CPB SAS Local Content and Services Report Narrative for 2020
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.
KXCI’s goal is to execute our mission to connect the communities of Tucson and Southern Arizona with each other and the world with informative, engaging, and creative community-based programming. We broadcast 96% original programming 24-7 with a terrestrial signal reaching the Tucson metro area and rural portions of Southern Arizona, from Green Valley to Oro Valley and from Oracle to Benson. Listeners stream KXCI all around the world. All music programming is archived in two-week increments via our playlisting service Spinitron (streaming archives expire after two weeks as per RIAA guidelines). Video content documents the work of local and touring musicians, fostering national interest in our local music scene. Connecting diverse communities is achieved through our mix of eclectic musical programming and by offering an accessible, multi-tiered media platform on which our community can amplify their voices and tell their stories.
Community-oriented topics are explored on shows produced primarily by our own volunteers. Half-hour long-form public affairs programs include 30 Minutes and Broad Perspectives Radio. This year we added in a weekly, half-hour-long Captain’s Log Project so that listeners could specifically share how COVID-19 is impacting their lives. Sadly, we will have to say goodbye to Cultivating Indigenous Voices as its host Tina Andrew has built upon the skills that she learned at KXCI and now works full time for Tohono O’odham station KOHN.
Short-form 3-5 minute programs are broadcast in between each music program. A Poet’s Moment, Artistories, Flicks, Growing Native, In Our Own Voices, KXCI Conversations, Mn Huna, Mrs. Green’s World, Nonprofit Spotlight, Pedaling the Pueblo, Southwestern Trails, Thesis Thursday, and This Week in Blues History were all developed and produced locally. These programs highlight local people and topics such as poetry, local arts organizations and artists, films available locally, regional and seasonal botany, LGBTQI+, refugee resettlement, the environment, area nonprofits, the local cycling community, regional hiking, University of Arizona undergraduate science researchers, and the blues.
Our goal is to develop local volunteer producers and teach them to tell stories that are important to them and to share them with our community of listeners. Some shows last for a season and some shows endure for decades. We also constantly strive to develop new hosts. We are receptive to program ideas from the community and we actively seek hosts and guests to share their stories on-air and online.
Our short-form program focused on the scientific academic achievements of University of Arizona students, Thesis Thursday began as a brief live weekly interview program more than six years ago. We have now doubled the number of guests and hosts. An online Spanish translation accompanies the episodes. We continue to strengthen our partnerships with the University of Arizona’s Africana Studies Department and the College of Humanities. Professors join us on air to guest DJ and discuss how music illuminates and intersects with their academic areas of expertise. As a result of one of these guest DJ sessions, Professor Tyina Steptoe recently joined our volunteer DJ roster hosting Soul Stories, a weekly show exploring the roots and branches of R&B by spotlighting soul music in its various forms.
Our special programming initiatives have broadened and deepened as well. In 2020 we produced hand-curated days of programming focused on International Women’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Juneteenth, and partnered with 40+ cities and radio stations around the globe to celebrate International Clash Day (celebrating the music and message of UK band The Clash).
We regularly invite community leaders on-air to discuss upcoming cultural events, spreading the word about everything from the All Souls Procession to the Tucson Hip-Hop Festival.
As community demand for our Educational programs continues to increase, we formed an Education Team composed of current on-air programmers. We began offering youth broadcasting camps during the 2019 fall break and had planned on offering our first spring break camp in 2020. However, due to COVID-19, we were unable to host youth for in-person classes. To keep youth voices on the airwaves, we created a weekly youth DJ program called The Future of Radio. This program is a blend of students who have already taken our classes and new students who are learning how to produce remotely.
When it is safer for in-person training, we plan to expand the number of summer camp courses offered and the Education Team is developing a Level 2 Broadcasting Camp where young participants will learn more advanced skills such as operating a soundboard, interviewing skills, and audio editing. In the meantime, for this Spring Break, we are launching an exciting youth DJ program in partnership with the Tucson Museum of Contemporary Art.
KXCI has always worked to make and strengthen community connections. During the pandemic, we have heard time and time again from listeners how important KXCI’s blend of music and authentic community voices are to them.
- “We are so grateful to KXCI for keeping us connected, calm, and entertained through this pandemic.” Elizabeth M.
- “Thank you for providing a source of solace during the pandemic and beyond. Kudos for your remarkable adaptations to current conditions!! It’s awesome to observe you coping in real-time, sharing the challenges, while staying positive and supportive to Tucson. Also thank you for the special programming about how Tucsonans are coping. Stay strong!” Sarah H.
- “We’re very grateful for the music & sense of community KXCI provides during the pandemic.” Judy R. and Cappy S.
- “Living alone during this pandemic, your programming has helped me feel less alone.” Elysia H.
- “Thank you for spreading such community support during these trying, divided times! We need all of the bonding, hopeful, nurturing energy to help our wonderful Tucson survive these days. Thank you very much, it makes me feel connected with our community:)” Pete Y.
We are grateful that CPB funding enabled KXCI to adapt to the times and continue our broadcast service.
- 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.
KXCI broadcasts over 12,000 Public Service Announcement spots annually. During the pandemic period, KXCI’s messages have focused more heavily on national, state, and local health information and resources. KXCI continually shared communications from the City of Tucson, Pima County, and State of Arizona Health Departments to provide our listeners with the latest recommendations on issues related to COVID-19. KXCI shared local updates from area school districts regarding free school lunch sites and mask distribution, Department of Labor updates, local nonprofit mental health resources, municipal rental, and eviction assistance, as well as the local community food bank and food share resources. We have begun to share some of these vital community messages in Spanish.
KXCI continues to expand partnerships with the University of Arizona. This year the partnership added the Institute for LGBT Studies. KXCI and the Institute have collaborated on a series of virtual educational presentations by KXCI DJs. The talks are geared towards students and are open to the general public.
KXCI has continued to create new programming to directly engage community members. KXCI staff and volunteers understood the importance of creating a stronger connection with our community during the crisis. The Captain’s Log Project is a new program that explores life during the COVID-19 pandemic through submissions recorded by listeners, volunteers, and KXCI DJs with an allusion to Star Trek Captain’s Logs. KXCI has received many messages from listeners sharing how important these types of programs have been during this time. Developing this new program has been an opportunity to offer a timely and creative outlet while addressing questions fundamental to the health and well-being of listeners. The Captain’s Log Project segments are produced and broadcast weekly, with each episode highlighting a local story.
As the pandemic took hold in the summer of 2020, our Underwriting department was in close contact with our local businesses to ensure that our listening community was receiving the latest information about changes in hours and services. KXCI continues to support our local business community by providing a prompt turnaround time in getting updated messages on the air.
- 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.
One of KXCI’s greatest strengths is bringing awareness to community needs by sharing our partners’ messaging with the community. We accomplish this via Community Impact Announcements (PSAs). In 2020, KXCI broadcast over 12,000 messages for more than 200 unique nonprofits. Expanding community awareness of a variety of resources and opportunities, from Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona programs to volunteering for Mobile Meals of Tucson. During the pandemic, these announcements expanded to include the many resources that were available for funding through the CARES ACT. KXCI aired several announcements about funding opportunities through municipal and nonprofit organizations. We continue to work with our long-standing local partners.
“KXCI offers a vital partnership to the Rialto Theatre Foundation and other nonprofits in our community. Two of Rialto’s staff members came out of internships provided by KXCI with vital skill sets that have been true assets to our organization. KXCI fosters and broadens community connection and refuge through the healing power of music.”
Julie Ragland, Development Director of The Rialto Theatre Foundation, former President of AFP Southern Arizona Chapter.
KXCI relies on a variety of collaborations in its day-to-day operations. KXCI staff continue to participate in several collaborations as well as participate in trainings and online workgroups. Locally, KXCI team members regularly participate in professional networks including the Association of Fundraising Professionals Southern Arizona, Planned Giving Round Table of Arizona, and the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits. This past year, our Executive Director became a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the Arizona Broadcasters Association. KXCI is also an active member of other media groups including Greater Public and Public Media for All that works to raise awareness of the negative effects of a lack of diversity, equity, and inclusion in public media. Our “Thesis Thursday” program focused on the academic achievements of U of A students continues to garner positive feedback from the community.
KXCI continues to partner with the University of Arizona Africana Studies Department and College of Humanities. In 2020 KXCI expanded our University collaborations to include The Institute for LGBT Studies. The collaboration is bringing programming to students from KXCI DJs. The virtual presentations are geared towards students but will be open to the general public and will take place throughout the current semester. KXCI continues to expand its collaboration with MOCA Tucson (Museum of Contemporary Art) to offer the community a virtual Spring Break camp for youth. The camp will include music production education as well as hands-on music zine production. The music production component will be aired in weekly segments on KXCI on the youth music program The Future of Radio.
- 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 2019, and any plans you have made to meet the needs of these audiences during Fiscal Year 2020. If you regularly broadcast in a language other than English, please note the language broadcast.
KXCI strives to apply a lens of diversity to all programming, production, and educational programs. This past year put many things into sharp focus. We not only learned what was essential for KXCI to stay on the air continuously while working remotely, but we also realized that it’s time to rally resources to combat the pandemic of racism so that we can better fulfill our mission to connect the communities of Tucson and Southern Arizona to each other and the world.
We are committed to being more representative of our diverse community in our staff, volunteers, and programming that goes over the airwaves. As a nonprofit media company, we are uniquely positioned for our work to ripple throughout the community. We understand that racial disparities have led to large gaps in training and accessibility for many of our Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) producers. We are committed to supporting our BIPOC producers and DJs to help foster more equitable representation on the air. We have a responsibility to ensure that these stories are told and equitably represented on KXCI. We are committed to compensating BIPOC producers for their contributions and have begun this process. We also took steps towards creating a loaning library of tools for underserved volunteers who may not have access to laptops, internet, microphones, etc. to address gaps in training and accessibility to better tell community stories.
In FY 2018, KXCI began its partnership with BLAX – Artists, Creatives, Intellectuals, and Entrepreneurs invested in elevating BLACK Culture and widening the aperture on the lens that defines BLACKNESS. This partnership has expanded to include local Black-owned businesses that receive discounted underwriting rates to more easily reach listeners. KXCI has also begun broadcasting PSAs in Spanish on a regular basis.
One of our new short-form programs is Knitting Identities which offers a brief profile of LatinX personalities in Tucson and the good work they are doing. Many of these episodes are in Spanish.
We are also formulating surveys through our Community Advisory Board (CAB). Last fall the CAB identified areas in the community where targeted outreach could have the greatest potential to reach diverse audiences, these outreach opportunities include several Cultural and Resource Centers at the University of Arizona. These centers serve BIPOC, LGBTQ+, Asian, and Native American students. A survey will be conducted in the Spring of 2021.
- 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?
Our funding from the CPB makes it possible for KXCI to focus on fulfilling our mission and serving our community. KXCI’s mission is to connect the communities of Tucson and Southern Arizona to each other, and to the world, with informative, engaging, and creative community-based programming. Our goals include continuously informing listeners about local issues and events through terrestrial broadcast and digital platforms while also creating additional programming reflective of the community’s diversity on multiple levels including ethnicity, age, and socioeconomic status. These are all directly dependent upon CPB grants.
Through our volunteer orientations, educational services such as our Broadcasting, Podcasting, and DJ Classes, youth and adult education, and internships, we develop diverse and independent voices to promote civic and cultural engagement within the greater community.
Without CPB funding we would not be able to execute our mission and goals with success and our community would suffer. Our nonprofit partners would be left without a powerful, independent media voice and their ability to raise awareness about and connect community members in need to their services would be significantly and negatively impacted.
KXCI’s revenue sources include individual, sustaining, and major donors, underwriting, classes, and grants including significant funding from the CPB. If one of these revenue sources falls short, KXCI would not be able to provide the community with 24-hour programming or all the community outreach and engagement we provide. CPB money is utterly essential to KXCI reaching our goal of providing greater digital content and expanded programming to engage a more diverse audience.
Pragmatically, the CPB grant makes everything the station does possible including our event sponsorships of other cultural and community organizations, as well as our ability to host local and national musicians. CPB support keeps us focused on our mission, our audience, and most importantly, our community. In addition to providing security and stability for our station, CPB support is leveraged in seeking other grant opportunities.
CPB funding is our largest source of funding and is directly related to our ability to continue to expand the variety of voices on the airwaves ensuring diversity and representation within our community. The CPB has become an invaluable partner for executing our mission by ensuring that we remain relevant and meet new challenges.