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Comments from Jimmy Sanders, General Manager WUGA FM

Manager’s Minute

Please support WUGA FM, your local Public Radio Station.

WUGA to broadcast NPR/PBS coverage of Republican and Democratic Conventions.
Friends, we believe that coverage by these two public media organizations will offer a much-needed balance to commercial news broadcasts and will provide an important and unique service to the WUGA audience.

· The 2016 Republican National Convention will take place in Cleveland, Ohio from Monday, July 18 through Thursday, July 21.

· The 2016 Democratic National Convention will take place in Philadelphia from Monday, July 25 through Thursday, July 28.

NPR News is planning extensive coverage of the 2016 political conventions, beginning with coverage embedded in each of the following programs: Newscasts with Korva Coleman (6a-9a ET), Morning Edition (5a-9a ET), Here & Now (1p-3p ET), and All Things Considered (4p - 6:30 ET).
In addition, each evening starting at 8:00p ET, NPR News and PBS NewsHour are teaming up to offer joint, live special coverage from the convention arenas in both Cleveland and Philadelphia.


Newscast (6a-9a ET): NPR Newscaster Korva Coleman will anchor the daily morning newscast LIVE from 6am ET -9a ET from Member station WCPN Ideastream in Cleveland starting Monday, July 18 through Friday July 23. Coleman will also anchor the daily morning newscast LIVE from 6am ET -9am ET from Member station WHYY in Philadelphia starting Monday, July 25 through Friday, July 29.

Morning Edition (5a-9a ET): Morning Edition’s Steve Inskeep will host the program LIVE Monday, July 18 through Friday, July 22 from Member Station WCPN Ideastream in Cleveland. David Greene will host LIVE Monday, July 25 through Friday, July 29 from Member Station WHYY in Philadelphia.

Here & Now (1p-3p ET): H&N’s Robin Young will host LIVE from the Republican National Convention in the Quicken Loans arena in Cleveland Monday, July 18 through Friday, July 22. Young will also host LIVE from the Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia Monday, July 25 through Thursday July 28.

All Things Considered (4p-6:30p ET): All Things Considered’s Robert Siegel will report from the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Monday, July 18 through Thursday, July 21. ATC’s Audie Cornish will report from the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia Monday, July 25 through Thursday, July 28.


This year NPR News and PBS NewsHour are teaming up to offer Special Coverage of the 2016 REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTIONS in collaboration, featuring one team of journalists and one broadcast, and designed to work for radio and television as well as for digital audiences. This approach is a first for public media.

Our Convention specials will be hosted from the Convention cities, and will include live podium speeches; expert analysis; and interviews with newsmakers, delegates, and NPR and PBS Newshour reporters and editors inside and outside the venues.

PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff and Gwen Ifill will anchor the special coverage each evening, along with NPR host Rachel Martin. NPR’s National Political Correspondent Mara Liasson, Senior Editor Ron Elving and Political Editor Domenico Montanaro will be featured analysts. NPR’s Congressional Reporter Susan Davis will report from the floor along with PBS NewsHour’s Correspondents John Yang and Lisa Desjardins.
The joint live special broadcast will begin each convention day at 8pm ET and will run until 11pm ET, when the convention proceedings are scheduled to conclude. We will extend our broadcast as warranted if any of the day’s events have not wrapped up by 11pm ET.

WUGA Audience Research Project

In the Fall of 2015, WUGA engaged a national research firm to develop a comprehensive study into the current listener needs for public radio in this area. Nearly 500 listeners participated in an in-depth online survey and then we conducted six, in-person, focus groups made up of regular WUGA listeners. The research was then analyzed by the national firm and a summary of audience needs and desires were presented to WUGA management. The survey results were also shared with the members of WUGA's Community Advisory Council in early 2016. .The overwhelming needs expressed in the audience research was for more news and informational programming in the key radio time periods (From 6am to 7pm, Monday-Friday) and for more in-depth, local news reporting.

To address audience concerns, the following initial steps are being taken to make WUGA an even more vital and relevant part of the lives of our listeners and to better achieve our mission:

After several months of research and deliberation, we are now ready to unveil some exciting programming changes to our broadcast schedule. With the goal of meeting audience desires for more news and information, we are adding these outstanding programs to our Monday-Thursday program schedule:

1pm Here and Now
3pm The Takeaway

We will continue to broadcast interviews with local arts and civic groups and a regular locally-produced program focused on the local arts scene is being developed.

On Fridays, our afternoon schedule will look like this:
1pm Athens News Matters (a second broadcast will air Sundays at 12noon)
1:30pm With Good Reason
2:00pm Science Friday
3:00pm Political Rewind

The other key parts of our daily program schedule will remain unchanged. In the evenings, we will air a block of informational programs 8-9pm (including This American Life on Thursdays), followed by an hour of variety/contemporary music at 9, with classical and jazz music being broadcast 10-11pm. Jazz music will be expanded to two nights a week, on Friday and Saturday nights. Our locally-produced program, African Perspectives, expands to one hour, airing Sundays at 4pm. We are also reinstating Latino USA to our schedule, Friday nights at 8pm. Our locally-produced public affairs program, Athens News Matters, will now be broadcast twice a week, Friday afternoon at 1pm and Sundays at noon.

Through our relationship with Grady College, a graduate assistantship has been developed which will yield in-depth health reports for WUGA's local newscasts. We are grateful to Dean Charles Davis, Vice President Karri Hobson-Pape and to Professor Pat Thomas for creating this project, which will begin a two-year term in August. We continue to have discussions with Grady faculty about radio journalism in other areas beyond health.

Thank you for your support of WUGA and please let us know if you have any questions or comments.


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