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Local Content and Services Report

Local Content and Services Report

WNCW is a department of Isothermal Community College. The college is the station’s license holder and we function just as any other department of the college does. We support the college’s educational goals through the operation of a full service public radio station that provides news, information and music programming in an effort to encourage the life-long pursuit of learning. We serve our listening region in a variety of ways. We feel it’s important to help encourage creativity, innovative thinking, the arts, the history of our region, and economic development within the Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina region that makes up our listening area. We accomplish this by working with partners in our area to identify and address issues of concern. We strive to create respect for the cultural diversity that is such an important part of our service area. This strategy has served us well for 32 years serving Western North Carolina.

We provide our audience with local and regional news stories, features, and weekly one on one interviews that highlight the efforts and opportunities provided by, health agencies, environmental agencies and organizations, municipalities, educational institutions, arts organizations, community organizations, and non-profits from across our listening area. Arts organizations can announce their events on our free weekday calendar listing of area arts events called “Art Break” which runs multiple times throughout the week. Additionally, we provide an on-line “Community Calendar,” where various agencies and organizations can share their events on our website.

We feel one of our most important goals is that of preserving and highlighting the rich musical heritage that is such a part of our region and its implications on our culture, through music and informational programming. WNCW provides an eclectic blend of music on a daily basis. Most of our programming is locally produced and includes programs like: Goin’ Across the Mountain - highlighting bluegrass music, This Old Porch – highlighting folk music, Celtic Winds – highlighting Celtic music, The Saturday Night House Party – highlighting the blues music that originated in the upstate of South Carolina, The Gospel Truth – highlighting gospel and bluegrass gospel music, Local Color –highlighting the music of local and regional artists, and many others. Perhaps our “crowning jewel” is our live performance studio, Studio B. We are fortunate to have a plethora of local, regional, and national artists that tour through the area. In Studio B our personalities conduct interviews and the artists provide live performances that go much further in depth than simply playing a song on the air. Our audience gets a chance to learn the history of the music and a deeper look at the influences on the artists, who they are, what their music means to them, and what they hope it means to the listener.

WNCW offers an internship program for broadcasting students. Students from Isothermal, as well as other area colleges and universities, get a “hands on” experience in all facets of station operations. Our internships provide genuine learning experiences in every department from programming, to membership, development, and business, giving the interns a “hands on” experience before they seek to enter the workforce. Additionally, WNCW works with Isothermal Community College Broadcasting students, who create on-air programming that airs weekly on the station.

Our efforts have made us a respected and sought after partner and given us a reputation for excellence in public broadcasting known far beyond our service area. We’re thankful for the opportunities we have to help enrich the lives of our audience and those opportunities are not taken for granted. We are a radio family with a common mission and our work is a work of love. It’s not something we do to simply earn a paycheck. WNCW has become a trusted and beloved part of our community and that’s something our entire staff takes very seriously.

WNCW partners with many organizations in support of several key initiatives that include the following:

1 - Preserving the musical heritage of our region

2 - Supporting conservation and revitalization efforts in our communities

3 - Educating and informing our listening audience on matters of concern

Key groups partnered with to preserve our musical heritage include:

a. The Folk Heritage Committee

b. Blue Ridge National Heritage Area

c. The Don Gibson Theatre

d. The Peace Center

e. The Dianna Wortham Theatre

f. Lake Eden Arts Festival

g. Merlefest

h. The Earl Scruggs Center

i. The Blumenthal Performing Arts Center

j. YAM – Young Appalachian Musicians

k. Blue Ridge Music Trails

l. The Earl Scruggs Music Festival

m. Tryon Fine Arts Center

n. The Foundation Performing Arts Center

o. Preservation North Carolina

Key groups partnered with in support of conservation and revitalization efforts

a. NC Co-Operative Extension

b. Riverlink

c. Chimney Rock State Park

d. Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation

e. Town of Hendersonville, NC

f. City of Greenville, SC

g. Town of Saluda, NC

h. Destination Cleveland County

i. Asheville Downtown Assoc.

j. Hagood Mill Historical Site in Pickens, Sc

k. Rutherford County Tourism Development Authority

l. McDowell County Tourism Authority

m. Tryon International Equestrian Center

n. NC Fish and Wildlife Commission

o. Town of Forest City, NC

Key Groups partnered with in support of education and information

a. Red Cross

b. American Heart Association

c. Relay for Life

d. Pardee UNC Healthcare

e. Rutherford Housing Authority

f. Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity

g. Isothermal Community College

h. Rutherford Regional Hospital

i. UNC Asheville

j. Western Carolina University

k. NC State University

l. Wilkes Community College

m. Warren Wilson College

n. Rutherford County Schools

o. Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity

p. Rutherford County Humane Society

The impact of our key initiatives can be seen in various forms. The amazing support that we’ve seen throughout the pandemic from our listener/members is one very obvious way. Despite very difficult times financially for many people, and for our business as well, our members have continued to support WNCW. We have seen some of our largest fund drives, donation wise, in ages over the last year. It is witnessed annually by the large attendance that we have for our fundraising shows that we produce at WNCW. We do an annual bluegrass show and have done a series of socially distanced outdoor drive-in shows here on the college campus, during the pandemic, in an effort to uplift the community. All of our shows have seen huge attendance. We have had a station presence at many festivals, shows, and charity events for local organizations and our members turn out in the masses to show their support. Due to the pandemic, we have cut down tremendously on the number of volunteers that we have in to help during our semi-annual fund drives, but we have droves of loyal supporters who offer their time to help us during fund drives, and with our daily needs to keep the station going with such a small staff. It’s evident through the many phone calls and e-mails we receive from members, and It’s visible in the tremendous support we receive from area businesses that continue to underwrite our programming. One of our best measurements of the impact we have, comes from the comments of our members and those we partner with in our region:

Just wanted to say thanks for the excellent programming on your station. My wife and I live in DC, but we've been vacationing in Lake Lure for the past few weeks and listening to your station every day. We donated about $150 to you guys earlier today as a way to say thanks. Please keep up the good work and tell Trent Henley that his "Dead Air" show is fantastic.

Best,

James Boyle

Hey,

Long story short, I am a 52-year-old man who has been travelling nationwide as a software-engineering consultant since 1998. Short for... I have been everywhere, and heard that for a while. Your station is the best radio station I have encountered in that entire time. Maybe play some Dave Alvin, but otherwise, well done.

Thank you, (I am a loyal fan 'til death)

Dan Jumpeter

Joe:

Just listing to your music set which is always excellent. WNCW is a treasure, both Regional and National! Keep up the great work. I am reminded to pledge now.

Take care.

Malcolm McAvoy

Morristown, TN

Dave –

It was great to see you (and Joe and Martin), great to be with the fans and musicians and of course it is great that you have helped us raise funds for affordable housing! I am so grateful for all that you did. We’re grateful that WNCW is a sponsor of our work – and hope you will let us know if you can come out and volunteer one day.

With lots of gratitude and warm fuzzy feelings,

Beth Russo – Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity

WNCW provides an excellent opportunity for our Broadcasting and Production Technology students to gain, not only academic knowledge, but real life work experience. Students learn the format of the “ARC Overnight” radio program. They also learn how to create and record the programming for “ARC” into their own show that will air on WNCW. The value of such an amazing opportunity for students to gain real world experience in a working radio station, is invaluable. They learn how to follow the format guidelines in preparing and producing their “ARC Overnight” programming.

Broadcasting and Production Technology students are also afforded the opportunity to apply for student internship positions at WNCW. College credit is awarded for the successful completion of an internship.

We also encourage our students to volunteer at WNCW. Many of them also help with the station’s fundraising events and assist the full time staff with their various duties.

It’s an amazing benefit to the students, just to be in the same building with WNCW. It gives them an honest idea of what it takes to run a real public radio station. Students also spend time working in Studio B, where they gain exposure to the many professional musicians who come to WNCW for live performances. We have started working in conjunction with WNCW to video the performances. They’re live streamed on the internet, but students also post the videos to the station YouTube page afterwards. This gives them the opportunity to learn vital editing skills as well. The experience gained by our students, through our working relationship with WNCW is invaluable.

Carolyn Dalton

Lead Instructor, Broadcasting and Production Technology

Isothermal Community College

WNCW’s support of our programming through their Live Music Calendar, and their underwriting announcements has been highly beneficial to growing our business. We have partnered with WNCW for benefit concerts for the station as well. Their partnership with us as a media sponsor of our shows has helped to grow our audience tremendously. Through our partnership with WNCW, we have been able to create new opportunities that mutually benefit the station, our facility and the communities we both serve. WNCW has helped bring in many new people to our theatre, that likely wouldn’t have even known about a small 400 seat venue known as the Don Gibson Theatre, were it not for our exposure on WNCW. Our work with them has definitely helped us reach a much larger audience. I look forward to many years of working with WNCW.

Stan Lowery - Executive Director of The Don Gibson Theatre

WNCW is fully committed to serving the needs of the minority communities in our listening area. We lend support to many local organizations and groups to help further their efforts and address the needs of minorities in a number of methods. We also air various public affairs programing that examines issues of importance to many different minorities. Programs like, Making Contact and 51 Percent. We also produce various features and programs in house that address many of these issues. Our programming consists of various long form shows produced in house, local and national news stories, and features that specifically delve into issues of concern to various minority groups.

Several of our News Director’s “Friday Feature” Interviews, and “More to the Story” features, in the past year focused on minority issues, help available to various minority groups, etc. with conversations like the following:

*In January, Greenville's United Way will team up with Greenville Technical College for an MLK Drive for the college's Re-Entry Coalition. Besides promoting the event, we spoke with Greenville Tech Upstate Returning Citizens Program Director, Sammie Stroud, about working with inmates to prepare them for being released from jail and getting back into society. The interview aired in December 2021.

*In celebration of Black History Month, this Friday Feature Interview of the Week spotlighted the new book called 'The ABC's of Black History' by Author Rio Cortez. Cortez takes each letter of the alphabet to recap historic memories related to African American culture. The author puts a unique spin on every letter with a rhyming verse. This conversation originally aired on February 5, 2021.

*David Weintraub, local filmmaker of over forty documentary films, with The Center for Cultural Preservation, signed a deal with PBS to distribute four of his films to public television stations across the nation. The Center provides Western North Carolina history and events that tell unique stories of how people survived everyday life and dramatic events. This interview aired Oct. 29, 2021.

*The group PAL, formerly Partners for Active Living in Spartanburg, has changed their meaning to now stand for Play, Advocate and Live Well. PAL is about teaching and implementing programs and activities that promote exercise and healthier eating habits. Executive Director Laura Ringo was our guest on August 6, 2021. This included partnering with the Latino and African American community about a healthy lifestyle.

*They are called The Bright Star Touring Theatre and are based in Asheville. They've toured nearly 40-states across the U.S. and when they take the stage, it's performances like 'Heroes of the Underground Railroad' that helps give elementary aged children and community members the chance to view a powerful performance that shares a part of Black History. Actors of the group joined WNCW for an interview in spring 2021.

*Did you know that rates for Diabetes have almost doubled in North Carolina over the last 20-years? Statistics are often higher for the African-American Community. In Western NC, Haywood County is stepping up its efforts to educate the public about signs of the disease and how proper dieting and exercise are crucial. Meagan Houser, Haywood Co. Health Education Specialist was guest on April 30, 2021.

*The Charlotte Hornets, the NBA Pro Basketball team, partnered with Food Lion to provide Thanksgiving meals to some 1,000 families in the Queen City region. During an event held Tuesday, executives and staff from multiple organizations volunteered to help distribute food to families. Those organizations included the Hornets, Food Lion, Coca-Cola and Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina. (Aired in Nov. 2021)

*A benefit in Canton called "Grit and Grace - A Flood Relief Benefit for Haywood County" will take place on October 2nd. The event is a joint effort by the band Balsam Range, The United Way of Haywood County, Town of Canton, Smoky Mountain News, and others. Donations will go towards supporting relief efforts in Haywood County after it was hammered by flooding in August. Arts and Music Editor for Smoky Mountain News, Garret Woodward previews the event. (Interview aired Sept. 24, 2021)

Features and interviews, like the ones above, give WNCW the opportunity to highlight the many needs and issues facing minority communities across our listening area. We are dedicated to bringing these, and many other important issues, to the public. Our end goal is always to provide positive progress to the communities across the region. We believe it’s an important part of the trust placed in WNCW as a public broadcasting station.

WNCW’s CPB funding is essential to our ability to function, without it, we would not able to provide the level and quality of programming that we produce for our audience. We are a small staff, operating a public radio station in Western North Carolina. What we are able to accomplish is amazing to our audience. Everywhere I go, once someone finds out that I’m a WNCW employee, their response is always the same, “Wow, I love your radio station, the programming is amazing.” Without our CPB funding, I would likely never hear those words. This seemingly “never ending” pandemic, has only drove that fact home even further with our entire staff. While our revenue from membership has remained strong, we are in a rebuilding process on the underwriting side of our revenue stream. Many of the businesses that supported our programming via underwriting are no longer in business. Many local businesses that had been WNCW underwriters for years are no more. They were forced to shut down due the pandemic and were never able to re-open. Many that did re-open, are struggling to find employees, struggling to stay afloat and are not financially stable enough to commit part of their operating budget to underwriting again, just yet. Sadly, it’s an all too familiar side effect of the pandemic. Businesses are still struggling. Were it not for our CPB funding, and the additional funding received, we would quite possibly be in the same situation. With the reduction in underwriting revenue, we could have easily used up our reserves.

Our CPB funding allows us to have a professionally trained staff, capable of producing the high quality news, information, and music programming that we have become known for. Additionally, our CPB funding is what gives us the ability to be an NPR member station, providing quality programming like NPR's Morning Edition, NPR New Headlines each hour, and a multitude of other programs. These are programs that we simply don't have the manpower to produce in house on a daily basis, and couldn’t afford without our CPB funding.

Our CPB funding also allows us to keep up with the broadcasting technology that changes on an almost daily basis. Because of our CPB funding, which provides money to cover part of our programming costs, we’re able to use more of our general revenue to maintain, and improve, the broadcast equipment that simply keeps us on the air 24/7/365. This allows us to improve our service to the communities we serve.

In all honesty, without CPB funding, just the day-to-day operation of WNCW would be far more difficult, if it were possible at all. Radio broadcasting is an expensive business at our level. The ability to keep up with the times, technologically speaking, is essential. The CPB funding that WNCW receives is vital to our continued existence and our ability to serve our region with the quality of public radio programming that they expect and deserve.