Help Keep The 'Public' In 'Public Radio

Feb 25, 2016

VPR is seeking applications from listeners who would like to join VPR’s Community Forum.

The Community Forum is a volunteer group that provides community input to VPR about its programming and public service somewhat similar to a focus group.

During the two-year term, you will hear how VPR works behind the scenes, meet VPR staff, and provide feedback about VPR programs. You will have an opportunity to discuss the goals of public radio with other members of the Forum. The group meets twice a year for half-day workshops, and meetings are held at various locations around the state.

Members of the Forum provide an important link to the community for VPR and also serve as ambassadors in the community.  And VPR seeks to reflect as broadly as possible the demographic, geographic, cultural, economic and social diversity of the listeners and communities served by VPR.

You can find the application form here or call 1-800-639-2192. The deadline is March 28, and the first meeting of the Forum will be held this spring. 

Community Forum FAQ

 

What is the Community Forum?


The VPR Community Forum is a volunteer group that provides community input to VPR about programming and public service. The 20-40 members of the Community Forum represent different professions, geographic regions, and individual needs and interests of the listeners and the communities VPR serves.

The VPR Community Forum is an advisory body, which is not involved in VPR's daily management or operations. Meeting biannually in half-day sessions, the Community Forum members learn about public radio, meet VPR staff members, and have regular communication with the station about programs and public service. Members also serve as ambassadors to their communities.

The Community Forum is governed by a steering committee, responsible for basic organizational matters. The steering committee comprises two members of VPR's Board of Directors, two members of VPR's previous Community Forum and VPR's Chief Content Officer.

How much influence does the Community Forum actually have?


As an advisory body, the Community Forum has a profound impact on our programming and public service. Members regularly take part in focus groups that help shape our programming, as well as being a part of our strategic planning process that helps steer the future of VPR. Feedback from the Community Forum regularly makes its way into programming changes and additions to our services.

How can the Community Forum have any influence on VPR with just two meetings a year?

Our Community Forum members meet in person twice a year for intense, half-day workshops. As a volunteer group with members from all over the region, those biannual workshops are a big commitment, especially when you include travel and time away from work or home, and we are grateful for their dedication to VPR.

While only meeting in person twice a year, members of the Community Forum are active year-round. In addition to meetings, members receive regular updates about VPR, as well as surveys and requests for feedback.

 

Why do you make people apply to be a part of the Community Forum?

We typically get a large volume of applicants wishing to be a part of the Community Forum, but its charter allows only 20-40 members per term. We use an application process to help ensure that we get a diverse group of people - a balance of people from diverse locations, ages, races, occupations, and program interests, so we can best reflect the community we serve. The application process aims to add a spectrum of experience and opinion.

Are Community Forum meetings open to the public?

 

Yes! Community Forum meetings are open to the public and we would welcome your attendance. Once dates are set, they'll be available on the Community Forum page.

 

What other criteria does VPR use to make programming decisions?

 

As a statewide public radio network, it’s a challenge to provide the right programming lineup for every listener - impossible, in fact. However in addition to the insight we receive from the Community Forum, we are constantly monitoring our program schedules to make sure we are serving our community in the best possible way. We adjust the programming schedule only after careful analysis and consideration.

VPR makes program decisions based on a number of factors, the first of which is providing the best public service. Programs also need to fit our strategic plan and budget, and we take market factors, audience research, and listener feedback into consideration. We also keep an eye on what our public radio colleagues around the country are doing, and what is working for them.

We are constantly soliciting and considering listener input - through the Community Forum, during membership drives, and on a daily basis through our website, email, phone, Facebook, Twitter, and the VPR Blog.

We’re also aware that listener needs and tastes change and evolve over time, and so does our programming environment. We don’t consider programming to be static and we are pleased to hear your thoughts and suggestions!