NEH grant to Nevada Public Radio will support technical upgrades

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Nevada Public Radio has received a $500,000 matching grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to upgrade the station’s technical infrastructure.

The station is the first public broadcaster to receive an NEH Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge Grant to help with broadcast infrastructure upgrades. The program started last year with WGBH receiving a grant to develop a digital asset management system.

Nevada Public Radio’s grant will go towards Give Voice, a $6 million major-gift campaign to upgrade the station’s broadcast infrastructure, start a $1 million infrastructure endowment and fund its journalism. Technical upgrades planned at the station include studio renovations and replacing equipment purchased as part of a 2003 service expansion.

“Nevada Public Radio is not unlike many public radio and television stations where that amount of investment that needs to take place all at once is simply out of reach without a sustained effort in a capital campaign and the lead gifts that we’ve been grateful to receive … so I think it’s wonderful that NEH makes a provision for that,” said CEO Florence Rogers.

The grant “takes us well past the halfway mark in the whole campaign, and it will allow us to start this technical upgrade with confidence that we can sail through and get it all done,” Rogers said.

The station will need to raise an additional $1.5 million to receive the $500,000 grant, according to Rogers. It has raised more than $3.3 million, including $1 million gifts from the Engelstad Foundation and a local philanthropist..

Before beginning the campaign, Nevada Public Radio completed a feasibility study to find out what community members might be interested in funding.

“They had an appetite to fund more journalism, more cultural content, and [to] support Nevada Public Radio for all the ways that we serve the community,” Rogers said. “And they also understood the need for a technical upgrade.”

Nevada Public Radio plans to increase journalism capacity by adding journalists, Rogers said, including reporters with skills in data journalism and making FOIA requests. It also aims to allocate more money for travel, training, internships and a legal defense budget.

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