From the WBHM CPB Station Activities Survey for 2013:

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.

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.
WBHM’s goals to address community needs and issues have been informed by our “Listen and Be Heard” effort begun in 2012. The station began to actively solicit interest and responses from a broad cross section of the community. In 2013, the communication and interaction has continued on the air and online, especially through social media. The Friends of WBHM created a community partnership committee to help reach out and enhance WBHM’s engagement with the public. Special efforts are being made to reflect the diversity of the community across the region, from the city of Birmingham to more distant parts of our listening area, such as Gadsden, AL. Public forums like Issues and Ales have been repurposed into podcasts, and, in the future, may be turned into edited radio programs. Social media engagement is being used to regularly invite questions, comments, and complaints. WBHM’s radio audience continues to be stable in size, while the number of Facebook and Twitter followers continues to grow. Listening from computers and mobile devices has grown, reaching the equivalent of 10% or more of RRC/Arbitron Average Quarter Hour metrics.
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.
WBHM engaged in long-form projects on education and the anniversary events surrounding key 1963 events in the Civil Rights movement. Partnerships in sharing programming, events and awareness included the Birmingham Civil Rights Museum, the City of Birmingham, and UAB. October 4, 2012, WBHM held a very timely Issues & Ales event about of the changing media landscape of media in Alabama, specifically with the reduction of the Birmingham News to a three-day-a-week print publication and a reduced news staff. The panel, moderated by General Manager Scott Hanley, featured the new Editor of the Birmingham News as well as one of their key reporters, plus two local alternative media leaders. Racial and gender diversity was well represented on the stage and in the standing-room-only audience of more than 110 people at Birmingham's Cantina at Pepper Place. The next Issues & Ales outreach led to another very successful live event. An estimated 120 people were in attendance at Rogue Tavern, January 24, 2013. Topics included “food deserts,” the Birmingham locavore movement, and the impact of food in the local and regional economy. These questions and a very diverse panel kept the crowd engaged for more than two hours. Other partnerships in the year included REV Birmingham, the Birmingham Cultural Alliance, the Women’s Network, TEDx Birmingham, and the Magic City Art Connection.
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.
WBHM’s collaborated with the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center in promoting performances of special events to observe the 50th Anniversary of key moments in the Civil Rights movement. There was direct, positive response with audience members and attendance. WBHM’s documentary, “Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church: The Case for Justice” was an especially notable program in the yearlong observation of important events for Birmingham’s “50 Forward” observations. WBHM’s Issues & Ales events in October 2012 and January 2013 received broad coverage by bloggers and social media, led to articles and discussions in other media. Audio of the January event was made available as a free download at The event received more than 1,600 pageviews. The station website, saw a more than doubling of traffic, from 304 thousand pageviews in fiscal year 2012 to 793 thousand pageviews in fiscal year 2013. Education reporter Dan Carsen had his work honored with national awards and referenced by regional news outlets such as the Birmingham News and the Anniston Star and many regional and national education-related blogs and news sites.
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.
WBHM has engaged the services and talents of a number of journalists and writers in the area to expand our reach and understanding of the diversity of our community. Examples include including former Birmingham News copy editor Nathan Turner, Jr. who created a special series on health disparities in the Black Belt of Alabama. Javacia Harris Bowser began sharing new perspectives as WBHM’s first “Diversity Blogger,” bringing a new voice to the website.
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 is an important foundation upon which WBHM's public service efforts are built. As the single largest source of programming funding, CPB support allows WBHM to produce in-depth features on a broad range of issues of concern specific to Birmingham and Alabama. Because of CPB funding, WBHM has been able to sustain a team of journalists doing award-winning work. This has been crucial for our community, at a time when the rest of media in Birmingham and Alabama is facing greatly reduced local and regional journalism in print and broadcast outlets.