Public broadcasting is rooted in the constitutional guarantees of a free press and free speech. The Federal Radio Act of 1927 defines the basic policy that broadcasters must operate in "the public interest, convenience and necessity." Therefore, the University of Wyoming (UW), as many other universities, holds a broadcast license in trust and its public broadcasting station(s) serve the public, not the organization which holds such license(s). WPM implements the provisions of the license on behalf of UW, and we are committed to protecting the integrity of programming, views and editorial content, and fiduciary integrity. Editorial integrity in this context is defined as the responsible application by professional practitioners of a free and independent decision-making process ultimately accountable to the needs and interests of all citizens.
Public broadcast stations are trustees of public services which include a wide range of programming of the highest professionalism and quality which can educate, enlighten and entertain the American public. This is a non-commercial enterprise, reflecting the worthy purpose of the federal and state governments to provide education and cultural enrichment to their citizens. It is the responsibility of the University to assure all citizens that station management has the editorial freedom necessary to provide these services effectively and that the mission of providing such high-quality programming remains paramount.
Public broadcasting stations are subject to a variety of federal and state statutory and regulatory requirements. They are also protected by the first amendment which guarantees a free press and freedom of speech. All of us who may influence and affect the operation of the station are and will be committed to respect and follow the legal and constitutional framework within which our stations operate.
The judgment of our audiences about our programming depends upon their confidence that it is free from undue or improper influence. WPM is committed to maintaining the full confidence of the public in the editorial integrity of our news and programming.
Finally, WPM depends upon funds provided by individual and corporate contributions, and by the state and federal taxes. The University is responsible for assuring the public and public officials that this money is spent in a manner that preserves donor intent and complies with regulatory provisions governing federal and state appropriations. In all fiduciary matters, as the broadcast license holder, the University will be committed to the fiscal independence of public contributions, and will operate in service to the public, and not the organization which holds such license(s). Through conformance with sound fiscal and management practices, the University authorizes WPM to implement these principles and responsibilities, and to adhere to regulations governing all funding sources.
Among the practical implications which flow from these principles are the following:
- Decisions about programming are the responsibility of station management.
- Selection and treatment of news is the responsibility of the station news staff.
- Ascertainment of community "interest, convenience and necessity" in relationship to programming is the responsibility of station management.
- Allocation of donor generated funds is the responsibility of station management.
This policy is a confirmation of the journalistic and programming independence of WPM. It is based upon the historic independence of public broadcasting as articulated in the” Statement of Principles of Editorial Integrity in Public Broadcasting" prepared by the Editorial Integrity Project, sponsored by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. This policy is a confirmation of fiscal responsibilities to donors and their intent. This policy is the University of Wyoming’s commitment as a license holder to broadcast in the public’s interest.