The purpose of this section is to give you an opportunity to tell us and your community about the activities you have engaged in to address community needs by outlining key services provided, and the local value and impact of those services. Please report on activities that occurred in Fiscal Year 2013. Responses may be shared with Congress or the public. Grantees are required to post a copy of this report (Section 6 only) to their website no later than ten (10) days after the submission of the report to CPB. CPB recommends placing the report in an "About" or similar section on your website. This section had previously been optional. Response to this section of the SAS is now mandatory. Joint licensee Grantees that have filed a 2013 Local Content and Services Report as part of meeting the requirement for TV CSG funding may state they have done so in the corresponding questions below, so long as all of the questions below were addressed as they relate to radio operations in such report. You must include the date the report was submitted to CPB along with the TV Grantee ID under which it was submitted.
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.
Delmarva Public Radio (DPR) supports community issues, needs, and interests in a variety of ways. Many public service announcements (PSAs) are read on-air throughout the day. In addition, reviewed/approved PSAs submitted to DPR are listed on our website’s online events calendar (found at Delmarvapublicradio.net). Event cancellations and school closings due to inclement weather are announced to our listeners. DPR also features long form stories, and Delmarva Today, a weekly half hour local program, focusing in-depth on subjects relevant to the people of Delmarva (NOTE: This program has expanded to an hour effective 9/2013 and airs in a delayed form on the local public access TV station). Some examples of these news topics are: homelessness, downtown revitalization, gun violence, immigration and undocumented residents on Delmarva, environmental issues affecting Delmarva’s delicate balance of agriculture, waterways (including the Chesapeake Bay and the Delmarva Peninsula’s rivers, streams, and wetlands), and the region’s economy, along with stories on Lyme disease, the local impact from Hurricane Sandy, and aging. DPR is also a production partner with WEAA’s (Baltimore) Peabody Award-winner Marc Steiner for the program On Delmarva.
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.
Delmarva Public Radio partners with many organizations and agencies across the Delmarva Peninsula. For years, DPR has partnered with Salisbury University’s Communication Arts Department to provide valuable real-life work experience through practicum and intern opportunities for students. These students work in areas ranging from news reporting to marketing and promotions to event planning.
During Hurricane Sandy, DPR partnered with local CBS affiliate, WBOC-TV 16. Through this partnership, we were able to provide our listeners up-to-date storm tracking, damage reports and area closings that our small staff would otherwise be unable to provide in a timely way.
Some of the many organizations featured in news stories or on Delmarva Today are as follows: Non-Profits- Casa de Maryland, The Salvation Army, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Chesapeake Multicultural Center in Easton, Wicomico Environmental Trust, Christian Shelter, Joseph’s House, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, and Life Crisis Center; Government- Salisbury City Council, FEMA, Wicomico County Sheriff Department, Maryland State Police, Mayor of Ocean City Maryland, Eastern Shore Developmental Disabilities Administration Office; Educational Institutions- Salisbury University, Wicomico County Board of Education, and Benedictine School on the Eastern Shore; Business Community- Ocean City Hotel Motel Restaurant Association, Small Business Administration, Worcester County Tourism Office, Ocean City Chamber of Commerce, and the Maryland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
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.
In addition to locally-produced, regionally-focused inserts within NPR’s Morning Edition, Delmarva Public Radio’s primary vehicle for showcasing and exploring issues of local/regional importance – and thereby raising awareness and promoting understanding and community “impact” – is Delmarva Today. Hosted by DPR’s award-winning News Director, Don Rush, this weekly program covers myriad topics of interest, mostly focused on regional governmental issues, politics, economic and environmental issues (and their unique connection on the Delmarva Peninsula), social issues, educational issues (we do, after all, operate from the campus of a Maryland state university), and other topics and current events which are crucial to maintaining and expanding an educated and knowledgeable population capable of civic engagement. In September of 2013, the program was expanded from 30 minutes per week to an hour.
The program features periodic “essays on aging” focusing on the Delmarva Peninsula’s increasing retirement age population. Other issues of community concerns include: transgender awareness, state education issues in Delaware and Maryland, the economic and agricultural effects of regional drought, the Sikh population on the Delmarva Peninsula, a broad scope of environmental issues regarding Delmarva rivers, wetlands, and the Chesapeake Bay, a panel discussion with Black clergy about violence in the area’s minority communities, local citizens’ response to the proposed Dream Act for undocumented workers (recorded on-location at a regional Hispanic Heritage Festival)…the station’s issues and programming file documents in great detail the efforts Don Rush and his small staff of students and volunteers have put into maintaining a credible, viable, and reliable news and public affairs operation under difficult fiscal and staffing circumstances.
The indicators of success can best be identified as the enormous outpouring of public concern, activism, and support which materialized and mobilized when the public debate regarding Delmarva Public Radio’s future grew to a very definitive statement that DPR was valued and worth fighting for. The result – Salisbury University’s strong commitment to DPR and to accepting responsibility for leading the effort to point DPR toward a more sustainable future (essentially granting the stations new leases on life) – is about as powerful a statement on the stations’ impact and potential impact - across many regional, economic, and demographic sectors – throughout the Delmarva Peninsula.
The following are some examples of direct feedback from our listeners and area organizations:
- “I have not found a better source of information on the wide range of topics of importance to me as a citizen of the United States and the world, as well as a resident of the Delmarva area. Without any reservation I can state that my life would be significantly impoverished without access to Delmarva Public Radio.” – Listener Sue Claire Harper of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware - 02/07/13
- “I have been a frequent listener since 1987, usually daily. It was initially an exciting addition to our region, then after a family tragedy in 1990, it became therapy; helping to ground me once again. One of the outstanding local programs was a Don Rush interview on Feb. 24 of this year. G. Ray Thompson, with playwright and author Joel Eis, addressed the history of our first English-speaking play in the New World. It had been performed on the Delmarva Peninsula, in Pungoteague, in 1665. It was an early representation of ‘taxation without representation.’ Having our Salisbury University’s Nabb Center and our Delmarva Public Radio media to highlight our own regional history, some of which has national significance, is a joy. Being able to hear local, state, national, and world news is important citizen education. All of this, combined with classical music, is a treasure we should not lose.” – Listener Bonnie Barnidge of Salisbury, MD – 11/25/12
- “Over the years, Coastal Concerts has enjoyed a strong partnership with WSCL radio (89.5FM), operated by the Salisbury University Foundation. In addition to its classical music programming, WSCL produces local content and often features segments on Coastal Concerts’ programs, artists and musical selections. A recent study commissioned by the foundation recommended that WSCL’s local programming be replaced with syndicated content. This would deprive arts organizations such as Coastal Concerts of a resource that we believe contributes to our success.” – Denise Emery, President Coastal Concerts – 11/09/12
- “Delmarva Public Radio has provided a critical outlet for local and regional issues in addition to being our local source of NPR programming. While there may be other sources of NPR broadcasting in our area, no one else provides the coverage of regional issues that DPR does. DPR has provided coverage of the local election issues, the ongoing struggle between the rights of developers versus the needs of the citizens, the difficulties in maintaining a vibrant farming community in an environmentally sensitive area and much more. Regardless of which side of the issue you support, it is critical that we maintain an outlet that all sides of these local issues may be heard and the issues be debated in a rational manner.” Listeners Thomas S. Panetta and Richard Scalenghe of Lewes, Delaware – 11/12/12
- “The public radio domain allows producers to present stories which clarify relevant and specific concerns of the area. Over the last few years, Delmarva Today has presented shows on small business startups as well as success stories; consumer fraud; prayer at public meetings; hospice/palliative care services; bereavement counseling; the value of vocational/career education; successful African-American businesses; climate change as it relates to the Delmarva Peninsula; healthcare; financial literacy; the role of local sheriffs; foreclosure issues; preparing special needs students for the world of work; local political issues; the importance of caring for the elderly; honoring our veterans and more. These are just a sampling of the themes presented, which demonstrates how a local radio station can communicate and educate its audience in subjects of direct interest to them. WSDL is a locally run, funded, and supported public radio station, intimately involved with the Eastern Shore community.” – Jim White, Volunteer producer for Delmarva Public Radio – 11/19/12
- “The citizens of Talbot County rely on Delmarva Public Radio for news and public service announcements pertaining to local events. We are dedicated listeners to the station and express heartfelt appreciation for the University’s past and current supportive efforts regarding public radio on the Eastern Shore. Your continuing consideration of support for Delmarva Public Radio in its current format is respectfully requested. It is my hope that Salisbury University, in conjunction with the proposal and efforts of Friends of Delmarva Public Radio, can move forward to offer continued support to this long-standing and essential community service. – R. A. H., Talbot County - 02/12/13
- “I listen to the station principally to take advantage of its classical music-content but am most grateful as well for the care its announcers take to read up on the composer and the specific work about to be played and thus to set the piece in its historical and artistic context. I should be most disappointed to suffer the loss of this feature of WSCL that surely comes under the heading of life-long learning. My wife, Ronya J. Driscoll, who served for many years on the Talbot Arts Council and before that with the NEA and other arts organizations in Washington, reminds me of the valuable service WSCL performs in keeping us informed of local artistic presentations such as the Chamber Music Festival and events at the Avalon, the Arts Academy, and other non-profits that depend on WSCL’s excellent support.” – Listener D. D., Oxford, MD – 01/08/13
- “The very people who listen to public radio are generally those who are interested and have the means to support local performances, art events, and other activities of the Delmarva Peninsula. As President of the Talbot County Arts Council, I can assure you that local radio announcements of art related programs increase participation which not only enhances the cultural life of the community but also has a strong economic benefit.” – A. J. L., Talbot County – 01/13/13
- “This station helps to elevate the university and the entire community from a Delmarva backwater to a place of reason, informed decision-making, and togetherness. This station is a remarkable achievement, a jewel, a model. My husband and I are long-time listeners and supporters. Thank you so much for improving our lives over these many years.” – K. Q., Berlin, MD – 10/15/12
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 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.
In Fiscal Year 2013, Delmarva Public Radio continued its outreach and support of various minority groups. DPR utilized the WSCL sub-carrier to broadcast to the large Haitian community of Delmarva. It features twenty-four hours a day news, information and music in the Haitian Creole language.
Through sponsorships, DPR supported and promoted the Eastern Shore Senior Games held annually at Salisbury University, and the Rehoboth Summer Children’s Theatre. DPR featured long form stories, and Delmarva Today, focused in-depth on various topics including those issues geared to Delmarva’s immigrant, aging, transgender, and disabled populations.
In respect to our music programming, Latin composers are always well represented in all classical music programming, and Delmarva Public Radio had specifically worked the past few years in “mainstreaming” composers of color into our local programming through the year. Classical music regularly highlights artists of many countries and ethnicities, and new concert music releases are increasingly enmeshed with influences of world music from all cultures, not just European. In Fiscal Year 2014, our series “Great African American Voices” airs in February in honor of Black History month, for Women’s History month in March our special series will focus on female composers.
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?
Considering the pivotal nature of FY2013 in the stations’ history, it’d be difficult – if not impossible – to overstate the importance of CPB funding to Delmarva Public Radio…or to provide a more poignant example of the need for such funding. During the past year, the very foundation of why Delmarva Public Radio exists was open to question. Circumstances within the Delmarva Peninsula’s public radio market changed and – initially – DPR had difficulties adjusting and focusing on its core mission(s) in light of this paradigm shift. While this may, at first, seem counter-intuitive to answering Question #5, both the response from the public (prompted by the questioning of DPR’s role within the communities it serves) and the resulting decisions regarding DPR’s future (which were, in large part, based upon the public’s response to the possibility of losing DPR) are, in our view, emblematic of not only the value of DPR to this region, but to CPB’s continuing investment in DPR and its services.
As a result of the public debate on Delmarva Public Radio’s role and importance to the Delmarva region, in February of 2013, Salisbury University entered into an agreement with The Salisbury University Foundation (DPR’s current, CPB-qualified license-holder) to apply to the FCC for permission to transfer the licenses (WSCL & WSDL) to the University, which will place DPR under the Sr. Vice President of Academic Affairs & University Provost, provide funding for the transition and stabilization of DPR, provide funding for much needed new broadcast equipment, transition the station to temporary facilities (the station’s long-time “home” is scheduled for demolition as part of a new building project), and provide both fundraising and administrative support to DPR as it redefines and rebuilds toward a more sustainable future. This was nothing short of a resounding vote of confidence by the public and a statement of “understanding” by both the University and the community that regionally-produced, regionally-supported public radio matters…and makes a significant contribution to the lives of those within Delmarva Public Radio’s service areas. It also resulted in a record-setting Spring 2013 on-air pledge drive. Simply put, had Delmarva Public Radio not benefited from CPB funding, it would not have been worthy of such strong community and institutional support. The challenge before DPR now is to move forward with new mandates, new support, a new General Manager (hired July 2013), new facilities (including further upgrades expected in FY14 and FY15), new programming, and new partnerships focused on community/regional public service, outreach, growth, sustainability, and expansion of programming to anticipate and meet the needs of DPR’s service area.
CPB – in essence – helped save Delmarva Public Radio. As DPR, Salisbury University, and CPB forge a new relationship in 2014, DPR looks forward to leveraging support from all stakeholders to secure the future of both WSCL and WSDL.