Morehead State Public Radio (MSPR) is governed by the Board of Regents at Morehead State University (MSU) in Morehead, Kentucky. MSPR is operated by its flagship station, WMKY (90.3FM) in Morehead with a translator W202BH in Inez. Since 1965, WMKY has served the communities in more than twenty counties throughout eastern Kentucky, southern Ohio and western West Virginia. MSPR also broadcasts live online through WMKY’s website (www.wmky.org).
MSPR’s mission is to provide regional programming that is educational, informative and entertaining. Through the work provided by a staff consisting of four full-time directors, Morehead State University student work-studies and community volunteers, MSPR offers regional news, public affairs and documentary programming, as well as a variety of regional music programs consisting of classical, jazz and Americana (bluegrass, blues, folk and traditional/old-time).
- “Front Page” is a weekly public affairs program focusing on community issues, people and events important to the listeners in the MSPR region. Front Page explores important topics including education, health, environment, government, arts and culture.
- “Midday News” and “Mountain Edition” are weekday newsmagazines focusing on current issues and events from the MSPR region. These programs also showcase features and guest commentaries.
- “Health Matters” is a weekly public affairs program addressing medical topics and health education issues. “Health Matters” is a co-production between MSPR and the Northeast Kentucky Area Health Education Center, an outreach service of St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead (KY).
- “Shaping Appalachia,” hosted by MSU President Wayne Andrews, is a monthly public affairs program discussing issues facing eastern Kentucky. Topics include arts and culture, education, employment, healthcare and wellness.
- MSPR contributes features to “Inside Appalachia,” a weekly news program focusing on the people and culture of the Appalachian region. The program is produced by West Virginia Public Radio.
- MSPR’s news stories and feature reports are regularly shared with other public radio stations.
In addition, MSPR produces several daily newscasts and in-depth features on people, places and events in the region. MSPR regularly covers a variety of issues including agriculture, arts and culture, economics, education, environment, government, health, transportation and more. In 2016, MSPR provided more than 2,000 regional stories (scripts and audio) and 60 extended news features.
MSPR also provides election coverage from several counties in the broadcast region with live reports, interviews and election results during the primary and general elections. MSPR regularly invites regional newsmakers to WMKY’s studios to discuss issues.
- Classical music is presented weekdays from 9:00a.m. to 3:00p.m., and weeknights from 8:00p.m. to 5:00a.m. Feature segments during the weekday program include Pulse of the Planet, 90 Second Naturalist and The Reader’s Notebook.
- The “MSU Recital Series” is a locally-hosted program showcasing performances of MSU’s School of Music, Theatre and Dance. Selections on the program are performed by MSU faculty, staff and guests, recorded live for broadcast from the Duncan Recital Hall in MSU’s Baird Music Building.
- MSPR offers locally-hosted weekly jazz and blues music programs including “Sunday Night Jazz Showcase,” “Nothin’ But The Blues” and “Muddy Bottom Blues.”
- MSPR presents other locally-hosted music programs including “Bluegrass Railroad” and “Bluegrass Sunday” (bluegrass), “Grant Alden’s Field Notes” (Americana) and “Odd Numbers” (variety).
During MSPR’s locally-hosted music programs, regional events are often promoted. Musicians and songwriters are invited to the studios to perform and interviews are conducted on a regular basis.
1. MSPR offers “A Time For Tales” as a weekly hour-long MSPR production of storytelling through words and music, featuring regional and national storytellers.
2. “The Reader’s Notebook,” a production of MSPR, is a weekday, four minute radio feature offering literary or historical detail on a particular subject including science, technology, philosophy, history and the arts.
3. MSPR presents special programming throughout the year to celebrate holidays or events such as Black History Month, Women’s History Month, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving.
4. “The Golden Age Of Radio” is a weekly hour-long MSPR production of classic, old-time radio programs from the 1930’s through the 1950’s including thrilling westerns, comedy, adventure and suspense.
5. MSPR regularly broadcasts public service announcements of regional community events. The information is also posted on MSPR’s website (www.wmky.org). More than 600 public service announcements were made available in 2016. MSPR also partnered with the Kentucky Education Association, Kentucky State Police and Kentucky Department of Transportation to broadcast a series of public service announcements on student learning, school safety, bullying, highway (construction zone) and seatbelt safety.
6. MSPR offers additional programming services on its website including live web-streaming. Archived audio files and podcasts of locally-produced regional news programs including “Front Page,” “Health Matters” and “Mountain Edition” are also available on MSPR’s website.
In addition to the variety of local programming from MSPR, the funding support from listener contributions, local underwriting and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) enables WMKY to purchase programs from National Public Radio such as “All Things Considered” and “Morning Edition.” Programs acquired from Public Radio International include “Classical 24” and “The World.” Programs purchased from the African-American Public Radio Consortium include “Café Jazz” and “Return to The Source.”
MSPR also broadcasts public affairs programs produced by Kentucky Educational Television (KET) including “Comment on Kentucky,” “Connections with Renee Shaw” and “Kentucky Tonight.” Independent programs acquired by MSPR include “The Folk Sampler” and “Kentucky Afield Radio” produced by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife.
MSPR also partners with the Associated Press, Kentucky News Network and Public News Service for use of their wire and audio services. A partnership with the Ledger Independent, a regional newspaper based in Maysville (KY), also provides web-based news stories for MSPR’s website.
In 2016, several MSPR staff members were award recipients and recognized for their accomplishments in broadcasting and contributions to the community.
- MSPR staff won 14 awards from the 2016 Kentucky Associated Press, including two 1st Place and two 3rd Place in the professional division as well as three 1st Place, five 2nd Place and two 3rd Place in the college division.
- Samantha Morrill and Jordan Simonson were recipients of MSPR’s Outstanding Student Award. Michael Gustin received the MSPR Community Advisory Board Student Achievement Award.
- Chuck Mraz received the 2016 Outstanding Media and Technology Award from the East Kentucky Leadership Foundation.
- Greg Jenkins served as emcee for a concert by the Cave Run Symphony Orchestra and announcer for MSU’s Blue and Gold Festival.
- MSPR was recognized with an Employer Recognition Award by the Kentucky Office of Vocational Rehabilitation for providing employment opportunities to persons with disabilities.
- Samantha Morrill and Jordan Simonson attended the 17th Annual Women’s Business Symposium presented by the MSU Small Business Development Center.
- Paul Hitchcock completed training and was named a Community Scholar by the Kentucky Arts Council.
- “A Time For Tales” with Carolyn Franzini aired its 300th program.
- Morehead City Council recognized WMKY for 50 years of community service.
- Paul Hitchcock and Greg Jenkins participated in several online webinars provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Morehead State University and National Public Radio.
Operating as the flagship station for the MSPR network, WMKY (90.3FM) serves an important role as a hands-on training opportunity for Morehead State University students. The support MSPR receives from listeners, local underwriting, Morehead State University and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) enables MSPR to train students for careers in broadcasting, repair or purchase new equipment and develop local programs of educational, informational and entertaining significance.
Important to serving the communities in the Appalachian region is involving MSPR’s Community Advisory Board (CAB) in programming, operations, engagement and outreach. The CAB consists of nine individuals from MSPR’s twenty county service region. The CAB reviews MSPR’s mission, goals and programming, assists in developing and building the listening audience and expanding the operational base of support. CAB members serve a three year term and meet with MSPR staff on a quarterly basis. CAB meetings are publicized in advance and the meetings are open to the public. CAB minutes are posted on MSPR’s website.
MSPR is regularly involved with the community by sponsoring local and regional events and festivals. Some of the events sponsored by MSPR in 2016 included August Art Guild’s Art in the Garden (Augusta), Cave Run Storytelling Festival (Morehead), Col. Bill Williams Heritage Music Festival (Greenup), Greenup County Music Festival (Greenup), Kentucky Folk Art Center’s Day in the Country (Morehead), Market in the Park (West Liberty), Morehead Masters Spelling Bee (Morehead), Morehead Theatre Guild (Morehead), Rowan County Arts Center’s First Friday Outdoor Market (Morehead), and Storybook Christmas (Morehead).
MSPR sponsored several events on the campus of Morehead State University (MSU) during 2016 including music, theatre and dance productions, clinics, lectures, art exhibitions, writing workshops, author readings and film screenings.
During the year, MSPR participated in job fairs and open houses at MSU and throughout the region. MSPR staff members were featured speakers at civic luncheons, public events and MSU classrooms. MSPR also welcomed new MSU students by participating in the Student Orientation, Advising and Registration (SOAR).
As part of an educational outreach and engagement project, MSPR provided 150 copies of “Best of Americana Crossroads Live” CD (MSPR production) to Blessing Hands in Morehead for distribution to the people of the Guangxi Province of China on two goodwill mission trips.
MSPR’s facilities are open to the public throughout the year and the staff regularly provides guided tours of the facilities to schools, clubs, civic groups and community organizations.
The involvement of MSPR in community and regional activities helps to increase the awareness, learning and understanding of social, cultural and diversity issues. As MSPR’s ongoing outreach and engagement efforts continue, MSPR’s participation will enhance the facilitation of connecting people to needed resources and strengthening partnerships between organizations in the region.
Another important role in MSPR’s operations is serving as a flagship station in the Emergency Alert System (EAS). MSPR’s continued efforts to best serve listeners, especially the rural sections of MSPR’s broadcast region, is to be proactive in regularly providing public safety information regarding emergencies and natural disasters. WMKY participated in a National EAS Test on September 28, administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Communications Commission. An off-site auxiliary transmitter is also available during equipment and technical adjustments, tower inspections, power failures or severe weather.
In 2016, MSPR continued a partnership with Radio Eye, Inc., based in Lexington (KY) to provide a radio reading service to the blind, visually challenged and impaired. MSPR provided use of WMKY’s sub-carrier to provide programming including newspapers, magazines, community events, obituaries and more. As an ongoing project, specially-designed radios are distributed free-of-charge to qualified applicants in the region.
MSPR will continue to collaborate with Radio Eye to offer regional programming by providing studio space to volunteers. MSPR will also promote the reading service through regular on-air broadcast announcements.
MSPR will continue to work with community partners, such as D&S Community Services, to provide employment opportunities for individuals with varying abilities to promote their independence, build their self-esteem and improve their quality of life.
MSPR will continue to focus on providing quality news, informational and entertainment programming which best serves the region. MSPR will enhance regional news programs by offering in-depth stories and features on people, places, issues and events.
As resources are available, MSPR will support regional community events such as concerts, festivals, workshops, symposiums, exhibits and lectures. These outreach activities enable MSPR to foster and enhance partnerships with regional organizations and the communities they serve. Connecting with these communities is a vital part of MSPR’s mission to provide programming which is educational, informative and entertaining.
MSPR will continue to improve its website by providing an interactive outlet for listeners through podcasting, web-streaming and audio downloads, as well as other interactive media. Improvements to WMKY’s studios will continue to be enhanced through equipment upgrades and utilization of new technology.
Important to MSPR’s success in improved programming and outreach activities, is developing a knowledgeable and trained professional staff. Opportunities for MSPR’s staff to attend workshops, seminars and conferences will be available to enhance professional training, career education and peer-networking opportunities. As a result, MSPR’s staff can be better informed and skilled to share their knowledge with other staff members.
The funds we receive from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is vital for WMKY in providing unmatched regional news coverage, informational public affairs and cultural, music and entertainment programming. CPB funding covers the majority of WMKY’s operational expenses, including part-time salaries, purchase of national programming, network memberships, transmitter (main and auxiliary) electrical and tower rental fees.
WMKY’s Community Service Grant accounts for nearly one-half of WMKY’s total operational budget. CPB funding is extremely critical to WMKY’s existence because traditional revenue sources, such as Morehead State University (WMKY’s licensee) internal allocations, have been steadily decreasing in recent years. This reduction is largely due to economic factors stemming from state-supported funding. WMKY could not operate at its current level without the support of the CPB.
Morehead State Public Radio (WMKY) greatly appreciates the generous support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. MSPR understands this is an equal partnership and is dedicated to serving the listeners in eastern Kentucky by offering educational, informational and entertainment programming as a valuable resource to the communities served by MSPR in sustaining a unique sense of community, heritage and culture.