Telling WFAE's Story In FY2014

(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.

Seven 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.

WFAE offers online-only content that discusses politics and food. The station also worked with local partners to provide teens the opportunity to learn how to record, edit and produce audio content.

WFAE partners with a variety of non-profit organizations to promote community events, performances, lectures, forums and festivals that 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 FY14, WFAE hosted five Public Conversations forums. “The Gathering Power of Food” delved into food’s role in marking life events and how to preserve its “gathering power” in today’s “fast food society” and busy lifestyles.

“On Location: The Charlotte Area Film Industry” was a two-part conversation. The first half of the forum provided an overview of local productions, facilities, and personnel. The second part looked at state incentives and the future of the region’s film industry including the prospects for sustaining and growing this part of the local economy.

“Charlotte’s Arts and Culture Groups: How Can They Survive... and Thrive?” explored the financial struggles of arts and cultural organizations in the wake of the recession and cutbacks in community funding and donations.

“Your HOA & You: Who Rules the Neighborhood?” addressed the pros and cons of living in a community with a homeowners association.

“What’s In Our Water?” examined the cleanliness of the current water supply, threats to water quality, and the proper roles of local and state governments, business and industry, and the public in developing and maintaining sustainable water quality.

In partnership with the local library, the local school system, and two area broadcasting schools, “Turn It Up: Teen Radio” incorporated literacy and public speaking into a curriculum that exposes teens to the industry of journalism and radio broadcast. Teens were mentored by industry professionals and challenged every month to create and produce their very own radio show.

In FY14, WFAE partnered with 8 theater groups, 4 museums, 3 educational institutions, the symphony, a golf tournament, a community organization and two cultural festivals. 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, another festival highlight Jewish films, and a debate among candidates for the local school board.

“Charlotte Talks,” our local talk show, went into the community for 3 events that were recorded for broadcast. The topics covered education and literacy, a forum with local legislators from both parties, and minor league baseball. Almost 700 people attended these remote shows

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 600 people attended our Public Conversations Series forums in FY14. 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 30 patients in the region.


“Excellent! It was fun and I met a few new people I plan to get together with. It really was a ‘gathering’ event!” – Public Conversations attendee, The Gathering Power of Food

“I appreciated everyone being there, especially Jon Sanders. It is not an easy thing to do when you know most of the people in the room don’t share the same view. All of the Panelists were well prepared and had a good working knowledge of the topic discussed.” – Public Conversations attendee, On Location: The Charlotte Area Film Industry

“It has spurred me to develop a recurring informational indoctrination program for my neighborhood - not just giving the new residents all the documents and having a condensed version of the canons (which we do).” – Public Conversations attendee, Your HOA & You: Who Rules the Neighborhood?

“The panelists were articulate and well spoken. I didn't agree with all of them, but they made me think.” – Public Conversations attendee, What’s in our Water?

“My husband and I both discussed how great it was to listen to people discussing a topic in intelligent civil conversation. It was both informative and refreshing.” – Public Conversations attendee, What’s in our Water?

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 2014, and any plans you have made to meet the needs of these audiences during FY 2015. If you regularly broadcast in a language other than English, please not 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.

Both the news department and “Charlotte Talks” covered topics such as, refugee resettlement, North Carolina’s eugenics program and compensation for victims, services and programs to help Charlotte’s homeless population, veterans programs, and challenges facing young black men and their families.

“Charlotte Talks” also explored the growing poverty in North Carolina, life after prison for women, and human trafficking.

The news department covered stories around the LGTB community such as archiving Charlotte’s history of LGBT and policies to accommodate transgender people on college campuses. The news department also highlighted programs that helped at-risk Latina girls to graduate from high school and teen mothers earn their high school diplomas. Finally, the news department reported on a city task force that studied how Charlotte could be more immigrant-friendly.

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.