous features about and for the minority, international and diverse communities from our local award-winning news department, Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins - our local talk show, and NPR’s news magazines. The local features included Charlotte Sikhs voice safety concerns, helping legal immigrants become citizens, expunging a criminal record, World Refugee Day, a 3-part series on drug shortages, and eating on a food stamp budget. The station continually looks for issues that affect the community including minority and diverse audiences.

5. Please briefly assess the impact that your CPB funding has on your ability to serve your community. What can you do with your grant that you wouldn’t be able to do if you didn’t receive it?

   Without CPB funding, WFAE would not be able to partner with community arts and cultural organizations on outreach events. It would also severely limit the number of news local stories about Charlotte and the surrounding region.