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Local Content and Community Service

In order to receive funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, we are required to post responses to several questions about the community service provided by Northeast Indiana Public Radio.

Updated February 2019 

Telling Public Radio's Story



1. 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.

We strive to cover our community and region with the same quality and depth as network public radio journalism covers the nation and the world. This aspiration applies to both headlines and in-depth news, and arts/cultural coverage.

Listeners place a high priority on community-based news and arts/cultural content. This is one of the primary objectives of our Strategic Plan, demonstrating that our priorities match those of our listeners.

Our journalists have focused their efforts on producing content that engages users on multiple platforms and impacts the community.

Examples of this in 2018 include:

  1. Public Health: Public health matters, from infectious disease to addiction to mental health.

 “Inactivity” -- (Broadcast on July 6 at 5:05 p.m. and 8:04 p.m.) The Centers for Disease Control show deep levels of inactivity in the Hoosier state. A story by IPB News Jill Sheridan.

“School Lead Testing” -- (Broadcast on July 23 at 4:04 p.m. and 6:04 p.m.) Thirty eight percent of Indiana’s schools are not looking for the presence of lead in their drinking water. A story by IPB News Rebecca Thiele.

“Tick Borne Illnesses On The Rise” -- (Broadcast on July 26 at 5:04 p.m. and July 27 at 7:04 a.m. 9:04 a.m. and 12:04 p.m.) Allen County Department of Health and state officials issued a warning about the rise of tick-borne illnesses. A story by WBOI’s Rebecca Green.


“Opioid Hearing” -- (Broadcast on Oct. 17 at 7:05 a.m., 9:04 a.m. and 4:04 p.m.) Coverage of a meeting of the national Opioid Task Force and legal interventions. A story by IPB News Jill Sheridan.

“Mental Health Grant” -- (Broadcast on Oct. 17 at 5:04 p.m.) A Purdue Fort Wayne associate psychology professor received a large grant to help with an early intervention program. A story by WBOI’s Rebecca Green

“Day Care Radon” -- (Broadcast on Oct. 22 at 7:04 a.m., 4:04 p.m. and 6:04 p.m.) The state of Indiana is trying free radon testing programs for a number of daycare centers in some Indiana counties. A story by IPB News Rebecca Thiele.

“Smoking Spending” -- (Broadcast on Dec. 14  at 8:04 a.m., 12:00 p.m. and 4:04 p.m..) Indiana has one of the highest smoking rates in the nation. This story examed whether the state was spending enough on prevention. A story by IPB News Jill Sheridan.


“School Immunizations” -- (Broadcast on Aug. 6  at 4:04 p.m., 6:04 p.m. and Aug. 7 at 8:04 a.m.) Indiana is one of several states having a Hepatitis A outbreak, and officials want students vaccinated. A story by IPB News Jeanie Lindsay.


  1. Education: Issues related to public school education in our community

“Virtual Charter Schools” -- (Broadcast Aug. 28  at 7:04 a.m., 9:04 a.m., 12: 04 p.m.) A story looking at possible solutions and problems of virtual charter schools, such as low academic performance.  A story by IPB News Jeanie Lindsay.

“FWCS Curriculum”--(Broadcast July 26 at 4:04 p.m., 6:04 p.m., 7:04 a.m. and 9:04 p.m.) Fort Wayne Community Schools staff and leadership have been putting together new curriculum throughout school year. By NPR’s Araceli Gomez-Aldana.

“Indiana Working on Achievement Gap”-- (Broadcast Aug. 3 at 4:04 and 6:04 p.m., Indiana is making strides toward connect the achievement gap. (Broadcast on Aug. 3 a.m. at 4:04 and 6:04 p.m.

“Columbia City Education” -- (Broadcast Sept. 13 at 5:44 p.m.) An update on the influx of Puerto Rican students in the Columbia City area.  A story by WBOI’s Araceli Gomez-Aldana

“Bus Safety” -- (Broadcast Oct. 31  at 5:04 p.m., 7:04 p.m. and Nov. 1 at 9:04 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.) With a horrific bus crash in Fulton County, state officials discussed school bus safety.  A story by IPB News Jeanie Lindsay.

“Childcare Deserts”--(Broadcast Nov. 2 at 6:04 a.m., 9:18 a.m. and then Nov. 3 at 7:04 a.m. and 9:04 a.m.) About 90 percent of Indiana children do not have access to licensed child care services. A story by IPB News Jeanie Lindsay.

“BSU Test Optional Applications”-- (Broadcast Dec. 14 at 5:04 p.m. and Dec. 15 at 8:04 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.) Ball State University is accepting some applications without ACT or SAT scores. A story by IPB News Stephanie Wiechmann

“Local Charter To Close” -- (Broadcast Dec. 16 at 5:04 p.m. and Dec. 17 at 7:04 a.m., 9:04 a.m.) The Thurgood Marshall Academy Charter School will close at the end of the 2018-2019 school year. A story by WBOI’s Barb Anguiano.


C.       Politics and Government:

“Parental Leave” -- (Broadcast July 11 at 5:04 a.m. and 5:04 p.m.) Fort Wayne City Council begins debate on a mayoral proposal for paid parental/family leave. A story by WBOI’s Zach Bernard.

“Tariffs Impact on Agriculture Industry” --(Broadcast Aug. 8 at 8:45 a.m.) A feature about the impact of the agricultural and steel tariffs on Hoosier farmers. By IPB News Samantha Horton.

“Secretary of State Voter Registration Ads”--(Broadcast Aug. 20  at 4:04 p.m., 6:04 p.m.). Story from IPB News Brandon Smith about the Indiana Secretary of State’s campaign to reassure voters about election security.

“Caucus Set for Long Replacement” -- (Broadcast Sept. 25 at 5:04 p.m.) IPB News Brandon Smith reports on efforts to replace long-time state senator David Long.

“Donnelly Biden Rally” -- (Broadcast Oct. 15 at 5:04 p.m.) Former Vice President Joe Biden came to Indiana to stump for U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly.  A story by IPB News Samantha Horton.

“Balanced Budget Amendment” --(Broadcast Oct. 29 at 5:04 p.m. and Oct. 30 on 8:04 a.m. and noon) Indiana’s voters were asked to consider a balanced budget in the November general election. By IPB News Brandon Smith.

“Organization Day 2018”--(Broadcast Nov. 20 at 8:04 a.m. and 4:04 p.m.). Budgetary concerns will be the big agenda item for the upcoming 2019 legislative term. By IPB News Brandon Smith.

“Fort Wayne Infrastructure” -- (Broadcast Dec. 12 at 4 04 p.m. and Dec. 13 at 7:04 a.m.) City officials announced $30 million in improvements were seen throughout the city in 2018. WBOI’s Zach Bernard.

D. Public Safety/Criminal Justice:


“Truancy Courts” -- (Broadcast Aug. 23 at 5:44 p.m.) A feature on the use of truancy courts to deal with chronic absences. A story by IPB News Barbara Brosher.

“Responder Mental Health” -- (Broadcast Sept. 14 at 7:04 a.m., 9:04 a.m. and 12:04 p.m.) An attempt to address this issue was discussed at the annual Indiana Emergency Response Conference. A story by IPB News Jill Sheridan.

“DCS Law Recommendations” -- (Broadcast Sept. 19 at 5:04 p.m.and Sept. 20 at 8:04 a.m. and 12:04 p.m.) The DCS wants legislators to change laws that govern the agency. A story by IPB News Brandon Smith.

“Family Recovery Courts”--(Broadcast Sept. 18 at 6:04 p.m. and Sept. 19 7:04 a.m. and 9:04 a.m.) A new speciality court is helping the addicts keep their children as they work through recovery. A story by IPB News Brandon Smith.


“Allen County Judicial Replacement” -- (Broadcast Nov. 2 at 5:04 p.m. and 7:04 p.m.) A new judge was picked to fill the seat of Allen Superior Judge John Surbeck on the Criminal bench.  By WBOI’s Rebecca Green.

“DCS Funding Guaranteed” -- (Broadcast Dec. 12 at 6:04 p.m.) DCS needs more than $285 million a year for the next two years. By IPB News Brandon Smith.

“Social Worker Pilot -- (Broadcast Dec. 19 5:04 p.m. and Dec. 20 at 8:04 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.) The Indiana Public Defender Commission wants to change the way parents are represented in DCS cases. A story by IPB News Brandon Smith.

“Tinsley Killer Sentenced”--(Broadcast Dec. 21 at 6:44 p.m.) The conclusion of the 30-year case of April Tinsley, unsolved until July 2018.  A story by WBOI’s Barb Anguiano.


E.  Environmental Issues:

“Climate Change Impact On Agriculture”--(Broadcast July 31 at 4:04 p.m. and 6:04 p.m.) A study by the Purdue Climate Change Research Center showed how climate change will impact Indiana agriculture. A story by IPB News Samantha Horton.

“Franklin Forum”-- (Broadcast Aug. 6 at 4:04 p.m., 6:04 p.m. and Aug. 7 at 8:04 a.m.) Controversy over tests performed at a manufacturing site by a non-profit.  A story by IPB News Rebecca Thiele.

“Algal Blooms”-- (Broadcast Sept. 17 at 6:04 p.m., 8:04 p.m. and 12:04 p.m.) Farming nutrients could be feeding algal blooms in Indiana waterways.. A story by IPB News Rebecca Thiele

“Fall Color Climate”-- (Broadcasts Sept. 21 at 4:04 p.m., 6:04 p.m. and 8:04 a.m.) Indiana’s trees may not grow as well in a warmer climate. A story by IPB News Rebecca Thiele.


“Green Scooters”--(Broadcast Oct. 16 at 4:04 p.m., 6:04 p.m. and 7:04 a.m.) Electric scooters are billed as an environmentally friendly transportation alternative. By IPB News Rebecca Thiele.

“Michindoh Aquifer”-- (Broadcast Oct. 18 at 5:04 p.m., Oct. 19 at 8:04 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.)Residents in the tri-state area are concerned about plans to sell water from an important area aquifer. A story by WBOI’s Barb Anguiano.

“Dicamba Restrictions”-- (Broadcast Nov. 08 on 4:04 p.m. and Nov. 09 at 8:04 p.m.) Indiana farmers can continue to use Dicamba with the permission of the EPA. By IPB News Rebecca Thiele.

“EPA and Franklin Investigation”-- (Broadcasts Dec. 10 at 6:04 p.m. and Dec. 11 at 7:04 a.m. and 9:04 a.m.) Outgoing Senator Joe Donnelly wants the EPA to take on the investigation of contaminated sites in Franklin. By IPB News Jill Sheridan.

We also broadcast the Masterworks concerts of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra on station Classical 94.1 WBNI.

2. 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.

We maintain programming partnerships with community-based organizations including the ARCH Heritage Trail, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Purdue University Fort Wayne (PFW), Manchester University, Indiana Tech, Fort Wayne Community Schools, The Fort Wayne Museum of Art, The Trap Door (a local storytelling group), and Science Central.

We provide more than 1,000 promotional announcements about events and activities for arts, cultural, and other area non-profit organizations at no cost.

WBOI presents a regular series of community forums, Issues and Ales, which include live interviews about topics critical to our region, presented in a casual atmosphere with extensive audience participation, and recorded for later broadcast. Examples of topics discussed in 2018 include:

      End of Life Issues

      Women in Leadership in Northeast Indiana

      The State of Teachers and Education in Northeast Indiana

      Civic Health in Northeast Indiana

      Midterm Election Review

      Healthcare Access In Rural Communities


Our Issues and Ales live community engagement events included representatives from numerous community organizations, including:

  • Purdue FW
  • Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics
  • Visiting Nurse and Hospice
  • Indiana State Teachers Association
  • Multi-County Health Clinic
  • Journal Gazette
  • Bilinski Law Offices
  • Beckman Lawson
  • Fort Wayne City Council
  • Indiana Public Broadcasting
  • We are an active partner in IPB News, a Regional Journalism Collaborative (RJC) with eleven other Indiana public radio and TV stations and CPB financial support. We collaborate on state wide reporting on government and politics; business and the economy; health and science; and environmental and energy issues. The two editors and six reporters continue to increase the quantity and quality of our news reporting, both on-air and online, within our community and around the state.


3. 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 resources? Please include direct feedback from a partner(s) or from a person(s) served.

Our reporting and community partnerships demonstrate impact in several ways.

The first is in listener service, which is quantified by increasing usage of our programming. According to the Fall, 2018 Nielsen Audio survey, combined with usage data from, our stations serve about 100,000 people per month, and all the hours which contain station-produced information content rank in the top ten hours of weekday listening. Additionally, in the Fall 2018 data, 89.1 WBOI enjoyed an over 50% increase in average listening compared to a year ago.

For a third year, WBOI partnered with Towles New Tech Middle School for the “Moral of the Story” project. New Tech teacher Tia McFarthing explains her students’ experiences:

"The 7th grade Language Arts and Social Studies class at Towles New Tech worked with NIPR to be our community partner for a project called “The Moral of the Story”. In this project, students reviewed what they knew about Hinduism and Buddhism, as well as learning about literary elements and narrative writing. The students then read folktales that tell how Buddha became enlightened, and had to use all of the skills they learned about story writing to create their own folktale that aligned with the eightfold path of Buddhism. We created a competition between students for the best tale and then winners were taken on a field trip to WBOI to record their stories and have them broadcasted on a podcast. This was an amazing motivation for students as they learned what NIPR was and that their stories could be shared with the public. These young adults became very interested in podcasts and the medium of information that it provided to themselves and others. We began incorporating podcasts into lessons in class to help our auditory learners and to give options of different types of media.  Working with NIPR has helped expand the minds of our students and we look forward to partnering with them again this year and in the future!"

In addition, staff members have been guest lecturers at New Tech to talk with students about podcasting, art, and current events. 

In November, staff members participated in a Career Day at DeKalb County Central School’s career day, where students could ask our news team questions about their careers and public radio.   

WBOI partners with area universities to share their lectures and discussions with a broader audience.  This content is frequently featured on the bi-weekly program, WBOI Presents. Examples of this collaboration include the following:

  • Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics/Purdue University Fort Wayne:
  • Allen County as a Manufacturing and Innovation Hub
  • Remembering Major Manufacturers
  • Multinational Manufacturing
  • Manufacturing & Workforce Development
  • Midterm Election Panel
  • Prospects for Peace in the Korean Peninsula
  • Campus Safety
  • Alternative Forms of Diplomacy
  • Manchester University:
  • Access to Behavioral Health Services
  • Why The Constitution Matters
  • Indiana Tech:
  • Tech Talks: The Opioid Crisis/Narcan

89.1 WBOI and Classical 94.1 WBNI also partnered with these organizations to help bring cultural activities to the community:

  • Rotary Club of Fort Wayne  - Big Easy Feast
  • IPFW Omnibus Lecture Series  – Four Omnibus Lectures
  • Fort Wayne Parks Botanical Conservatory  - Jazzworks
  • Fort Wayne Philharmonic – Season of Concerts
  • Fort Wayne Dance Collective – Season of Performances
  • West Central Neighborhood Association - Home & Garden Tour
  • Arts United - Taste of the Arts Festival
  • Science Central – Media sponsor for their mixology annual fund raiser (Nov ’18)
  • Audiences Unlimited –Media sponsor for benefit concert (June ’18)

4. 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 2018, and any plans you have made to meet the needs of these audiences during Fiscal Year 2019. If you regularly broadcast in a language other than English, please note the language broadcast.

WBOI aired a multi-part series in December 2018 titled Margaux’s Microphone, which gave international students at Purdue Fort Wayne – for whom English is a second language - an opportunity to share their experiences in the United States with our audience.  Students were given guidance from staff and given professional audio equipment to record their interviews. 

For a twelfth year, WBOI partnered with the Fort Wayne Museum of Art to produce the Scholastic Writing podcasts. Every year Fort Wayne high school students are asked to submit their writing to the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Katy Thompson, the Fort Wayne Museum of Art's Children's Education Associate, discussed the importance of this experience for the students that were involved:

“The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, begun in 1923, is a regional and national competition that provides creative students with opportunities for recognition, exhibition, and publication. The regional winners who recorded at the (WBOI) studio all received Gold Keys, the highest award, for their writing.   In the past, we have asked others, such as voice actors, to read the words written by students. This year, however, the change to ask students to read their own words has been exciting and well received. Not only will they be heard in the Scholastic Exhibition at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art but also included online in an NIPR Podcast. Giving students a place to have their voices heard is extremely important. This opportunity introduces them to another aspect of working in the creative industries, takes them out of their comfort zone, and helps to validate their creative voice. Scheduling five students from various schools, in two separate states, who all take part in various activities’ was not easy. The use of the Podcast Café will provide the students not only with hands-on experience of recording themselves and the recording process in general but also allow them to self-schedule a time to go and record their pieces. As many of these nominees are seniors finishing college applications and taking weekends to visit colleges, this flexibility will be invaluable. I am looking forward to visitors hearing these amazing stories in the voices of the young writers who created them and experiencing the students response’s to their voices being heard both online and in the art museum exhibit.”

Some of the news reports that 89.1 WBOI produced in 2018 focusing specifically on minority populations include:

Race Relations in Fort Wayne: The WBOI News team regularly reported on efforts by local and state leaders to have conversations about race and achievement gaps between African Americans and their white peers.

Immigration: Araceli Gomez-Aldana reported on an influx of Puerto Ricans relocating to Columbia City in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. 

English Language Learners: Ligonier, a small rural community in Northern Indiana, has a population that is 52 percent Hispanic or Latino. WBOI reported on efforts by a local library to promote reading by bringing book boxes to laundromats where children could learn to read while their parents did laundry. 

In musical programming:

Connexxion Latina is a one-hour Spanish language show heard every Sunday at 6pm on 89.1 WBOI.  Host David Calderon shares the culture and music of his native country El Salvador.

Dee McKinley’s Gospel Flight program each Sunday morning devotes four hours to the historic and contemporary tradition of African-American gospel music.


5. Please briefly assess the impact that your CPB funding has on your ability to serve your community. What can you do with your grant that you wouldn't be able to do if you didn't receive it?

Funding from CPB allows us to bring community-based programming to our listeners; in-depth news reporting on crucial issues that is unique in our community. It allows us to address the priorities articulated by listeners in our community survey and also in our Strategic Plan. Nearly all of our activities that engage our community are made possible by funding from CPB.

While Federal funding makes up only about 8% of our total operating budget, we leverage this investment to make possible nearly all of our local and regional news, arts, cultural, and music programming.

CPB support is invaluable to our station, but more importantly, is invaluable in expanding the amount and quality of service our organization provides to the community.