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.

WUNC creates and distributes content with the lofty aspiration of making the world a better place.We produce news stories, interviews, digital content, podcasts, music programs and long-form productions that are designed to engage, entertain and empower individuals to make good decisions.

Long and short-form content – WUNC News produces 27 live newscasts each weekday.  These newscasts vary in length and all include original reporting.  The newscasts are integrated into Morning Edition, 1A, Here and Now and All Things Considered.    The frequency of newscast ensures that news and information that is critical to the communities served by WUNC reaches as broad an audience as possible.  In addition to newscasts, WUNC News Reporters produce regular long-form audio reports that explore issues in-depth. 

Digital engagement – WUNC has an active web, social media and podcast strategy designed to reach new users with critical information in the on-demand world.  Radio reports are adapted for digital and distributed online and on social media to reach as broad an audience as possible.  In addition to re-working radio stories for digital engagement WUNC launched a series of new digital-first initiatives.  They included the release of the new podcast “Stories with a Heartbeat.”  Following this successful launch, four more digital first podcasts were launched in FY17.  These podcasts focused on young, diverse voices and on the essential information needs of our listeners.

In-person engagement – WUNC prioritizes in-person engagement.  Nearly every week of the year WUNC is out in the community talking, listening and entertaining.  In addition to the more than 50 donor events WUNC sponsors each year we produce regular free events for the general public.

Free Folk Music Concerts - WUNC hosts a series of free, public events in the communities we serve that are designed to engage with new audiences.  This past fiscal year WUNC hosted 8 free, outdoor concerts in Durham that featured a culturally rich and diverse series of bands and solo musicians.  More than 10,000 people attended the series. 


Live Radio in the Community - WUNC also produces its noontime talk show in front of a live audience in Greensboro, NC once a month. This allows listeners to get up close and personal with the radio production.


Story Circles - This fiscal year WUNC was the host stations for the Storymakers: Durham project.  It was produced in collaboration with the Center for Documentary Studies and Spirit House, an African American women-led community group in Durham.  This was a part of AIR’s Localore Finding America project.  For the Storymakers project we hosted a series of “Story Circles” where we met diverse citizens in their neighborhoods and facilitated tough conversations about race, class and community.

Education services – WUNC has a series of on-going engagement activities with high school students in the communities we serve.  These activities are designed to introduce WUNC and Public Media to new, younger audiences and to teach them how to produce radio reports in their own voice.    We hope these efforts will build the next generation of public radio listeners and help the current public radio audience better understand the youth of today.  We are accomplishing these goals with two major initiatives:

Summer Youth Reporting Institute - Each summer WUNC hires a team of students for the Summer Youth Reporting Institute.  This team of student reporters work in the WUNC Newsroom and report out stories that are important to their community.  These in-depth, sound-rich, youth-produced features are broadcast on WUNC and published online. 

My Teacher Radio Series & Classroom Engagement - WUNC produces the on-going “My Teacher” project in public schools across the region.  WUNC sends a producer into classrooms to lead a mini-workshop on interviewing, journalism and public media.  The producer then facilitates the recording and production of StoryCorps-style interviews between students and their teachers.  These audio pieces are broadcast on WUNC and published online at


  1. 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.

With support from CPB, WUNC launched the American Homefront Project.This is a national reporting initiative covering military and veterans issues.This four-person project is produced in partnership with KPCC-Southern California Public Radio and KUOW.With an editor and reporter in North Carolina and reporters in Los Angeles and Washington State project reporters broke new ground in coverage of military communities.Our work went far beyond troop deployment, tactics and homecomings and delved into issues like health care, post-military career development, family life and veterans’ access to housing.Reports produced as a part of this project were carried frequently by network programs and all were distributed via PRX.

WUNC is also partnering with the School of Journalism and Media at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a two-year fellowship for a young reporter covering statewide education policy issues.This partnership is funded with support from a local foundation and is designed to both expand WUNC’s education coverage and to train the next generation of public media education reporters.

  1. 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.

WUNC continues to be one of the most listened to radio stations of any kind in the Raleigh Metro Market.For adults (persons 25+) WUNC is the number one station in the market.This alone suggests that the station’s key initiatives and partnerships have had a huge impact on the communities we serve.WUNC News has helped shaped the conversations residents are having about their state government, education, race, veterans and the vibrant military community that calls North Carolina home.WUNC’s primary role in the community is gather and distributed information that helps to create a well-informed and engaged electorate.This goal is difficult to measure as the true impact is found in conversations around dinner tables and in workplaces.

WUNC has had success with its youth initiatives and training efforts.Over the past year we’ve heard from former interns, reporting fellows, youth reporters and mentors who’ve launched careers in public media.One former Youth Reporter from the Summer 2016 team just launched a podcast.A high school teacher in Wake County was inspired by WUNC’s Youth Initiatives and is now using audio production and podcasting as a part of his curriculum.

  1. 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 2016, and any plans you have made to meet the needs of these audiences during Fiscal Year 2017. If you regularly broadcast in a language other than English, please note the language broadcast.

This fiscal year WUNC reassigned one of its most experienced reporters to cover Race and Southern Culture.By creating this new beat WUNC is prioritizing the needs of minority and diverse audiences and is working to create broader understanding of those communities.In the short time since the Race and Southern Culture beat was created our reporter produced an in-depth series focused on the challenges of rural education in Vance County.Our reporter also filed stories on efforts to re-build slave cabins and the needs to diversify economic opportunity in rural, predominantly African American parts of the state.

  1. 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?

CPB funding serves as the foundation for all of WUNC’s programming and complimentary fundraising.The CPB funding is primarily used to pay for network programming which is at the core of WUNC’s service to the community.In addition, WUNC is able to leverage the investment from CPB to generate more than $9,000,000 in contributions, grants and major gifts from the community.The CPB funding allows WUNC to re-invest these listener dollars into local programming and reporting.