CPB Announces $1.9M Grant to Fund Public Radio Effort Infusing Local Perspectives in 2020 Election Coverage

Kansas City’s KCUR to lead ‘Listening to America’ project

August 28, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (August 28, 2019) -- The Corporation for Public Broadcasting has awarded Kansas City public radio station KCUR a $1.9 million grant to lead “Election 2020: Listening to America,” a nationwide public radio community listening and engagement project. The project, which aims to strengthen public media’s ability to incorporate community and citizen perspectives in local, regional, and national coverage of the 2020 election, was announced at the Public Radio Program Directors Conference in Minneapolis.

“CPB support for high quality, trusted journalism and reporting is directly connected to a strong and vibrant civil society,” said Pat Harrison, CPB president and CEO. “Through Listening to America, locally owned and operated public media stations, directly connected to the communities they serve, will provide Americans with the opportunity to add their voices to the 2020 election coverage.”

“Public media is uniquely positioned to provide election coverage that goes beyond the latest polling,” said Kathy Merritt, CPB senior vice president, journalism and radio, who announced the grant. “The Listening to America initiative will strengthen the collaborative ties among stations as they engage with their communities to surface diverse voices from across America.”

Through “Election 2020: Listening to America,” public radio stations will collaborate to gather data and engage communities through listening events, public forums and outreach, and through engagement tools on social media platforms. The stations will produce multimedia election reporting on specific issues that offer contrasts in community perspectives. The project aims to create visual reporting elements such as interactive maps, graphs, or other visualizations that can be adapted across multiple websites and stations. The stations will share insights, stories, and content with national broadcast collaborators such as NPR, PBS and podcast producers.

As the lead station in the initiative, KCUR will establish a small central team to support station engagement and editorial activities. The 18-month grant will support the hiring of seven full-time newsroom personnel. They will coordinate collaboration among public media stations and existing journalism collaborations to hold community convenings, listening sessions, surveys, and engagement practices, as well as ambitious reporting efforts that will elevate stations’ capabilities. The project will strengthen public media’s capacity to engage local communities and cover issues of local and national importance.

“KCUR is excited to lead this effort, which will help inform 2020 election coverage with issues that truly matter to communities,” said Nico Leone, KCUR general manager. “As a public radio station in the geographic center of the country and a leader and member of several highly successful public media journalism collaborations, KCUR is well-positioned to lead this effort.”


About CPB
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,500 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide. CPB is also the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television, and related online services. For more information, visit www.cpb.org and follow us on Twitter @CPBmedia, Facebook, LinkedIn, and subscribe for other updates.

About KCUR
KCUR 89.3 is the flagship NPR station in Kansas City, exploring thought-provoking ideas and stimulating conversations through its daily talk shows, in-depth reporting and entertainment programming. KCUR shares news, art, music and life in a way that inspires, challenges and connects people. A charter member of NPR, KCUR holds itself to the highest journalistic standards in service to the citizens of Kansas, Missouri, the broader Midwest, and the nation. The station also leads Harvest Public Media and the Kansas News Service, among other collaborations.



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