As I sit down to write this month’s column, we’ve just welcomed a new year. It’s a time for all of us here at JPR to reflect on the accomplishments of the past year and set goals for 2015. 2014 was a good year here at JPR. We grew listener support and underwriting significantly for the first year since the Great Recession. This allowed us to strengthen our weekend programming, implement 24-hour service on all our stations, expand and improve our local news coverage, welcome a new environmental reporter to our newsroom and replace obsolete equipment at several critical transmission sites with state-of-the-art gear that improves our reliability. We have many projects underway that we’ll complete in 2015 — projects we think will create better programming and a stronger transmission plant for you in the year ahead.
But, outside the scope of our daily work, the new year inspires us to step back to see a wider view that reveals the core values of our enterprise. In taking this opportunity, our work in 2015 will align with a broader vision of who we are — as fellow citizens of our unique region, as members of the national and regional public radio community, as a valued educational and cultural outreach program of Southern Oregon University and as stewards of the funds our listeners so generously entrust to us.
Here’s where we’re headed in 2015:
- We continue to produce and broadcast content that informs our listeners; makes them think, laugh, and reflect on what it means to be human; and keeps them connected to their community, their environment and their world.
- Partner with NPR to realize our goal of meeting audiences where they are and embracing new emerging technologies for discovering, consuming and engaging with public radio rich content.
- Further strengthen our radio transmission plant, improving its reliability for listeners, reducing downtime of our network and making repairs and maintenance more cost-effective.
- Build on the energy and trust that now exists between public radio stations in Oregon and the Northwest to further our collaborative work with the goal of creating powerful regional journalism and a stronger regional public radio audience and community.
- Improve the efficiency of every aspect of our administrative work so we can dedicate more of our organizational resources to creating inspired programming and reliably delivering our content to our listeners.
- Create stronger relationships with other Southern Oregon University departments by strategically partnering with campus programs that result in tangible benefits for our listeners while raising awareness of SOU as an innovative, distinctive and diverse place to acquire an education and make a difference in the world.
- Grow listener support and underwriting revenue so we have the resources to fulfill our aspirations and our public service potential.
- Lay the groundwork for building a new JPR studio facility, one that supports a new level of public service and is a catalyst for supporting the work of our incredibly talented staff and volunteers.
- Effectively communicate JPR’s philanthropic value to citizens of our region, building long-term funding mechanisms through bequests, endowments and planned gifts that will sustain JPR’s ability to serve future generations.
- Last, but certainly not least, take steps to ensure that JPR is a supportive, fun, financially sound, creative and humane place to work — one where fresh ideas, teamwork and personal accountability are recognized, valued and fostered.
I look forward to the work ahead and to seeing what we’ll achieve together in 2015.
Paul Westhelle is JPR’s Executive Director