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THE MISSION OF WFWM
Public Radio from Frostburg State University
The mission of WFWM Public Radio is to assist Frostburg State University by providing a radio broadcasting service that is a positive reflection of the University’s quality, diversity and value by providing programming of the highest standards to residents of the western Maryland area, by providing experiential learning opportunities to the University’s students, faculty and staff and by helping to define Frostburg State University and the region in a positive manner.
WFWM’s PRINCIPLES AND VALUES
To be a primary and indispensible radio service for Frostburg State University and the residents of western Maryland and surrounding regions.
WFWM Station Activity Survey FY2014
Submission to Corporation for Public Broadcasting
Telling Public Radio's Story
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.
As affirmed in our mission statement, the vision of WFWM Public Radio is to be a primary and indispensable radio service for Frostburg State University and the residents of western Maryland and surrounding regions. To achieve this vision, WFWM Public Radio has recognized the need to be a catalyst for high-quality, culturally-enriching and educational programming, both on-air and in our local community.
WFWM Public Radio offers a diverse on-air program schedule that is unique and helps to achieve the station’s vision. WFWM is the only local source for NPR News programming, which provides award-winning, in-depth international and national news coverage. Classical, Jazz, Blues, Bluegrass, Celtic, Big Band, Alternative and American roots music programs are a few of the locally-produced music programs available from WFWM alone. Many of our on-air staff are community volunteers, who are actively engaged in the local music and arts scene. In addition, WFWM routinely presents local artists and organizations that perform or support these formats in our community as part of our on-air programs.
WFWM Public Radio also feels that it is important to support community events, organizations and artists that reflect our diverse on-air programming. For example, if WFWM is going to present Classical music on-air then we need to assist Classical music presenters in our local community. To this end, WFWM continues to assists organizations like the Cultural Events Series at Frostburg State University, the Allegany Arts Council, Mountainside Baroque, Music at Penn Alps, the Cumberland Choral Society and our local schools to provide Classical music events. Similar efforts are made to support each and every format included on WFWM.
WFWM Public Radio continues to explore ways to provide better coverage of community news and issues. In 2014, WFWM became a member of the Allegany County Chamber of Commerce and is in discussions with the Chamber and The Republican newspaper in Garrett County to provide candidate forums for local elections. WFWM and the City of Frostburg are cooperating to provide resources to allow the airing of city council meetings as well as news updates. WFWM would also like to increase the presence of local non-profit organizations on the air.
2. 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.
As our mission statement clearly states, WFWM Public Radio is committed to having a positive impact on the quality of life of residents of the western Maryland region. WFWM believes that we should bring the community into our on-air programming and bring our on-air programming out into the community. To achieve this goal, WFWM must cooperate with, and support, other local community non-profits, government and educational organizations as they provide cultural programming for local residents. In fact, WFWM recognizes that its ability to collaborate with these various organizations is vital to its survival.
In that spirit, here is a rundown of some of the cultural and educational events, programs and activities and the organizations that WFWM was involved with during FY2014.
WFWM continued its partnership with the Allegany Arts Council and Dr. Ken Roberts in presenting the Roots Music Series concerts, which showcase a variety of musical traditions (such as bluegrass, folk, country, blues and gospel). The Roots Music Series in FY2014 featured Rhonda Vincent and the Rage for our Spring concert and the Rambling Rooks and Kenny & Amanda Smith Band for our Fall concert.
The Cumberland Jazz Society held its Jazz Appreciation Month celebration in April 2014. WFWM was a sponsor and helped handle the promotions for the events, which included performances by the U.S. Army Blues jazz band, the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Jazz Orchestra, under the direction of internationally renowned saxophonist and clinician Chris Vadala, and Potomac State College Jazz Band.
As part of our ongoing involvement with DelFest, WFWM, with support from local businesses, sponsored scholarships to the DelFest Academy that allowed seven area high school students to attend the instructional music camp. The students received personal instruction on their chosen instruments (three on guitar, two on fiddle) from members of the Del McCoury Band and the Gibson Brothers.
WFWM sponsored and helped emcee the Sunday in the Park concert series. Presented by the Allegany Arts Council, the 15 concert series featured local and regional bands performing in the amphitheater of Constitution Park in Cumberland, MD.
WFWM cooperated with Frostburg First and the City of Frostburg to provide an evening of live on-air music in conjunction with their Cruisin’ Main Street Frostburg event, which saw participation from over 200 classic cars and their owners.
WFWM was the official media sponsor of Frostburg State University’s annual Appalachian Festival. Station personnel acted as emcees at both stages of the festival. WFWM also had an information booth which was manned by station personnel set-up during the event.
WFWM was a main organizer and presenter, along with Del’s Army, of the Cumberland Lions Club’s 21st Mid-Atlantic Grand Fiddle, Banjo, and Mandolin Championship. The event also included a concert featuring the Steep Canyon Rangers. As part of its support, WFWM purchased musical instruments that were awarded to the Youth category winners. WFWM also provided the venues and publicity for the event.
Front & Centre Stage Productions & WFWM presented a Halloween radio drama featuring the works of Edgar Allen Poe. WFWM recorded a live performance of the radio drama and aired it on the station.
WFWM organized and presented several concerts featuring local student musicians, including a “Music in Our Schools Month” concert and a holiday concert at the C. William Gilchrist gallery. Many of the student musicians that were involved in these events were featured in on-air interviews and performances on WFWM.
WFWM also continued to cooperate with a number of local Classical music performance groups to help increase awareness of their events, including Mountainside Baroque, the Cumberland Choral Society and the Appalachian Ballet Theatre. Representatives of each of these groups were guests, and often performers, for two hours during our local Classical music programming.
WFWM personnel presented over 15 Big Band and Country Swing sing-along shows in ten different senior, nursing and assisted living centers throughout the WFWM listening area during FY2014.
WFWM personnel participated in many more community events that are not listed here. They worked as emcees, organizers and promoters. WFWM continues to make a concerted effort to promote local musicians, organizations and events throughout our broadcast area. WFWM recognizes that the local community is the heart of the station. WFWM will continue reach out to our community in as many ways as possible.
By helping to organize, promote and support not only the various cultural events, but also the many organizations that with whom we partnered, WFWM continues to have a positive impact on the economic development of our area.
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.
WFWM Public Radio continued to search for ways to expand our positive impact in our community in FY2014. WFWM features a diverse program schedule full of cultural, educational and music programs that is unique in the station’s community. WFWM continued to present activities both on-air and off that entertained, educated and served our community.
In addition, WFWM helped dozens of local organizations organize, present, and promote events and activities that literally thousands of people attended in FY2014. Our positive impact on our community can be measured several ways, including increased public support, increased community partnership and economic impact.
As a public radio station, WFWM is uniquely positioned to help local government agencies reach their constituencies. In FY2014, WFWM began working with local organizations and governments to provide better dissemination of information to the public. WFWM and the mayor and city council of Frostburg began discussions to broadcast their monthly meetings. In addition, WFWM was approached by the staff of The Republican, a weekly newspaper serving Garrett County in Maryland, with an offer to broadcast their local candidates’ forums. WFWM became a member of the Allegany County Chamber of Commerce in FY14. As a result, plans are in place for WFWM to broadcast the local candidates’ forums for Allegany County, which are organized and hosted by the chamber.
In FY2014, WFWM started several new collaborations with local arts organizations. For example, WFWM became a major sponsor/organizer of the Cumberland Jazz Society. David Kauffman, coordinator of the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Jazz Orchestra, remarked that “the relationship that the Cumberland Jazz Society enjoys with WFWM is critical to the success of many of our programs. WFWM is the only station in the local market that airs jazz. By partnering with WFWM, the Cumberland Jazz Society is able to spread the word to our target market about our programs. Our Jazz Appreciation Month activities, as well as the CJS Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Jazz Orchestra would be markedly diminished without the support of Chuck Dicken and 91.9 WFWM Public Radio."
WFWM also sponsored and help organize the Sunday in the Park concert series with the Allegany Arts Council. Emily Thomas, Assistant to the Executive Director of the Allegany Arts Council, said of the collaboration, "As a result of WFWM's partnership with the Allegany Arts Council on our annual Sunday in the Park concert series, we saw an increase in attendance as well as a greater diversity in the variety of music we were able to present. WFWM's collaborative efforts have been an invaluable resource to our outreach within the community."
In FY2014, organizations like the Cumberland Lions Club, Allegany Arts Council, Frostburg First and the Allegany Arts Council requested WFWM Public Radio’s participation in their activities, because they recognize what WFWM has to offer their events.
Public contributions are often used as an indicator of a station’s impact on its listeners. WFWM Public Radio has seen increased public support in each of the past six years. In FY2014, WFWM saw its largest increase in listener support of the past ten years. As a result, WFWM saw its public support increase to over $70,000. WFWM is located in one of the poorest counties with one of the highest unemployment rates in Maryland and the station lacks a dedicated development staff member. To have an increase of this size in public support is a sign of the positive impact that WFWM is having on its listeners. WFWM appreciates all of the support our listeners have generously given the station.
As our mission statement says, “WFWM is committed to programming, both on- and off-air, that positively impacts the quality of life of residents of the western Maryland region.”
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 2014, 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.
WFWM Public Radio is licensed to Frostburg State University, which continues to see an increase in the diversity of its student body. Through our affiliation with the university and as the only non-commercial, public radio station in Allegany County, WFWM recognizes that it has a unique obligation to provide programming that promotes the valuing of cultural diversity.
Fully this obligation, however, continues to be difficult. WFWM continues to include a great variety of diverse musical styles in its program schedule. Many of these programs regularly feature the contributions of African-Americans. Our Jazz and Blues programs, in particular, are a reflection of the contributions of African-Americans to, not only the musical heritage of our country, but also of our own region.
WFWM continues to push for the development of an on-going series of short segments that focus on African-Americans’ in Allegany County. In FY2014, WFWM again reached out to representatives of the local county chapter of the NAACP, the University’s student NAACP chapter and the University’s African-American Studies program to collaborate on the project. Members of the Philosophy Department at Frostburg State University have offered to help due research for the project.
The station continues to promote participation by minority students in station activities, including our student-run intranet station, the radio workshop course taught in WFWM studios and our community outreach programs. In FY2014, the percentage of African-American students participating at WFWM increased to 80%.
In FY2014, WFWM continued to be involved in numerous community events, including many that featured African-American and other minority performers. WFWM became a major sponsor/organizer of the Cumberland Jazz Society. WFWM continues to be a financial supporter of the Appalachian Festival, which includes elements related to African-American heritage in Allegany County.
WFWM recognizes the importance of continuing to pursue cultural diversity in our programming and in our community. We will continue to work with organizations like the Allegany Arts Council and Frostburg State University to create new opportunities to promote cultural diversity.
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?
Despite seeing continuing increases in listener and business support, loss of CPB funding would be devastating to WFWM Public Radio. The immediate impact of the loss of CPB funds would be felt in staffing. That would be quickly followed by a severe cutback in our ability to provide cultural and educational programming both on-air and in our community. That cutback would be further amplified by the loss of support to the many community organizations with whom WFWM partners. As mentioned previously, WFWM is located in one of the poorest counties in Maryland. The loss of the Community Service Grant that WFWM receives from CPB would drastically reduce our capability to bring our unique on- and off-air programming to an underserved area and would be sorely missed.
CSG funding allows WFWM to currently employ two part-time employees. One is a local host for Morning Edition. That position allows the station to have a local live presence during morning drive time. As a result, WFWM is capable of reporting school closings, weather reports, local news and community calendars in live time. This is fundamentally the most basic of radio public services and exactly what listeners want. In the past, we have tried automated means, volunteers and other methods to deliver this information in the morning. We have found that a paid position is the most effective way to make this work. Our second part-time employee serves as an Administrative Assistant. Through that employee’s efforts, WFWM has connected with many more community, government, cultural and educational organizations. These connections have led to better service to our listeners through an increase in public service announcements and additional cooperative off-air programming opportunities. Without CPB funding, it is unlikely WFWM would be able to raise enough funds to keep them.
In programming CPB funding continues to cover the cost of our NPR programming. NPR is a backbone of our programming and provides a level of national and international news coverage and commentary as well as cultural programming that is not available from the local commercial radio stations. A significant portion of our support from local businesses comes directly from underwriting during NPR programming. There is little doubt that that support would diminish if WFWM lost NPR programming due to a loss of CPB funds to pay for it. In addition CPB funding allows WFWM to bring top quality musical programs such as jazz, classical, new age and gospel music from around the world to listeners.
WFWM also supports and produces community events and programs that we would not be able to afford without CPB funding. Events such as our “Saturdays On Broadway” concerts that WFWM organizes along with the Frostburg First program would disappear. Last year, WFWM purchased musical instruments that were given as prizes to the Youth category winners of the Cumberland Lions Club’s Mid-Atlantic Grand Fiddle, Banjo and Mandolin Championship. We also funded a scholarship for a local student to attend the DelFest Academy and learn from professional musicians during the camp. We continue to work with the Allegany Arts Council to present the Roots Music Series of concerts that bring some of the best American roots music performers to western Maryland and help keep our musical heritage alive. CPB funding made all of it possible.
WFWM continues to see increased growth in listener support each year. WFWM attributes much of that increase to its efforts at community outreach, better on-air service and close cooperation with local non-profits. There can be little doubt that the loss of CPB funds would have a dramatic negative effect on virtually all those efforts.