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The new year is almost here. With the end of 2019, many of us take stock of the last 12 months. Did we get to the gym enough? Did cleaning go as planned? And did your station do everything it wanted to this year?
There is a good chance your community radio station had a variety of items on your to-do list when 2019 started. And you can’t necessarily be faulted if you did not get to everything. This has been a tumultuous year for community media. From the national Emergency Alert System test to ongoing Net Neutrality battles, the national landscape has been one of policy changes by the Federal Communications Commission, debates over public funding, cutbacks in states like Alaska and more. Still, station priorities need to get done. What should you tackle first? Locally, your stakeholders have ideas. But visionary leaders need to come to the table with strategies to move a station forward as well.

Here are suggestions for your 2020 resolution list:

  1. Build a more diverse organization, from leadership/staffing on down. The 2019 survey of newsrooms are 58 percent male and whites are overrepresented by 24 points, on average, compared to the communities the organizations serve. How does your station measure up? How can 2020 be a better year for diversity, equity and inclusion where you are? The new year could be a chance for a reset on this issue, if you haven’t devoted as much as you could to these subjects.
  2. Try something new with 2020 election coverage. The coming year offers a host of national, state and local elections for your station to dig into. Check out what a Minnesota organization did with calendar invitations as a community engagement tool. Or how about fact-checking via Whatsapp? There are many opportunities for community radio to do affordable, innovative work in 2020. Journalist’s Resource offers more tips to cover local elections.
  3. Launch a station-produced podcast. The bloom has yet to come off the podcasting rose. That is because podcasting continues to see its listenership grow. Stations can still hop on the bandwagon. NFCB is set to release a community radio podcasting guide. In the meantime, check out the series by PRX and Google Podcasts called Podcasting 101. It is a ten-part video series to explain the very basics of podcasting. The videos are translated and subtitled into Spanish, Hindi and more languages.
  4. Evaluate your station’s programming. Community radio stations provide a treasure trove of local programming, but often don’t tend to the needs of DJs once they’re on the air. Program evaluations help your volunteer programmers improve and for the station to assess how it is meeting its mission and serving its audience. Does the idea of evaluating all your programs feel intimidating? Among the 2020 webinars NFCB is offering is one of how to do program evaluations. Programmer evaluation resources are already available in our members-only Solution Center — another good reason to join NFCB or renew your membership today!
  5. Be extra fearless on Instagram. The social media website is the go-to place for younger generations and a new playground for journalism and media groups. How is your community radio station using Instagram these days? It turns out all the focus on the platform is providing many insights and ideas you can borrow. Learn how students are experimenting on IG, using it to tell news stories and connect with others. 

Make sure to check out regularly for case studies of community radio stations doing unique programming, new initiatives and more.