CPB to Fund Urban Alternative Public Radio Expansion

More Public Radio Stations Sought to Launch Format for Young, Multicultural Audiences

August 30, 2022

NEW ORLEANS, LA (August 30, 2022) – Building on the success of the Urban Alternative public radio format in cities from Denver to Milwaukee, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) is supporting the expansion of the locally customized format, which uses hip hop, R&B, and dance genres to connect with young multicultural audiences. CPB President and CEO Pat Harrison announced a request for proposals from public radio stations wanting to launch the format today at the Public Radio Content Conference in New Orleans, LA.

“With CPB support, the Urban Alternative format has attracted a younger, more diverse audience to public radio,” Harrison said. “CPB is now pleased to support the expansion of this format, in which the stations will be trusted partners with these audiences, guided by their music and information needs and through engagement and events.”

CPB will select three public radio stations to receive grants of up to $500,000 and work with a consultant over a 30-month period to conduct market research and develop strategies for digital and community engagement, fundraising, and development. The request for proposals is available at cpb.org; deadline for submission is 5 p.m. ET October 28.

CPB support for research and development in 2015 enabled Chicago Public Media to transform its Vocalo online music service into Chicago’s Urban Alternative. The research created a model format that borrows from the popularity of urban contemporary music while remaining true to public radio’s values, connecting urban audiences through music discovery and community engagement. With CPB support, the Urban Alternative format has been customized by Rocky Mountain Public Media (104.7 THE DROP) in Denver, KTSU (The Vibe) in Houston, WNSB (Hot 91) in Norfolk, VA, WYMS Radio Milwaukee (HYFIN), and Minnesota Public Radio’s The Current (Carbon Sound). WJSU’s The Sipp launched Saturday in Jackson, MS.


About CPB
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private, nonprofit corporation authorized 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 managed 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 cpb.org, follow us on Twitter @CPBmedia, Facebook, and LinkedIn and subscribe for email updates.

Categories: CPB Funding, Radio