Local Content and Services Report

Interlochen Public Radio reports annually to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting on the ways our reporting and community partnerships impact our region.  Below you will find our 2015 Local Content and Services Report.

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.

Interlochen Public Radio is committed to providing relevant issues-based news and information to its broadcast and online audiences. Issues of particular importance in northern Michigan include the environment, agriculture, development, health care, poverty and arts and culture. We also offer a classical music service on our second station. 

Arts and culture is essential to our mission at IPR. The northern Michigan community we serve has a remarkably rich and diverse arts community and we see serving that community as key to our mission, based at a world-class center for the arts. We also look for ways to connect and collaborate with various arts organizations in the region as well as other public media organizations in the system, including Michigan Radio, the Michigan Public Radio Network and WBEZ in Chicago. 

As we look to the future, we are rapidly evolving to take advantage of the digital space to disseminate content and reach out to new audiences. This has involved staff training and audience research as well as a reorganization within Interlochen Center for the Arts to avail ourselves of the resources across campus to begin planning for a strategic digital strategy for the entire institution. Our audiences include much of northern lower Michigan and part of the Upper Peninsula.

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.

Our partners and collaborators have included: Michigan Radio, The Environment Report, the Michigan Public Radio Network, National Public Radio, and WBEZ in Chicago. We also work closely with a number of non-profit community and arts organizations, including Building Bridges with Music,  Michigan Writers, the National Writers Series and the Crooked Tree Arts Center. We also closely collaborate with Interlochen Center for the Arts which is a world-renowned arts institution and center for life-long learning about the arts that features live performances, an arts based boarding school, a summer camp and a performance series we are closely involved with. We are currently in a reorganization to take full advantage of the depth of resources at ICA and transform Interlochen Public Radio into Interlochen Public Media in an effort to elevate the profile of the entire institution in a multi-platform distribution strategy. 

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.

Our partnership with Michigan Radio allowed us to provide greater regional context for important news and issues affecting Michiganders. Our work with the Michigan Public Radio Network provided timely, vital content on significant policy and political issues in Michigan. Our partnership with the National Writers Series brought high-profile authors from across the country to our broadcast and elevated the status of the non-profit that brings the authors to town. Our broadcasts of  The New Jazz Archive helped keep this important musical genre vibrant in our community. "Interlochen Public Radio (IPR) not only provides one of the most thorough, timely and trusted news sources in Northern Michigan, but IPR's team of journalists are integral to the regional mediascape. IPR broadcasts episodes of Traverse City's popular National Writers Series and facilitates and airs political debates, and IPR reporters visit local classrooms to impart the skills of journalism," according to Jacob Wheeler, a journalism teacher at Northwestern Michigan College. "We in Northern Michigan are better informed citizens, thanks to IPR.” 

Karen Puschel and Jack Segal, co-chairs of the International Affairs Forum write, "We count Interlochen Public Radio (IPR) as one of our key partners in carrying out these programs and meeting our goals. IPR consistently supports our efforts..." Anne McDevitt, Executive Director of the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra says, "I whole-heartily support Interlochen  Public Radio and their mission. As a local orchestra, they play an important and vital role not only in helping us promote our concerts and events but also help to spread our music by broadcasting the orchestra.” 

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.

Our reporting team has covered a number of issues relevant to minority and other diverse audiences in FY 14.  In FY 14, homelessness and poverty were big stories on our editorial agenda. Additional examples include reporting Linda Stephan did on autism and violence.  She also did a significant reporting series on rural drug deaths in northern Michigan.  Peter Payette reported on tribal fishing rights in FY14. Stories include reporting on the adult foster care system, a planned series on Native American languages and ongoing coverage of homelessness and poverty in the region. Linda also hosted a panel discussion on autism in FY 14. 

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?

CPB funding has been essential to our work at Interlochen Public Radio. Approximately 20 percent of our budget comes from CPB, and without that funding, we would not be able to maintain even a small reporting staff in addition to staffing our regular news and music programs on both stations. IPR is a small station with limited resources.  We are currently in the process of developing a new five year strategic plan for serving our communities on air and through the digital space which will involve an evaluation of our editorial priorities as well as resources needed to cover the important stories for our northern Michigan audience and beyond.