Inspired by PBS’s airing of the Dr. Henry Louis Gates documentary The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song, in February 2021, Public Broadcasting Atlanta, home of WABE 90.1 and ATL-PBA, launched Tell Me the Story, a multi-platform campaign localizing the documentary’s focus on the history and culture of the Black church.
Our goal was to connect a broad swath of Atlantans to the story of the American black church and its influence on the country’s cultural and civic progress. To that end, ATL-PBA and WABE jointly produced content and experiences that localized the documentary’s themes: the roots of the Black Church, its ties to arts and culture, and its links to social justice. We accomplished that by incorporating the filmmakers and local voices into our outreach in support of the premiere of The Black Church and conducting our own research and reporting on the significant influence, Atlanta’s black churches have had not only in our city but on America as a whole.
Our campaign included a virtual Community Conversation with the documentary’s director/producer, Shayla Harris, moderated by WABE Closer Look host Rose Scott and a dedicated microsite featuring not only ATL-PBA’s original four-part, mini-documentary series exploring the history and impact of the Black Church in Atlanta but also community-generated content highlighting Atlanta’s unique Black church culture. In addition, we supported the campaign with on-air radio and television promotion; digital promotion, including social media, e-mail campaign, and web ads; and exclusive experiences for our top-level donors.
The Tell Me the Story microsite served as our hub. There, the community continues to be able to view our four-part Tell Me the Story docu-series, produced in-house by PBA staff, and view and submit #AtlantaSundaysBest photos past and present. More than 2,600 people RSVP’d to tune into our first-look screening of The Black Church hosted by Rose Scott, which included clips from the documentary and a post-screening Q&A with the film’s director, Shayla Harris. Our audience rated the conversation highly in our post-event survey.
Leading up to the signature event, WABE ran interviews/segments on the campaign, including The Black Church director/producer Shayla on WABE’s arts/culture program, City Lights; ATL-PBA’s Tell Me the Story producers on WABE’s Morning Edition; and Dr. Robert Franklin, Professor at Emory University and Rev. Kim Jackson, on WABE’s public affairs progr