Kris Gruen, WGDR Director
Audited Financial Reports
WGDR shall foster a culture of diversity in programming and content, governance, management, practices, and policies and shall bring together people of diverse backgrounds. The board of directors, advisory boards, committees, and workforce including management, staff, and volunteers will be reflective of our community, and respect differences in national and geographic origin, religion, age, gender, physical ability, sexual orientation, language, socioeconomics, marital status, veteran status, and viewpoint.
WGDR Practices – to be reviewed annually with the licensee
To recruit and retain a diverse workforce that is representative of our service area.
To provide equal opportunity in employment.
To educate our management and staff annually in best practices for maintaining an inclusive and diverse environment for all persons.
To seek candidates for WGDR Community Advisory Council that represent the geographically and demographically diverse composition of the communities we serve.
WGDR and WGDH are owned and operated by Goddard College Corporation, a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit organization. WGDR is committed to diversity in its workforce, boards, and volunteers. In the course of its pursuit of exploring and celebrating the Central Vermont region’s cultural heritage and supporting under-represented arts and information, WGDR is committed to programming and event scheduling designed to appeal to (and be informative for) the region’s demographic spectrum, including rural and urban communities, multi-generations, diverse viewpoints, and including residents of various national and geographic origin, religions, physical ability, sexual orientation, languages, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Local Content and Services Report
WGDR/WGDH broadcasts to Central Vermont, known as the legislative and government services community in the state. Vermont is founded in agrarian organic economy. Civil action for Social Justice, environmental initiatives and attendance for independent artistry is embraced, well supported, and widely practiced.
WGDR offers DemocracyNow! for this listenership; the only reliable, independent world news program, playing live every morning, repeated daily at 6pm (**WGDR also partners with producer Amy Goodman’s local visits to capitol city book stores and sister college, Vermont College of Fine Arts). WGDR’s signature talk block is a staff coordinated volunteer locals issues forum. Each program is a call-in show, offering listeners access to moderated dialogue on issues that pertain to local civic life, regional and national current events, even philosophical and spiritual matters.
WGDR produces weekly a significant amount of original programming for national audiences, including a short-format “Nature Notes” program on regional wildlife and wilderness engagement, an educational program on growing organic food, a philosophy program focusing on experimental sciences and spiritualities and more.
Our music programs span all genres, but our signature program features World Music, with an aim to combat xenophobia and offer our underserved listeners cultural heritage that can’t be found anywhere else on the dial. As a college licensee, our signature youth journalism program, Indie Kingdom, is our central on and off-air offering, and produces a number of innovative partnerships.
Indie Kingdom (WGDR’s youth radio and journalism program) establishes deep partnerships with high school educators and other radio stations throughout its listening areas and the country. Indie Kingdom is now a transferable youth radio program, with the most robust program manual of an comparable program of its kind in the industry. It provides and affordable model for any community, and/or public radio station to develop an educational department that can capably and directly with the schools in its footprint to teach secondary audio journalism skills for completing established curricular goals toward their degree. It does this by partnering directly with class room teachers by semester, interweaving technical and artistic lessons with that teacher’s curriculum, so that their academic goals are produced through high quality short and long format audio story and news, and displayed on air in service of the whole community. This program has been recognized by the National Federation of Community Broadcasters, who have asked WGDR to speak at their conferences, and at Public Media Development and Programming conferences around the country, siting the partnership model as an innovative way for small and big public to join forces in fostering youth awareness of public media, and service of the education sector nationally.
Indie Kingdom has built many relationships between organizations in Central Vermont, and between stations and schools throughout the country. Locally, WGDR was funded by the Vermont Community Foundation for three years. Lauren Bruno (Program Director for VCF) writes “Your project represents the very best of innovative nonprofit work in Vermont. We are proud to continue support of your work, and that of your colleagues with this award.”. Sally Kane, CEO of NFCB writes “Indie kingdom’s positive impact has been– and promises to continue to be– evident in relationship to all areas of the station’s (and its constituent’s) interests. The vision for this program as a transferable curriculum that can be shared with community stations and their schools nationwide is directly on target with calls to action coming from my organization (the NFCB), the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the mission of the station’s licensee.” WGDR has directly served nearly 200 Central Vermont students over the past three years, through six different schools, and is now overseeing its first successful transfer to a new station, education district and listenership in the northern and most populated and diverse city in the state, Burlington. Here’s what our partnering radio station manager, James Lockridge had to say about the program “We’ve continually sought to increase our capacity for engaging young people with media literacy, critical thinking and storytelling skills for broadcasting.
It will be an honor to work with you by bringing the resources of 105.9FM The Radiator to the Indie Kingdom effort. Perhaps most promising is the motivation Indie Kingdom provides small and big public radio stations to work together. Here’s what Vermont Public Radio Vice President, John Van Hoesen, had to say about Indie Kingdom “WGDR has built an excellent youth journalism partnership program with Indie Kingdom; one that capably develops strong ties between public media and the education sector, through the shared goal of serving underserved listeners and learners. When WGDR approached VPR in 2015 with a proposal for partnership on the expansion of this program, we accepted.”
WGDR’s youth radio work, world music focus and social and environmental justice oriented Public Affairs and news programming provides Vermont minorities (racial, gender, poor, disabled) a voice that can’t find representation anywhere else on the dial.
WGDR’s CPB funding gave birth to our signature youth radio journalism program, Indie Kingdom. Shortly after we built it with the help of our CSG grant, we began receiving a range of funding from other organizations and private donors who would not have invested without the prior work we were able to accomplish. Our CSG grant makes possible annual equipment upgrades, continued salaries for five of the seven department heads at the station, the broadcast and production of national programming and community events and partnerships that tie Central Vermont together. The CPB’s support of community radio’s localized sharing of arts and information is un-obstructive and even visionary. WGDR comfortably aligns with CPB’s mission to serve the underserved.
WGDR focuses its educational offerings on local youth training. Particularly, local high school aged students are invited to the station’s production studios and are organized in a series of training sessions aimed at developing transferable skills in media literacy and citizen journalism. Examples of these learning outcomes are audio editing, story-boarding, collaborative production and oral presentation skills. The finished products are broadcast on regular programs. WGDR wants to diversify its revenue with innovative offerings to its local community. One such example of this diversification is the development of a sustainable audio production service designed for affordability. This year, our most memorable partner was a group that was launching a learning app for 3-5 year olds. The app was called “Words That Go!”, and in addition to engineering the session, WGDR staff orchestrated the group of 3-5 year old word chorus performers! This made for some memorable pictures!
We devote at least 7 hours a day to Public Affairs and diverse national and international news. By way of call-in programs on many varied themes, WGDR/H is informed of its community’s recurring interests and needs, and in this way, reviews its programming for reflecting the needs of its interest groups.
The station continues to actively support program content related to women’s issues; itinerant agricultural workers in Vermont; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender; the homeless, Native Peoples and the poor.
The Effect On WGDR Of The Community Service Grant From The Corporation For Public Broadcasting
Our Community Service Grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting supports six, essential part-time station staff positions (Training Coordinator, Communications/Online Coordinator, Production Coordinator, Music Library Coordinator, Underwriting Coordinator and Operations Assistant). Without our CSG, these positions would not exist and the tasks associated would either be performed thinly by management, handled by volunteers, or not performed at all. The purpose of each of these positions is to foster impactful listener oriented volunteer programming, create and facilitate special programming (like the Homelessness Marathon), support programmer engagement of resources (adult and youth radio training, portable recording and broadcast gear, new music, etc) and to assist productive communications and partnerships between all interest groups of the station.
The depth of our syndicated news programs are far superior to what we could afford without the CSG. Pacifica programming, and a wide variety of other programming sources would not be available to our listeners without our grant. About one third of our broadcast week is devoted to airing syndicated programs, and that number would drop drastically without the CSG.
Our broadcast and webcast royalty licenses and fees are paid in part with our CSG grant. Otherwise, that money would instead come from operating budget lines, therefore reducing our overall ability to pay for overhead, payroll, development, etc.
We are able to purchase critical studio and production equipment we would not otherwise be able to upgrade or afford at all (eg, portable audio recorders, remote broadcast gear, as well as repairs and upgrades to existing equipment).
The CSG grant makes it possible for WGDR to remain a viable, reliable and important community service.
Executive Staff: Kris Gruen, WGDR Director and David Ferland, WGDR Operations Manager