90.5 WUOL Education Outreach (2017 Finalist)

Soltau records students' responses to her music.

Soltau records students' responses to her music. / Tyler Franklin

With an estimated weekly audience of more than 38,000 people, 90.5 WUOL takes its responsibility as a public service seriously. Since the first broadcast on December 20, 1976, 90.5 WUOL Classical Louisville has provided an essential service to the Louisville and Southern Indiana community, primarily through airing classical music on the radio, but equally by serving as a place for learning and education for the community. 

The station established Instrumental Partners, one of the first programs of its kind in the country, that sought donations of used instruments from listeners to place in local schools for students.

Leveraging its audience size and mission, 90.5 WUOL also began Summer Listening, a unique program that encouraged families to listen together, in 2013. In the same way that children are encouraged to read, 90.5 WUOL endeavored to make listening to classical music just as vital. In 2015, Summer Listening evolved from a radio-only broadcast series to include free family events during the month of July. 

In 2015, 90.5 WUOL hired Sara Soltau to manage and grow the aforementioned Instrumental Partners and Summer Listening, and to engage directly with schools, teachers, and students with school visits. In 2016, Sara visited over 2,000 students with her Sharing Music, Sharing Stories program. These visits included JCPS and Southern Indiana Schools, but also included visits to Americana Community Center and Kentucky Refugee Ministries. At each school visit, Sara performed her one-woman show, “Ferdinand the Bull,” and recorded students’ feelings and thoughts about music that were later produced for a series of on-air spots.

Combining its weekly radio audience and community impact through Instrumental Partners, Summer Listening, and school/community outreach, 90.5 WUOL Classical Louisville has worked to make Louisville a better place to live, inspired kids to make music together, and educated through classical music in unique, innovative ways that are accessible to anyone, regardless of who they are or where they live in our city.

Read Current’s story about 90.5 WUOL’s Education Outreach here.