CPB selects NFCB affiliate as its liaison with black pubradio

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CPB is backing the National Federation of Community Broadcasters as its service provider for African American public radio stations. The decision, announced after a meeting of African American station reps at NFCB’s Community Radio Conference last month, adds a third ethnic radio group to NFCB’s roster — African American Public Radio Stations (AAPRS).

This is a new group — not the preexisting, similarly named African American Public Radio Consortium led by Loretta Rucker, which applied unsuccessfully for the grant.

NFCB already provides an organizational umbrella for Native Public Media and Latino Public Radio. “We have experience and a track record of dealing with the diversity of our industry,” said new NFCB President Maxie Jackson, who forged strong relationships with many African American station execs during his previous jobs as a station programmer and consultant.

The federation will hire a project manager and assemble a group of station advisors to help the stations with fundraising, programming, professional development, institutional positioning and community engagement. Development Exchange Inc., the National Center for Media Engagement, public TV’s National Black Programming Consortium, and Public Radio Exchange have signed on as partners with the project, Jackson said.

As the group develops, NFCB will study the feasibility of creating fundraising hubs for African American stations. “The African American stations need to do a much better job in aggregating financial resources,” Jackson said. Groups of up to five stations would improve fundraising results by sharing fundraising staffs, expertise and equipment.

CPB’s one-year grant of $300,000 is renewable, subject to an evaluation of NFCB’s progress in meeting stations’ needs.

Earlier in June, CPB discussed the pending RFP with African American station reps in St. Paul, Minn. “We wanted to hear what people had to say, and the meeting reinforced our selection,” said Bruce Theriault, senior v.p. of radio. “They confirmed the issues, priorities and things they wanted to deal with.”

CPB’s selection of NFCB for the role complicates the future of the African American Public Radio Consortium led by Loretta Rucker. The consortium, which was NPR’s partner in creating a series of talk shows targeting black listeners — Tavis Smiley to News and Notes and Tell Me More, lost Michael Eric Dyson as host of a new talk show after a short run last spring. CPB backed a new Dyson show, now in production at Baltimore’s WEAA, but declined a funding proposal for Upfront with Tony Cox, the consortium’s successor to its broadcast with Dyson. Upfront ceased production in May.

Rucker recently said the consortium would welcome CPB’s assistance to African American stations, no matter who won the grant.