Community Counts Initiative

An Introduction

“Not everything that counts can be counted,
and not everything that can be counted counts.”
Albert Einstein

In 2014, when I took the helm of the good ship NFCB, I set to work immediately to deepen my understanding of the state of community media in general and our member stations in particular. I coined this knowledge seeking endeavor “Community Counts” with the idea that local media matters to the public media system as a whole and it matters a great deal to the communities it serves. I also wanted to imply that measurement is important and quantifying the value of our service is essential. 

Having spent 12 years managing a station in my hometown, I knew that a community station is a complicated organization to run. My parents had helped found the station when I was a teenager, so I also knew how deeply rewarding and impactful a station could be in an individual’s life and in the life of a community. My experience over decades now has grounded me in the belief that local media strengthens the fabric of civic life in this country. That belief keeps me going.

Fast forward to 2020 and the Community Counts initiative (CCI) is alive and well at NFCB. We have moved through redesign of our entire organization, visiting stations, holding regional summits, developing new services, new focus, new infrastructure support, new partnerships, and regenerating our signature national conferences and valued alliances. Wyncote Foundation provided essential support for this work and helped us keep the flame burning. With the generous support of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, we launched a cohort-based pilot program in 2018 with 20 people from 10 NFCB member stations.

This landing page heralds the beginning of another round of the CCI cohort program. We’re grateful to CPB for their continued interest and support. If there is more information you would like or questions and comments you would like to offer, I welcome the opportunity to engage with you.


Sally Kane, CEO
National Federation of Community Broadcasters

About the Community Counts Initiative

The Community Counts Initiative (CCI) is an intensive program offering tools to strengthen service sustainability for community-based radio stations serving rural and under-represented communities. This cohort-based initiative brings together 10 stations for a combination of in-depth training by community media experts and peer-based learning. The program is open to stations who are members of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters that meet CCI eligibility criteria and successfully compete in the 2020 application process.

CCI is predicated on NFCB’s deeply held convictions that, as a nation, we need resilient local communities—healthy, socially connected, and equitable—that have the ability to address and manage a range of situations and opportunities. Small-market public media is a critical resource for preserving, uplifting, and enhancing the well being of local communities. At the same time, community radio is impacted by shrinking resources, evolving technology and changing listening trends. Broadband technology, media consolidation, and the disruption of local journalism have all challenged community stations. Using the Circle of Engagement model, CCI focuses on exploring sustainable paths with an eye towards sharing case studies with other NFCB stations and the larger public media system.

The initial CCI pilot provided training, mentorship and technical assistance for 10 stations over an 18-month span between 2018 and 2019. Our report relates findings from this endeavor, and shares dynamic case studies with stations.

Funding for CCI is provided by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) whose mission is to ensure access to non-commercial, high-quality and educational public media service to all Americans.

CCI Requirements

Community Counts is an initiative of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters aimed at sparking innovation at community radio stations. We’re looking for a cohort of 10 community radio stations who have EXISTING capacity and are ready to optimize it by designing, implementing and evaluating an initiative. We will help you throughout  the process.  

This CCI cohort will be convened during an unprecedented time given the global pandemic, the race relations/equity crisis, and increasing instability of the climate. We believe that there is intersectionality in these three arenas. Rather than leave the type of initiative you want to implement wide open, we will be asking participating stations to weave these larger events into an action plan that includes them in some way. 

NFCB will choose applicants to reflect demographics of our members who are CSG recipients . Of the ten stations to be selected, likely six will be of the rural classification, two will be minority stations and two will be of the urban classification (as designated by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting).

  • Applying stations must be CSG grantees in good standing
  • Applicants must include the general manager and a staff member of their choice
  • One of the station’s two participants must be a station leader who has been in a management position at the station for at least two years
  • Applicants should have existing capacity that they can leverage to create an initiative that somehow addresses the intersectionality of the global pandemic, race relations/equity crisis, and increasing instability of the climate.
  • Once selected you must sign a Participant Agreement, confirming the support of your Board of Directors to participate fully in CCI, and pay a $1,000 fee*

Our team at NFCB is 100% invested in your success. We have confidence in our curriculum and the strategic framework we have painstakingly developed over the last 5 years. Let us help you  take your station’s service to the next level so that you can shine brightly for your community…it’s that simple.

*Note, a $6,000 stipend will be paid to each participating station to defray the direct cost of implementing a CCI project and ensure that your participation is a net positive for your station budget.