By Ryan Evans
Oct. 23, 2018

KZUM has been selected as one of 10 public radio stations in the U.S. to participate in a new initiative that will provide professional training and financial support over the next year for the development of content, engagement and revenue strategies.

The Community Counts Initiative was announced Tuesday in a joint release from The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and The National Federation of Community Broadcasters (NFCB). Participating stations will each receive $7,000, paid travel expenses and coaching from experts in public media, technology and nonprofit organizations as they work toward achieving goals set during their application process.

Funded by a $314,106 grant from CPB, the Community Counts Initiative is being implemented by NFCB — the country’s largest professional advocacy and support organization for locally based public media. The project aims to assist rural stations in becoming more sustainable to serve their communities for years to come.

“With CPB’s support, NFCB will provide training, mentorship and technical assistance to help strengthen these 10 stations’ organizational capacities as well as diversify their revenue streams,” the release said. “NFCB will also create toolkits and share best practices to help other small community broadcasters achieve long-term sustainability.”

KZUM will be working to develop content that engages more diverse audiences in our area so that the station can better reflect the entire community. Through this initiative, the station hopes to establish practices to effectively recruit and train new producers to tell the stories of their communities. Distribution of this broadcast and web content will aim to help people from Lincoln to around the world better understand the cultural vibrance our city has to offer.

“This amazing opportunity from the CBP and NFCB gives our organization a chance to kick our mission into overdrive,” said KZUM General Manager Kerry Semrad. “Through the Community Counts initiative, KZUM has the opportunity to empower our community to share stories and create programming that will not only promote what is unique and beautiful about our great city but reveal common threads that unite us as humans.”

KZUM is working with participants from other stations, NFCB leadership and consultants in online meeting sessions through the end of the year. Beginning in early 2019, in-person planning and training will help stations begin working toward bringing their proposals to life.

Other stations chosen through the open Community Counts application process are: WTIP (Grand Marais, Minnesota), WERU (East Orland, Maine), WMMT (Whitesburg, Kentucky), WNCU (Durham, North Carolina), WXPR (Rhinelander, Wisconsin), KBFT (Nett Lake, Minnesota), KWSO (Warm Springs, Oregon), KTNA (Talkeetna, Alaska), and KRTS (Marfa, Texas).