Indiana public broadcast stations adding staff, expanding news programming

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WFYI Public Media and the eight other Indiana Public Broadcasting stations that make up IPB News will soon be hiring more staff and expanding their statewide TV and radio news coverage thanks to $1.7 million in new grants, WFYI announced Tuesday.

Seven full-time news employees will be hired as part of the expansion and will work at WFYI headquarters in Indianapolis: a managing editor, community engagement coordinator, video producer/reporter, workforce development reporter and three radio show producers—one of whom will double as an on-air host.

The expansion also will include the launch of a daily radio talk show covering the day’s news that will be broadcast on the state’s nine public radio stations.

The expansion is being funded through recently awarded grants of $1.4 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. and $364,304 from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The IPB News system, which is made up of six radio stations and three dual radio/TV licensees, is expected to expand coverage in a variety of areas, including workforce development and immigration, officials said.

News gathering and reporting will ramp up over the next several months, IPB officials said, and the launch of the new talk show is targeted for the end of the summer. In the meantime, IPB News will continue to deliver spot- and feature-length content targeted at statewide audiences.

“This is a tremendous endorsement of the power of public media,” WFYI President and CEO Lloyd Wright said in a written statement. “We’ve come a long way since hiring our first joint Statehouse reporter more than a dozen years ago. Lilly Endowment and the CPB recognize the impact our coverage has on communities all over Indiana, and we’re grateful for their support to take it to the next level.”

WFYI over the past three years has focused on expanding its news content. 

In 2017, WFYI-FM 90.1 grew its news department from 11 to 15—thanks to grants that ran through 2018—at a time when many commercial print and broadcast news departments have been downsizing.

WFYI in 2017 used a $600,000 grant from the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation to hire four news employees, launch a health news bureau and expand the reach of its Side Effects health-related programming.

In December, the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation agreed to extend the grant by another $600,000 over two years.

Dual TV and radio members in the IPB network are WFYI in Indianapolis, WFIU/WTIU in Bloomington, and WVUT/WVUB in Vincennes. Radio members  are WBAA in West Lafayette, WBOI in Fort Wayne, WVPE in South Bend, WBST in Muncie, WNIN in Evansville and WLPR in Merrillville.

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