Local Content and Services Report FY2013

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.

WYSU has worked hard to enhance local news and information programming, despite not having the resources to maintain a news department. Over the course of the fiscal year we have solidified our existing partnerships with two high-profile regional newspapers, as well as expanded our partnership with the YSU (our license holder) journalism department.

Additionally we continue to refine our community affairs program Looking Out, a forum for community leaders to come together and discuss local, national and global issues from often unexplored angles. This round-table discussion covers many topics ranging from the economy to foreign policy, and ecology to education.

We have recently initiated a local interview segment called Doing Good, which is an interview segment designed to raise social consciousness and public awareness about salient concerns in our community, as well as highlight good work and honest efforts being directed at these issues. This program encourages listeners to become engaged and involved in projects and activities featured on the show.

WYSU tries to connect with the community by regularly holding listener appreciation events in order to meet community members, obtain their feedback, and adjust station operation based on community response.

WYSU has also developed a detailed Disaster Response and Recovery initiative that better prepares the station to specially operate during emergencies. This initiative has included forming relationships with the local police department, strengthening relationships with university officials, better equipping the station to operate with limited resources, and training staff in emergency procedures. WYSU believes that acting as a reliable emergency information service is a vital community resource.

Finally, in January 2014, WYSU redesigned its website (wysu.org) to be a more user-friendly interface, and to showcase the station’s local and regional engagement.

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.

WYSU has partnerships with several media outlets, one of which (The News Outlet) we were directly involved in providing training and equipment for. The News Outlet is a student-produced news resource designed to deliver high quality news and information while providing a hands-on learning experience for students. WYSU participates as either a media partner or sponsor in multiple events throughout the year including concerts, book clubs, art festivals, and various other community events.

Sponsorships and/or Participation in Community Events:

  • YSU Summer Festival of the Arts
  • Youngstown Area Jewish Film Festival
  • 2012-2013 Season of the Youngstown Symphony
  • Youngstown State University Fall Job Expo
  • 2012 Peace Race
  • 2012 Habitat Home Run
  • Opera Western Reserve's production of The Barber of Seville
  • YSU Dana Jazz Concert
  • OH WOW! The Roger & Gloria Jones Children's Center sponsorship
  • Ballet Western Reserve’s production of The Golden Nutcracker
  • First Night Youngstown
  • The 2013 Game of Hope
  • Mad About the Arts 2013
  • Ballet Western Reserve Building Art Four
  • YSU Spring Career Fair
  • 2013 Youngstown Crossword Puzzle Tournament
  • The Dana School of Music presents Mahler Symphony #2 at Stambaugh Auditorium
  • Pittsburgh Symphony at the Scottish Rite Cathedral
  • Vibrant NEO Community Workshops (6)

WYSU Members or Special Events:

  • WYSU Members’ Monthly Movie Night (X 12)
  • The Genghis Barbie Concert & After Party 
  • Wait, Wait Cinecast
  • WYSU Listener Appreciation Gatherings (May 29th, June 5th)

WYSU Media & Community Partnerships:

  • Mill Creek MetroParks
  • The Vindicator
  • The Business Journal
  • The News Outlet
  • YSU Department of Journalism
  • Vibrant NEO
  • Youngstown Symphony Orchestra
  • Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

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.

The clearest measurable perceived impact of our initiatives and partnerships has been the dramatic growth of participation on our social media platforms. Because WYSU’s social media platforms are a key way the station highlights its initiatives and partnership, the rapid growth of our social media communities is an indication and measure of our constituents’ enhanced awareness, and of the impact of our efforts have had upon our constituents.

Other success indicators are primarily anecdotal from partners who noted the response to a story on WYSU or requests for information made available on the air, on our website or social media, and of course . We will attempt to develop more rigorous measurable tools for major initiatives and programs this fiscal year.

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

WYSU maintains a speakers bureau through which station personnel provide presentations about WYSU, the radio industry, radio technology and radio history. During the last fiscal year we actively promoted this program on-air, on our website, and on our social media platforms.

Also throughout the year we continued to provide studio time, production assistance, program hosting and on-line archiving of the award-winning, local community affairs program Life on Life's Terms, a program produced by and primarily for members of the local minority community. This program is hosted by minorities and targets individuals with substance abuse problems.

WYSU is constantly expanding its support for university and community-based events especially directed at diverse audiences. The station’s public affairs programming frequently address topics of special concern to the minority community. In its marketing strategies, WYSU attempts to increase the minority community’s awareness of our programming.

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?

The CPB CSG accounts for approximately 13% of WYSU’s budget. The grant is part of a delicate balance of funding sources that makes up a 1+ million dollar budget for WYSU. YSU supplies about 55% of our budget, Membership about 20%, Business Support about 12%. Each source impacts the others.

Without that CPB grant, the diversity of our program offerings and our reach throughout the region would both likely significantly diminish. For instance, it would be a challenge to maintain the translators in under-served communities like Ashtabula and New Wilmington. It is possible that we would have to cut some programming, or make a decision choosing between local programming and network news programs, or even personnel decisions on already pared to the bone staffing. There is no question that there would be noticeable service reduction of some kind.

Compounding the funding concerns for WYSU-FM is the very real threat of cuts in university funding, as the university continues to experience a sizeable reduction in state funding and a decline in student numbers. I fear that CPB funding cuts combined with a cut in general fund support from the university could dramatically alter the service WYSU provides to the community. There are few options to make up significant operational funding deficits from any source in our very challenging market (low education levels & severe population drop). It's a delicate budget balance and it is an extremely tight budget.

I continue to believe WYSU-FM is an extremely valuable resource to a struggling community and will be a key element in its revitalization. The CPB CSG is critical to its existence.