Executive Summary: “Sustaining WMUK’s Future”
By Gordon Bolar, General Manager
When I interviewed for the position of General Manager of WMUK in 2011, the search committee asked me what I believed WMUK should emphasize. I told them that WMUK has 36,000 faithful weekly listeners. “Now,” I said, “we need to find ways to listen to them.”
With input from volunteers, members of our Friends Advisory Committee and two surveys, I am pleased to report that our staff has been listening. Needless to say, we have also learned. Much of what we learned is manifested in our vision statement and in our new strategic plan.
In this age of rapid changes affecting all media, we learned that there were technological changes we had yet to respond to. We have made adjustments on our website and in our mobile capabilities in the past year. Our strategic plan makes provisions to adapt to the changing needs of diverse, new and traditional audiences in the future. As we do, we are mindful of Western Michigan University’s mission: “Learner Centered, Discovery Driven and Globally Engaged.”
Shrinking coverage from other local media sources has generated a need for more local news and coverage of our community’s rich cultural scene. Our plan addresses this with personnel dedicated to producing new content. New programs will address listener needs in music.
Another need we have come to terms with was our lack of resources in marketing and promoting WMUK. There might have been a time, a few years ago, when listeners expected little or no spending in the area of marketing. That time has passed. Given the competition and the array of choices for listeners today, marketing became a priority in numerous planning discussions. As one member of our planning team put it, “WMUK can no longer hide its light under a bushel.” I agree. Our story, our programs and our services should be brought to the attention of everyone.
Closely related to marketing is the area of community involvement. Our plan provides for more personal appearances by our staff and will continue to include sponsorship of community events. In addition, we plan to collaborate with selected local organizations to extend our services.
No plan for the future would be complete without addressing the importance of funding and sustaining all of the efforts mentioned above. Our plan considers the pressing need for increased membership support, and outlines means of achieving this. We have also included underwriting as a major stream of revenue and have planned for better business-to-business communication. Major funding from donors and foundations is also part of our plan in the area of development.
I am pleased to report that some of the goals and projects in our plan were achieved before the plan was released on October 1, 2013. “Sustaining WMUK’s Future” is a working document. It will not be merely filed away or forgotten. A dynamic calendar will keep us on target with our goals and projects during the next five years. Our progress will be reviewed annually.
Finally, I extend my thanks to the WMUK staff members who co-authored our plan: Andy Robins, Klay Woodworth, Martin Klemm, Mark Tomlonson, Anders Dahlberg and Kim Willis.