KSRQ 2015 CPB Station Activity Survey – Local Content and Services Report

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.

KSRQ actively assesses the composition of its audience through market information provided by Radio Research Consortium. Though our main studio is located in a small northwest Minnesota community of 10,000 residents, we also have listeners in the metro area of Grand Forks North Dakota and in small towns on both sides of the border within a 60 mile radius. As a result, our coverage of news and events is more regional than local.

Station staff and volunteers ascertain items of community interest by surveying other local media, staying in touch with the directors of community groups, and by monitoring social media. KSRQ has recently begun archiving nearly all of its interview programs, which are posted to SoundCloud, embedded on our website, and shared on social media.

To better serve the interests of the people of our region, KSRQ is developing a new weekly program called The Scene. The show will feature discussion of two topical issues impacting our area each week – from agriculture, politics, and education, to arts, culture and history. The program will include panel discussions, interviews, live performances, excerpts from author presentations, segments from area bloggers and contributions from other public radio stations. The show will be broadcast on KSRQ’s main channel and each of our two HD stations. Stand-alone segments will be made available on our website.

KSRQ’s plans for in-person engagement this summer includes a series of live broadcasts from county fairs, community festivals, and the Minnesota State Fair.

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.

KSRQ produces weekly segments with the directors of several area community institutions, including the North Dakota Museum of Art, Northwest Regional Arts Council, Campbell Library (East Grand Forks), and the Thief River Falls Public Library. The station has also aired interviews with leaders of the Thief River Falls Area Food Shelf, Thief River Falls Area Community Theater, Greater Grand Forks Community Theater, Minnesota Historical Society, Thief River Falls Concert Association, Northland Community & Technical College, Minnesota State Highway Patrol and Thief River Falls Early Childhood Family Education. These groups benefit from increased awareness of their events and services.

KSRQ partnered with the Thief River Falls Area Community Theater in May to record and broadcast their “Hometown Talent Show,” a showcase for local performers. The station recorded and broadcast the Greater Grand Forks Community Theater’s production of “It’s a Wonderful Life” during the holidays. KSRQ also records and broadcasts band and choir concerts from area high schools several times each year.

For the past several years, KSRQ has partnered with the Sons of Norway Snorre Lodge to present a weeklong celebration of the area’s Norwegian Heritage. These events bring hundreds of participants to hear speakers, dance to traditional music, and see culturally important films at locations throughout our community. One of the event organizers wrote, “Pioneer 90.1 FM radio at Northland Community & Technical College in Thief River Falls has partnered with our Snorre Lodge Sons of Norway in creating a local event called Norwegian Heritage Week. This week-long celebration of Scandinavian heritage has been very successful for all four years, due, in part, to the cooperation and willingness of the radio station sponsoring various programs held at the college. Plans for 2016 are underway.”

Another of KSRQ’s key community events is an annual partnership with the Thief River Falls Chamber of Commerce called RiverFest. In its sixth year in 2015, the event brought 2,500 people out to hear local musicians and sample food and crafts from area vendors. KSRQ provides funding to support a Minnesota-based music act at the festival each year. The station provides advance promotional segments and broadcasts live from the two-day event. A community member emailed the Chamber, “I just wanted to send a HUGE thank you for bringing Nicholas David to RiverFest and getting someone of that talent to Thief River Falls for entertainment. It’s great to see the Chamber (KSRQ event partner) being proactive in wanting to provide the city and its residents with something to look forward to. Our community needs more opportunities like this.”

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.

KSRQ offers free training to community members who wish to learn about broadcasting. From hosting a live show, to interviewing local newsmakers, creating feature stories about interesting people, conducting remote broadcasts from community events, and assisting with pledge drives and business underwriting, our volunteers are able to participate in every aspect of radio.

Having witnessed overwhelming enthusiam for two volunteer-produced polka music programs, KSRQ decided to create an HD radio station and web stream featuring polka and old-time performers from Minnesota and other Midwestern states. Though the number of listeners to the HD radio service is unknown, the PolkCast stream audience has doubled in just a few months.

KSRQ receives correspondence weekly from listeners who are thrilled to have the service available on their computers and mobile devices. One Canadian listener wrote, “Over the years I was searching for a 24-hour radio station that played the types of music that I really enjoy, but never found one. I took time to listen to KSRQ’s PolkaCast during December 2014 to date, and was really pleased that I did. As you know, the station is polka-oriented, and also presents other music styles as well. I was amazed at the variety of familiar songs & styles (polkas, waltzes, jigs, oberiks, ballads, western, rock/roll hits, popular hit parade songs, occasional Christian, and various ethnic group songs). Wow, what a wonderful mix that is so similar to my own music outreach with seniors! One additional comment regarding PolkaCast’s mention of “Minnesota-style” music. I have never been to Minnesota, but listening to the PolkaCast makes me feel that I would feel at home there. Thank you.”

Another listener heard a live Polka broadcast KSRQ held at Northland Community and Technical College, and stopped by to see the show. She wrote, “Saturday, December 13, 2014 I was en route from Roseau to Thief River Falls on a part run for my husband. He had the pickup radio dial on 90.1. I was thrilled to be listening to live music and then for listeners to be invited to the Christmas Barn Dance was unbelievable. I enjoyed listening on the radio and after finding the Barn Dance at Northland College, continued to be thrilled to dance a two-step! I was among the younger folk there as I am not yet 60 years old. Thank you for airing the event and allowing participation at the Barn Dance. It was sooooo fun and added so much to my Christmas Holiday season!”

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 2015, and any plans you have made to meet the needs of these audiences during Fiscal Year 2016. If you regularly broadcast in a language other than English, please note the language broadcast.

Migrant laborers and families of Hispanic origin are becoming more prevalent in our region. KSRQ airs a regional Hispanic-interest program for one hour each week. A portion of that program is in Spanish. We’re interested in other opportunities to reach and involve this population, including severe weather announcements broadcast in Spanish. New arrivals to our area are most vulnerable to the dangerously cold conditions we face in northern Minnesota each winter. KSRQ is taking steps to inform new immigrants of the steps they must take to avoid frostbite, hypothermia, and getting stranded in harsh conditions.

KSRQ also airs Minnesota Native News, a weekly newscast dealing with issues important to the area’s Native American community.

Issues related to immigration, race and sexual orientation are often featured on “Q” from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, a program that airs every weekday on KSRQ.

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 grants are essential to the continued operation of KSRQ. CPB funding allows KSRQ to employ a full-time station manager who serves as the station’s primary outreach staff. The HD-2 and HD-3 stations KSRQ added as a result of the 2009 digital conversion grant allow KSRQ to offer a 24/7 stream devoted exclusively to Minnesota-made Polka and traditional music. The HD channels also provide a training ground for beginning community broadcasters.

If not for the CPB grant we would lose national programming such as Q, American Routes, Day 6, Wiretap, All Songs Considered, Sound Opinions, Living on Earth, and other PRSS and PRX-distributed programs not heard elsewhere in our region.