Wyoming Public Media (WPM) is a public broadcasting state network licensed to the University of Wyoming.
WPM is made up of five services:
- Wyoming Public Radio
- Classical Wyoming
- Jazz Wyoming
- Wyoming Sounds
WPR broadcasts to over 90% Wyoming, including Laramie, Casper, Cheyenne, Rock Springs, Green River, Evanston, Jackson, Lander, Riverton, Cody, Powell, Dubois, Gillette, Sheridan, Newcastle, and Torrington, plus numerous communities throughout the state.
WPM programming is primarily news, classical music, contemporary music, jazz, entertainment programs. Wyoming Public Radio is the state's only member of National Public Radio and an affiliate of Public Radio International and American Public Media. NPR, APM, and PRI are sources of such favorites as A Prairie Home Companion, The Thistle & Shamrock®, Morning Edition®, and All Things Considered®.
Wyoming Public Media is a service of the University of Wyoming.
WPM Wyoming Productions
The National Award Winning Open Spaces: WPR's weekly one hour Wyoming magazine features the people, the issues, and events in the news in the Cowboy State, Fridays at 3 p.m.
Wyoming Sounds ( previously Morning Music) with Grady Kirkpatrick and Co-Hosts Paul Montoya and Micah Schweitzer: Every weekday morning from 9 a.m. to Noon, Grady, Paul, and Micah explore contemporary music anchored in today's best singer-songwriters and musicians with nods to the world, folk and R&B.
Ranch Breakfast with Tom Wilhelm: The legendary bluegrass and folk show is one of Wyoming's longest running shows of any kind. Every Saturday from 11 a.m. till 1 p.m.
Wyoming Stories: Launched as a part of Wyoming Story Corps visits, these short vignettes feature interesting moments in the lives of Wyomingites.
Wyoming Minute: Short module that focuses on interesting history and interesting facts about Wyoming, her community activities, and her citizens.
Spoken Words: A podcast featuring readings and interviews with authors writing from and about the Mountain West.
The Modern West: A podcast focusing on the Wyoming culture.
HumaNature: A podcast describing human experiences with nature.
In addition, the WPR news team produces Wyoming newscasts within Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition, plus major feature stories within Morning Edition. These are often picked up by NPR and other networks for national broadcast.
WPM Mission Statement:
Wyoming Public Media connects Wyoming through news and cultural programming that informs, inspires, and educates.
- WPM encourages listeners to be lifelong learners.
- WPM fosters participation in the development of communities, the nation, and the world.
- WPM reflects the Wyoming and American cultural heritage.
There is hopeful news about federal funding at this time. Pending any administrative detractions, the full funding – $445 million – for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) should be secure through 2018.
For over 30 years, CPB has received two-year advance appropriations, a practice we believe to be essential for stations’ continued autonomy in program decision-making and certainty in business planning.
People often ask: What does a cut in federal funding mean to Wyoming Public Media? Any cut in Wyoming Public Media’s federal funding is a blow. WPM currently receives a $320,000 annual grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to help fund operations. This comprises approximately 10% of the operating budget and provides funding for programming and services to the community as mandated by the FCC. This funding is critical to the operation, particularly since the elimination of a major federal grant program supporting equipment maintenance/replacement. The PTFP (Public Telecommunications Facilities Program) helped finance heavy equipment purchases for public radio throughout all states and was critical to rural stations like Wyoming. In the absence of PTFP funds, WPM depends more on CPB funding, as well as funding from the state of Wyoming for infrastructure such as tower replacements.
WPM’s position on Federal funding: Wyoming Public Media understands the need for shared sacrifice for the greater good of the nation, but we urge our legislators to consider funding to public broadcasting judiciously and proportionately. A 10% cut to WPM is serious and affects services critical to the state. Total elimination of the $445 million investment to CPB would cripple the public broadcasting system millions of Americans depend on, particularly in rural communities. Would it provide a powerful solution to the nation’s deficit problem? That is for every American to decide. Here are the numbers: total elimination of the $445 million investment in CPB represents a 3 ten-thousands of one percent reduction in a $1.5 trillion federal budget deficit.
In an interview last year Colin Powell said “You can’t fix the deficit or the national debt by killing NPR or National Endowment for the Humanities or the Arts. Nice political chatter, but that doesn’t do it.”
It’s our fiduciary responsibility to listeners on the status of federal funding, and to provide information about how to contact your Congressional representative to express your views.
Why Federal Funding to Public Broadcasting is Important
Public Radio Facts
Local public radio stations are licensed by colleges and universities, community foundations, and other non-profit organizations. Their mission is to provide educational content through the use of media, and to create an informed citizenry through programs that highlight local issues, state legislatures, and national issues. Public radio’s mandate is to remain non-partisan.
Part of the funding for these stations comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). Each year, the federal government appropriates funds to CPB through the Labor Health and Human Services Appropriations bill. CPB distributes these funds through Community Service Grants (CSGs) directly to public broadcasting stations.
Each awardee must provide to CPB an annual report on activities the entity engaged in on behalf of the communities in which it serves. [WPM provides a summation of selected activities. These can be found in the “Regulatory Information” section of the website. The full list of activities, programming, technology initiatives can be found in the various drop-down menus of wyomingpublicmedia.org.]
93% of the U.S. population is within the reach of a public radio station’s broadcast signal.
Each station is independently owned and operated and tailors its programming to best serve its community.
More than 38 million people listen to public radio stations each week.
There are 414 stations in 47 states and territories (including Guam and Puerto Rico) that specifically serve rural and minority communities; the latter includes numerous African-American, Native American, Latino, and multicultural licensees. In many cases, they are the sole local broadcasting service available. These stations receive significantly higher funding from CPB—in some cases, as much as two-thirds of their budgets—since many of their listeners simply don’t have the financial resources to provide support.
Station Vision and Strategic Planning
WPM’s overall vision is based on its Mission Statement to connect Wyoming through a media service that is informative, educational, and accessible to all Wyomingites. Specific areas include:
State Reporting Bureau
Our vision is to connect Wyoming through a robust and sustainable “hub-and-spokes” reporting structure.
- Based in Laramie/Cheyenne, we would build out our existing news operation with additional reporters in areas such as Jackson, Casper, Gillette, Sheridan, and other locations. Reporters would live and maintain reportorial beats in these areas; their reports would air on Wyoming Public Radio, online, and nationally where applicable. They would cover state news as well as public and cultural affairs. The “hub-and-spokes” structure has been very successful in several states and regions, and it will provide WPM with content from which to build Wyoming-centric multi-platform programming.
Technology Delivery and Digital Excellence
Our vision is to reach all Wyoming residents through a variety of platforms. We realize that in Wyoming listeners will continue to rely on terrestrial radio, while others will seek out digital access. We have to be ready to handle both directions.
- Radio equipment WPM installed in the 1980’s to produce FM broadcast signal is nearing its useful life in many locations. Most critical is the I-80 Corridor, where transmitters in Laramie and Rock Springs are particularly vulnerable. WPM will seek state funds (through a UW block grant) for a technology upgrade in all areas of the state.
- On the digital technology front, we realize that more and more listeners are accessing WPM services through means other than radio. WPM is investing in new technologies as they become available to us at reasonable cost.
Our vision is to support our strong radio network and fund our dreams!
WPM’s funding comes from state and federal sources, businesses, and individuals. State allocations are mostly fixed, and federal allocations fluctuate. Business support is strong, but often tied to the economy. Our most reliable source of support is listeners – people who believe in public radio and donate according to their means.
Our budget supports current needs, but not our dreams, like the State Bureau and Technology Delivery and Digital Excellence. We plan to keep operating costs level, increase individual and business revenues, and use state and federal funding strategically for big-ticket items like towers. This multi-year plan will build a healthy and diversified funding portfolio for WPM’s future.
Creating Wyoming-centric content
It is not enough to be a pass-through station that carries only national programming. A public media organization must give back to the communities that support it, and it must contribute part of its unique experience to a national and global audience. WPM will create new Wyoming-centric programming to supplement its legacy programs. New content will utilize multi-platform production, thus reaching broad audience through a variety of media.
Specific WPM’s funding options “50 Years and Beyond”
- Investigative Reporting
This initiative creates reporting that provides the background and framework for learning about specific topics of importance to our listeners. It transcends the brevity of the news headlines and asks questions from a variety of perspectives. The depth of information fills a need in the public’s understanding of issues.
- Natural Resources/Energy Reporting
Energy and natural resources drive Wyoming’s economy. Global energy needs transform the economic and political landscape, leading to a global rebalancing of power and the remaking of American communities inside and outside energy regions. Wyoming’s natural resources also affect its tourist-based economy. These two economic drivers often clash, and WPM reporting focuses on the complex underlying issues.
This initiative provides for comprehensive coverage of education issues and their role in Wyoming’s social, economic, financial, and policy environment. Focused coverage on education elevates public awareness and engages communities in a continuing dialog about education and its importance.
- Cultural Reporting
WPM believes that a strong state cherishes its cultural heritage. The musician’s song – the storyteller’s words – the painter’s brushstrokes – these are the intangible experiences that bind us as a people and define Wyoming. Programs such as Studio Sessions, Spoken Words, Wyoming Minute, Wyoming Stories, as well as new podcasts like HumaNature and The Modern West, highlight the richness of Wyoming’s culture. Broadcasts of the Grand Teton Music Festival and the Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra focus on classical music performances, while the popular Morning Music and Ranch Breakfast create a daily radio experience. WPM’s dream is to expand cultural reporting -- there is so much artistic activity in Wyoming that we still haven’t explored!
Sustaining a robust radio signal for our listeners from 26 broadcasting sites statewide is one of our highest priorities. Maintaining fundamental site structures and facilities secures the integrity of the delivery, while new state-of-the-art technology addresses monitoring requirements more efficiently. Wyoming’s often harsh weather patterns reduce the life span of equipment, thus accelerating replacement.
Digital technology investments address the growing needs of multi-platform users who receive public radio content through computers and mobile devices. Emerging new digital technologies and web-based programs and services are the greatest agent of change in radio. Increasingly more listeners access our programming through means other than radio, and expect an on-demand experience including video. It’s an exciting new media world that is opening up to our listeners!
WPM is more than the delivery of content to listeners. It’s a community resource that unites people in common causes, convenes public forums and debates, and highlights musicians, artists, authors, among many other groups and individuals who enrich our communities. WPM also invests in young talent through its Intern program that trains students in a variety of broadcast areas and provides the important experiences needed for launching early careers.