Diversity Statement

Diversity Statement for WMUK in September of 2014:

WMUK presents program content that reflects the diversity of our community, our nation and the world to our broadcast and on-line audience in many ways. Arts and culture play a prominent role in the way that WMUK addresses diversity.

First we reflect diversity though playing the music of many cultures both current and throughout history. Classical, Celtic, Hispanic, jazz, folk, acoustic and Americana are some of the genres included in the more than 160 hours of music each week on WMUK’s two program streams. The artists creating and performing this music represent many races, cultures and nationalities.      

Besides playing the music from diverse cultures, WMUK also covers the music, arts and traditions of diverse cultures within our community through interviews and through Arts & More. Each week WMUK airs several Arts & More segments related to music, visual art, dance, literature and theatre as well as stories related to food, festivals, celebrations and traditions of Native American, Asian-American, African America, Hispanic, Eastern European, Irish, Scottish and Islamic communities and populations within our region.

Finally, WMUK news presents daily stories related to diverse communities and populations in our area. During the past two years, for instance, WMUK news has covered stories focusing on LGBT populations, veterans in our region, a number of minorities and stories focused on youths as well as seniors. WMUK also covered many stories that were connected to diversity through issues addressed in the areas of state and local government, education and the environment.

WMUK’s staff has direct artistic experience, expertise and training with a number of musical genres and art forms mentioned above, as well as with the cultures that produced them. Our volunteer producers also reflect the community diversity and are include interests of our diverse populations and cultures when planning music play lists. In addition, WMUK’s staff reflects a balance in terms of gender and generations.

Our Friends Advisory Committee reflects our community’s diversity. The FAC includes members of the LGBT, Hispanic, Asian American and African American Communities. Our governing body, the WMU Board of Trustees, appointed by Michigan’s Governor, reflects our state’s diversity.

WMUK’s Progress Toward Diversity in the Past Three Years 

During the past three years (2011-14) we have expanded diversity at WMUK through the following steps:

1. In September of 2013, WMUK’s newly developed strategic plan included a section on Diversity, with formal goals for diversity and means for achieving them. In August of 2014 our plan was reviewed by our strategic planning committee, as it will be each year.

2. In 2011 WMUK initiated and formed a Friends Advisory Committee that reflects community diversity. This body is reconstituted every two years (as it was in 2014) as members rotate off after two or four year terms, to insure that it continues to reflect our community’s diversity.

3. In 2011, WMUK initiated an EEO Self- Assessment Committee. This committee meets annually (at least) to review our hiring process and other activities that reflect diversity.

4. In response to the Committee’s recommendations and in an effort to increase staff diversity, WMUK redoubled its efforts in the area of Wide Dissemination of information relevant to hiring of positions at WMUK.

5. In 2013 (early in FY 14) WMUK scheduled and undertook diversity training for its staff. 

6. In the summer of 2013, WMU hosted StoryCorps’ Military Voices Initiative, which captured stories from community veterans who served in seven different wars.    

Diversity Goals from the past year (FY 14)

The following Diversity Goals from last year were successfully addressed during (FY14).

1. Expanding diversity in the music WMUK plays and covers through locally produced programs. This goal was addressed through “Arts & More” programs which covered the art of other cultures including, for example women musicians who played at Kalamazoo Pride LGBT Festival. Diversity played a large role in interviews of local artists and performances covered by Cara Lieurance in her morning Classical Music program and in the evenings on “Let’s Hear It.” Cara interviewed Jon Clayton, an African American jazz bass player as well as Jon Boyd, an African American violist, who focused listeners’ attention on Afro-European classical composers.

2. Expanding the diversity of the sources consulted in “Arts & More” and WMUK news stories. Examples of such news stories include stories on homeless veterans and stories on racial disparities in Michigan’s foster care system. Contributing to our success in expanding diversity in news were editorial board meetings between WMUK news staff and members of diverse communities in Southwest Michigan.

3. Expanding coverage of other cultures through  “Arts & More” on WMUK. One example is an “Arts & More” story featuring the visual art of a Brazilian-American female artist.

4. Engaging more diverse voices in the content WMUK produces and in programs we purchase. This was accomplished through programs like “The Library”, for example, which featured several episodes focusing on works by African American, Hispanic, Asian American and Native American authors, as well as those representing the LGBT community. In addition, WMUK has recruited minority student interns who have added to the diverse voices produced and the news pieces we aired. Allison Downey, an independent producer and Story teller was enlisted to produce pieces on issues encountered by members of the LGBT community.

5. Expand diversity in the workforce, management, Friends Advisory Committee and the volunteer corps at WMUK. Diversity was increased in each of these groups during the past Fiscal Year, including the hiring of an African American female news producer after a nationwide search.

6. Engage WMUK’s managers and staff in diversity training. WMUK staff attended a formal diversity training session at the beginning of the fall semester in 2013.  

Diversity Goals for WMUK in FY 15

Diversity Goals for the year to come (FY15) include

1. Expanding diversity in the music WMUK plays and covers through locally produced programs. This will include music on our third stream, now available on our website of music from diverse cultures around Southwest Michigan.

2. Expanding the diversity of the sources consulted in “Arts & More” and WMUK news stories. Plans include more editorial boards with input from members of our community representing diverse populations.

3. “Expanding coverage of other cultures through “Arts & More” and Cara Lieurance’s interviews in her morning Classical Music program and on her evening program, Let’s Hear It.”

4. Continue to engage diverse voices in the content WMUK produces, such as “The Library”, “Alma Latina” and “The Pure Drop”.

5. Continue to expand diversity in the workforce, management, Friends Advisory Committee and WMUK’s volunteer corps.

6. Engage WMUK managers and staff in LGBT diversity training.

7. Working with our University’s Office Diversity and Inclusion, and our local GLBT Community Resource Center, WMUK will host a residency (if available in 2015) of StoryCorp’s “Out Loud” Initiative in our community.

8. Collaborate with organizations representing diverse elements of  our community. We will do this through appearances at events and festivals celebrating diversity, by complementary promotion of these events on our air and through program advertising and sponsorship of these events.          

As recently as August 15, 2014, WMUK Management discussed WMUK’s Diversity Statement and the above goals with Western Michigan University’s licensing official.