Author Archives: Florida Public Media

WMNF-FM Hires Rick Fernandes as New General Manager

WMNF has a new general manager; the Tampa Bay area’s full-power community radio station announced Wednesday that the station’s board of directors has hired Rick Fernandes, who will start on November 11.

Rick Fernandes
In the past, Fernandes served as the executive director of the Fred Rogers Center, an executive at Time Warner and the director of television programs.
In this interview, WMNF News asked him what he brings to the station and how 88.5 FM can stand out in a crowded media environment.

 
“I like to consider myself a ‘down to earth’ person. Though I may have fancy titles before, I consider myself just a kid from Brooklyn. My experience has been — sort of what I bring to the table — that I’ve been on both sides of the fence, per se, in every area.
“I’ve been in the production / creative side, but I’ve also been on the business / management side. I’ve worked for for-profit companies, and I’ve worked for non-profit organizations. And that sort of gives me a different perspective. And able to look at things from a different angle. And what I hope is to sort of bring the best out of people, and help WMNF achieve its goals.”

 
“There’s tons of media choices. But, in the end people generally look for two things, in my opinion. It’s not the medium or for the content, but it’s the person who is presenting it.
“So, whether it’s the news reporter or whether it’s your disc jockey, they attach to people. Because in the end, there are so many choices out there. Who is your curator?
“So, to me, it’s how do you highlight that? WMNF really has impressed me. You think: ‘Oh, it’s a community radio station.’ You have done incredibly well. You don’t last 40 years in the media industry without changing formats, without trying to reinvent yourself all the time. You have a very clear mission, and you’re delivering on it.

 
“I think the challenge in this landscape is that there are so many choices. How do you make people aware of who you are and what you stand for?

 
“So, for me, the goal really is, how do we raise the profile? How do we let people in the community that aren’t aware of the station, become aware of it? Because I honestly believe it’s not about changing you are. You are great! I wouldn’t want to be part of an organization that I didn’t believe in its mission.

 
“It’s how you let more people know about the diverse viewpoints you have. The music is phenomenal. The news programming, in that you are serving the local community. Because in the end, there’s so much about national coverage and music just being about what’s the most popular. I think people relate to something that’s different, unique, that relates to them.”

 
In a press release, the president of WMNF’s board of directors David Harbeitner writes, “Richard joins WMNF with an opportunity to help expand our presence in the community.”

With CPB support, WUCF will expand video series about emergency responders

By Liz Shoemaker, Current.org Editorial Intern

The WUCF program Meet the Helpers, which teaches children about who emergency responders are and what they do, is expanding nationally to connect more children with a wider variety of “helpers.”

The station in Orlando, Fla., created the digital video series in response to shootings and natural disasters affecting the community. The program encourages children to find emergency responders who can help with frightening situations.

The title of the project draws inspiration from Fred Rogers, who told children to “look for the helpers” in a crisis. Its website (https://www.meetthehelpers.org/) features short videos explaining the roles that firefighters, police officers and paramedics play in emergencies. The site also provides community toolkits for educators to use in their own towns.

The program launched in 2016 after the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. WUCF soon started receiving inquiries from community members, other stations and CPB, which was hoping to provide additional funding for the project.

WUCF “identified an urgent need in their community: to support children’s emotional well-being and help them understand the roles of adults who keep them safe,” said Debra Sanchez, SVP, education at CPB.

The WUCF team devised a plan to include five new partner stations. Each will receive $10,000 from CPB to support their work with Meet the Helpers and will aim to reach at least 200 people through videos and outreach. The University of Central Florida’s Education Department and School of Communications will work with the stations to formalize findings on crisis communication for children.

“There’s a knowledge gap on that type of research,” said Jennifer Cook, senior director of content and engagement at WUCF. “Our partner stations will be tapped into these university experts who will help us conduct research across the country so that we can better tailor messages in the future, develop new helpers and measure the impact of this type of content.”

WUCF designed the project to be flexible. “We wanted a bunch of different market sizes,” said Cook. “This is one of those instances where a crisis will impact any community regardless of size, regardless of demographic.”

“We have to be proactive,” said Kellie May, digital media specialist at partner station CET Television in Cincinnati. “Meet the Helpers gives families a platform to start what can sometimes be challenging conversations, and that’s important. If we wait for a disaster to help kids understand who the helpers are in our community, it’s too late.”

The project has brought new regional perspectives and experiences to the helpers featured on the show. WUCF in Orlando may not need to feature a ski patrol officer, but stations in New England do and could add that helper to their series.

Meet the Helpers goes beyond the screen. Community groups and educators who worked with WUCF during the show’s launch have organized larger meet-and-greet days with helpers and children. Cook would like partner stations to follow suit.

WUCF is reviewing grant applications and hopes to choose partner stations by Aug. 1. Cook said she would like to add even more stations in the future. She and UCF researchers also hope to compile and publish the data gathered from the first group of partners to strengthen the program and feature more helpers

 

https://current.org/2019/07/with-cpb-support-wucf-will-expand-video-series-about-emergency-responders/

Florida Public Media elects new officers

The association of public broadcasters elected new officers during the group’s annual board meeting in July.

Elected to office were:

Chair: Randy Wright, Executive Director WUFT-FM/TV (Gainesville/Ocala)
Vice-Chair: Bob Culkeen, General Manager, WSRE-TV (Pensacola)
Treasurer: David Mullins, General Manager, WFSU -TV/FM (Tallahassee)
Secretary: Amy Shumaker, Associate GM – Content, WGCU-FM/TV (Ft. Myers/Naples)
At-Large: Phil Hoffman, Executive Director & Assistant VP, WUCF-TV (Orlando)
Immediate Past Chair: Dolores Sukhdeo (President & CEO, South Florida PBS, Miami)

Florida Public Media (FPM) is the organization of 24 public radio and public television stations in the state. The stations broadcast programming by NPR and PBS, and a wide range of news, public affairs, and music producers. TV members provide the main distribution of The Florida Channel, and radio members serve as the backbone of the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network (FPREN).

FPM is the state’s leader in educational programming and emergency communications.

“Public media in Florida touches millions of lives each day and I couldn’t be more proud to work with my colleagues across the state to help ensure our work in education, news and information, public safety and service to the community and state remains on a track of growth and even greater impact in the future,” new chair Randy Wright said.

“Projects like FPREN highlight the unique power of public media during the most challenging of times.”

“Public stations across the state are there for Floridians when they need it most. While we don’t enjoy hurricanes, tropical storms and other emergencies public media sets the standard for community service and being a voice of calm and reason that people can count on during these events. I’m very proud of what public media in Florida is doing for our state related to public safety and emergency messaging.”

Located on the University of Florida campus, FPREN has been widely recognized in the state and on the national level for its leadership in public safety communications.

In March 2019, it won the prestigious Community Lifeline Award presented by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

In May 2018, FPREN received the Public Information Award at the 32nd Annual Governor’s Hurricane Conference® Awards.

CPB Honors WUFT and Florida Public Radio Emergency Network with Community Lifeline Award

Collaboration of Thirteen Stations Based at University of Florida

(WASHINGTON, DC) March 19, 2019—The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) today presented the Community Lifeline Award to WUFT-TV/FM (WUFT) and the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network (FPREN) during a meeting of the CPB Board of Directors. The award recognizes public media stations providing outstanding service to their communities during local emergencies, natural disasters and other urgent situations.

“Public media’s services are especially important for communities affected by natural disasters and other emergencies. Under the leadership of WUFT, FPREN provided lifesaving information not only across Florida but also in North and South Carolina,” said CPB Board member Elizabeth Sembler. “The innovative approach demonstrated by these partner stations exemplifies both the spirit of public service and the powerful role of public media.”

FPREN Community Lifeline Award

From left, CPB Board Chair Bruce Ramer, CPB Board member Robert Mandell, FPREN Chief Meteorologist Jeff Huffman, WUFT and FPREN Executive Director Randy Wright and CPB Board member Elizabeth Sembler.

FPREN is the collaboration of 13 public radio stations based at WUFT in Gainesville-Ocala, Florida, and delivers emergency broadcast and social media content across the state. Their free app, Florida Storms, provides geotargeted live forecasts, information about evacuation routes and shelters, and live streams local public radio broadcasts. FPREN served millions of people through multiple emergencies including Hurricanes Michael, Irma and Matthew.

“We’re honored by this recognition from CPB for what we feel is a core mission of public media. We appreciate the ongoing support of CPB, Pat Harrison and the Board for their encouragement of innovative concepts like FPREN and look forward to providing these public safety services to even more Americans in the future,” said Randy Wright, executive director of WUFT and FPREN.

WUFT operates as a part of the University of Florida and incorporates hundreds of students annually from the UF College of Journalism and Communications into immersive professional experiences. WUFT also launched the South Carolina Emergency Information Network with South Carolina ETV/South Carolina Public Radio in 2018, serving South Carolina and parts of North Carolina with emergency messaging.

Established in 2012, this is only the second time the Community Lifeline Award has been presented. The inaugural recipients were WNET and New York Public Radio (WNYC/NJPR).

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.

50 Public Media Stations Receive CPB Education Planning Grants

$10,000 Seed Grants to Spur Education Innovation

Jun 14, 2018

(WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 14, 2018) – The Corporation for Public Broadcasting has awarded $500,000 to 50 public media stations across the country to explore innovative education programs. The grants of $10,000 per station will help fund research and planning, a crucial first step for stations to assess local needs and opportunities and to innovate on a local level.

“Through these pilot grants, we want stations to consider innovative ways to use media to meet pressing educational needs in their communities,” said Deb Sanchez, CPB senior vice president, education and children’s content. “The needs assessment and planning process will give stations the opportunity to discover today’s teaching and learning challenges and how public media can serve as a trusted educational media partner to serve their communities.”

CPB announced the grant opportunity at the Public Media Thought Leader Forum, at the 2018 National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA) conference in January. Forum speakers inspired public media leaders to think about their education work in new and different ways. For example, Michael Horn of the Clayton Christensen Institute challenged stations to identify individual needs when developing educational content, as well as service and engagement strategies to better connect resources to those individuals.

The 50 stations receiving grants include public television and radio stations as well as joint licensees of all sizes, including WNET in New York City, New England Public Radio, KRWG in Las Cruces, N.M., and a collaboration between East Tennessee PBS and WUOT-FM. CPB will supplement the grants with professional learning activities, including an in-person meeting, needs assessments and personalized technical assistance, and a series of webinars showcasing tools and processes stations can use to build and implement a new vision of their education service. After six months, participating stations should have a fully developed project or service that they can bring to CPB or other partners for funding.

The stations include the following, alphabetically by state:

  • KHSU-FM, Arcata, Calif.
  • PBS SoCal, Costa Mesa, Calif.
  • Rocky Mountain PBS, Denver, Colo.
  • Connecticut Public, Hartford, Conn.
  • WJCT, Jacksonville, Fla.
  • WUCF-TV, Orlando, Fla.
  • WMFE-FM, Orlando, Fla.
  • WFSU, Tallahassee, Fla.
  • WUSF, Tampa, Fla.
  • Iowa Public Television, Johnston, Iowa
  • Idaho Public Television, Boise, Idaho
  • WKU Public Broadcasting, Bowling Green. Ky.
  • Louisiana Public Broadcasting, Baton Rouge, La.
  • WGBY, Springfield, Mass.
  • New England Public Radio, Springfield, Mass.
  • Maryland Public Television, Owings Mills, Md.
  • WKAR, East Lansing, Mich.
  • WGVU, Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Detroit Public Television, Wixom, Mich.
  • WCMU Public Media, Mount Pleasant, Mich.
  • Twin Cities Public Television, St. Paul, Minn.
  • KCPT, Kansas City, Mo.
  • Nine Network of Public Media, St. Louis, Mo.
  • Montana PBS, Bozeman, Mont.
  • UNC-TV, Research/Triangle Park, N.C.
  • Prairie Public Broadcasting, Fargo, N.D.
  • KRWG, Las Cruces, N.M.
  • Vegas PBS, Las Vegas, Nev.
  • WSKG, Binghamton, N.Y.
  • WNED/WBFO-FM, Buffalo, N.Y.
  • WCNY/Public Broadcasting Council of Central New York, Syracuse, N.Y.
  • WNET/Educational Broadcasting Corporation, New York City, N.Y.
  • WMHT, Troy, N.Y.
  • WPBS, Watertown, N.Y.
  • WGTE, Toledo, Ohio
  • Oklahoma Educational Television Authority, Oklahoma City, Okla.
  • WLVT-TV, Bethlehem, Pa.
  • WQED, Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • WVIA, Pittston, Pa.
  • WHYY, Philadelphia, Pa.
  • WPSU, University Park, Pa.
  • WSBE/Rhode Island PBS, Providence, R.I.
  • WCTE, Cookeville, Tenn.
  • East Tennessee PBS/WUOT-FM, Knoxville, Tenn.
  • Nashville Public Television, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Panhandle PBS, Amarillo, Texas
  • KERA, Dallas, Texas
  • KLRU, Austin, Texas
  • KUEN, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • WHRO Public Media, Norfolk, Va.

 

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 nearly 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 @CPBmediaFacebookLinkedIn, and subscribe for other updates.

WUCF Unveils Project To Help Children During Emergencies

ORLANDO, June 1, 2018 –  WUCF TV begins a new initiative today, Meet The Helpers, a multiplatform project aimed at teaching children about important community helpers so they are better prepared in emergency situations.

Working with Judith Levin, a University of Central Florida professor and expert in early childhood development and education, WUCF developed a series of short videos to introduce common “helpers” in the community. The project includes videos featuring:

  • an emergency room doctor
  • a meteorologist
  • a teacher
  • a police officer
  • a firefighter
  • a paramedic
  • and a 911 operator

Helpers from Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, WKMG News 6, University of Central Florida College of Education and Human Performance, Orange County Sheriff’s Office and Orange County Fire Rescue contributed to make the series.

These videos will air on WUCF during PBS KIDS programming and on WUCF PBS KIDS 24/7 channel. Videos are also available online at meetthehelpers.org.

“This project began as a way to help the Central Florida community talk about emergency preparedness with our youngest citizens after the Pulse nightclub shooting,” said Phil Hoffman, WUCF executive director. “Drawing on inspiration from TV’s Fred Rogers, we looked to the helpers and soon realized a void in this type of content for children. Now we’re expanding this project to share with PBS stations nationwide. Meet the Helpers shows the power of public media in strengthening the safety of all our communities.”

You can learn more about Meet the Helpers and check out the videos and resources by visiting meetthehelpers.org.

 

About WUCF TV

WUCF TV, Central Florida PBS is the sole-service PBS member station whose mission is to encourage curiosity and learning through compelling content and community engagement. The station serves nearly 4 million Central Floridians across nine counties and is community-supported public broadcasting from the University of Central Florida.  Learn more at http://wucftv.org.

Media Contact:

Jennifer Cook, WUCF, 407-823-2947, jennifer.cook@nullwucf.org

WUCF Helps Families Discuss Traumatic Events With Children

In WUCF’s “Meet the Helpers” campaign, Dr. Brandon Carr explains his job and how he helps in times of trauma.

Among the many reassuring messages that young children heard on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood during its decades on PBS, host and producer Fred Rogers encouraged his viewers to “look for the helpers” whenever they saw news coverage of scary events.

WUCF in Orlando, Fla., has adopted this philosophy in its response to mass shootings and natural disasters that have affected its community.

To help children cope with these traumatic experiences, WUCF is producing a new video series, “Meet the Helpers,” which aims to familiarize children with emergency responders, such as firefighters and doctors, according to Jennifer Cook, WUCF Director of Communications.

The initiative began after the 2016 Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando. Since the station doesn’t operate a newsroom, WUCF decided to become a “hub of the helpers.” It created spots and online content advising community members about where to receive or provide help in response to the event, Cook said.

The conversation quickly shifted. Within 24 hours, the station began receiving questions on how to explain the event to kids and help them cope with their fears.

“We started getting a lot of questions … saying, ‘That’s great and we love this, but how do I talk to my kids about this shooting?’” Cook said. “That sparked us to think about it differently as well.” The station reached out to educators for advice on how parents and teachers can talk to children about traumatic events.

Working with Judith Levin, a professor and expert in early childhood development and education at the University of Central Florida, and other community organizations, the station developed a series of interstitials that introduce common “helpers” to kids, according to Catherine Hiles, manager of education and community engagement.

Based on Levin’s insights, the initiative is structured around the importance of giving kids an opportunity “to meet these helpers in a safe environment before something traumatic happens,” Hiles said. After receiving these messages when they feel safe and secure, children are more likely to feel less anxious about accepting assistance during times of emergency.

Videos now in production also feature a sheriff’s deputy, a teacher, a meteorologist, a 911 operator and an emergency medical technician. Each “helper” appears separately in spots that run during program breaks and as streaming videos posted on WUCF’s website, according to Cook. WUCF is also sharing the videos on social media platforms.

Florida Humanities Council Announces Grants for The Great American Read Project

THE GREAT AMERICAN READ is an eight-part television and online series designed to spark a national conversation about reading and the books that have inspired, moved, and shaped us. The series will engage audiences with a list of 100 diverse books. Audiences are encouraged to read the books, vote from the list of 100, and share their personal connections to the titles. The Great American Read premieres Tuesday, May 22 at 8/7c on PBS stations with a launch special, kicking off a summer of reading and voting.

Then in the fall, starting Sept. 11th, seven new episodes of the series will air as the quest to find America’s most beloved book moves into high gear. Episodes from the series will feature appearances by celebrities, athletes, experts, authors, and everyday Americans advocating for their favorite book. The finale will air on Oct. 23rd. FHC and the Florida Library Association (FLA) are proud to co-sponsor the Florida public broadcast of this engaging series. To learn more about The Great American Read click here.

The King of the Waves: WJCT’s David McGowan

He [McGowan] repeatedly mentions the need to increase WJCT’s metabolism, especially in the digital landscape.

“We must work to apply the resources that will allow us to continue to do more of the work and make us more valuable to all of the different communities in our footprint.”

“Whether we want it or not, we have a greater control today over how we consume media,” McGowan says. “One of my biggest jobs [at WJCT] is to make sure that we are as available, relevant and innovative today and tomorrow as we were yesterday.”

You can read the entire (Josue Cruz) profile of WCJT’s new president and CEO in Folio Weekly Magazine here.

Why I Choose PBS LearningMedia

By Brian Lassiter, Astoria Park Elementary, Tallahassee, Florida

One of my main goals as an educator is to help students find their way as an independent learner. Many times I have witnessed students look to the teacher as the holy grail of knowledge.  I would love for that to be the case (for my own ego), but believe it or not, teachers are human – we don’t know everything.

How does this tie into PBS LearningMedia?  Simple.  While guiding my students to think for themselves and formulate ideas based on their own collection of knowledge, students need to have a safe place to learn this skill.  What is safer than allowing students access to a brand they trust and are already familiar with – PBS?

The student access site for PBS LearningMedia (www.florida.pbslearningmedia.org) is a great tool students can use to research and discover information on their own.  I trust when they visit this page nothing inappropriate will pop up on the screen.  I can plan assignments for students to complete on their own if they finish early.  They can complete projects and share with students in class as well as with me.

Another feature I love about PBS LearningMedia is the quality of the content.  PBS is a trusted brand I feel safe using.  Many times I have searched for a topic only to find the resource needed a tweak for student use.  With FPBS Learning Media, I am secure knowing I do not have to stand over the shoulders of students and monitor their every keystroke.

PBS LearningMedia gives me full freedom to allow students to explore.  The content is safe and educational.  There are full-length programs students are familiar with such as Cyber Chase, Martha Speaks and Curious George.  All these programs have been used in my classroom as a way to introduce topics like engineering, or to assist in such school community building like Reading Buddies.

When asked, most teachers say their favorite thing about teaching is when the “light bulb” goes off and the student “gets it.”  I get satisfaction from that as well, however, what really makes my heart swell with pride is when a student comes to me and says, “Mr. Lassiter, I want to share something I learned with the class.”

So allow your students the opportunity to explore PBS LearningMedia, a quality stepping stone in learning – and it’s FREE!