Nonprofit Radio Leaders Aim to Foster Thriving Communities

The leaders of 17 non-profit community radio stations converged on Charlottesville Friday and Saturday (July 20-21, 2018) to brainstorm how they might survive, thrive and do even better at strengthening the communities they serve.

The regional summit, hosted by WTJU 91.1 FM, the University of Virginia’s public radio station, attracted attendees from as far as Maine, Florida and California. Its workshops centered around raising revenue, tapping into the fast-changing music industry, fostering dialogue to build communities, and strengthening society’s democratic foundations, especially in fraught times.

“Thanks to WTJU, we were charmed by the community of Charlottesville and the fine company of community radio friends,” said Sally Kane, executive director of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters (NFCB), the oldest and largest national organization dedicated to community stations within the public media system.

“The benefits of coming to things like this go beyond what you learn in the sessions,” said Sean Spence, general manager of KOPN in Columbus, MO. “It’s the broadening of our horizons and really showing us what we can be as stations.”

In addition to WTJU, five of Virginia’s community radio stations – based in Richmond, Arlington, Roanoke, Staunton, and the Allegheny highlands – were represented at the summit.

“Our stations are arts and culture organizations that help weave the fabric of our communities,” said WTJU general manager Nathan Moore, who is a member of NFCB’s board. “We alchemize the fruits of creative expression to serve the basic need of people to be heard, understood, and connected to one another in vibrant communities.”

At its founding in 1978, the NFCB focused on supporting a public media network that served the public interest, guaranteed universal access to the citizenry, and championed service to underserved communities. This founding vision continues to guide its membership.

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