WFYI, Indianapolis, WBAA AM/FM, West Lafayette and WFIU have joined together to build a regional broadcast of All Things Considered (ATC) in central Indiana. The stations are working together through Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations (IPRS), a consortium of Indiana’s public broadcasters.
The plan, according to Mike Savage, GM of WBAA, is for a central host/producer to be based at WFYI. All three stations will use fiber-optic connections to interact and assemble regional ATC content. All three stations will be “live” during ATC. The collaboration will be identified on-air as “IPBS” but the goal is to sound as local as possible on each station.
The collaboration is now searching for a host/producer. The position description calls for the host/producer to anchor the regional ATC broadcasts and plan segments, help generate content and conduct two-way interviews and live coverage.
The new host/producer will replace current ATC hosts at each of three stations. More information about the job is available at http://www.wfyi.org/wfyi-careers/ipbs--multi-station-news-magazine-hostproducer
According to Savage, NPR News stations across the country are watching the regional ATC project, as they should. If it works as expected, this type of collaboration can be replicated in many other places.
WHY THIS IS A SMART MOVE
Savage says folks at all three stations believe investing funds in local content is more important that duplicating an ATC host at each station. The three stations cover areas that are experiencing dynamic growth in population and commerce. Indianapolis is the place where Boilermakers and Hoosiers meet on common ground. It is becoming sort of a mega-city, not yet as cohesive as Colorado’s Front Range but this is where the action is.
The three stations are on or near the “I-65 corridor” – the main artery from Chicago to Louisville and points south. Where the Interstate goes, population follows. The I-65 corridor in Indiana is becoming a regional powerhouse. At right is a map showing the area’s urban density.
Note that signals for the three stations fit together like hand and glove. They offer consistent coverage of the entire West Lafayette-Indianapolis-Bloomington triad. My best guess-timate (based in part of Nielsen Audio data) is that WFYI, WBAA and WFIU together have a combined weekly cumulative audience of more than 200,000 listeners.
So, let’s take a trip down I-65 and examine the reach of the combined coverage.
ATC COLLABORATION IS A HOMEGROWN INDIANA PROJECT
Funding and support for the Indiana ATC collaboration comes from IPBS and the three stations. No Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) funding is involved at this time. To me, this is a gutsy effort that demonstrates leadership by the partner organizations – public radio at its best.
Non-Hoosier readers should be careful not to confuse the ATC collaboration with another Indiana project that has a similar name and a somewhat similar mission.
CPB recently announced that it awarded $609,000 to form the Indiana News Collaboration. Eleven Indiana public radio and TV stations, led by WFIU and WTIU in Bloomington (including WBAA and WFYI) are participating. This Indiana “network” is using the title IPB News. The CPB grant will support the hiring of eight journalists at the partner media outlets for two years.
The IPBS and IPB projects are not related.