© 2024 Ideastream Public Media

1375 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44115
(216) 916-6100 | (877) 399-3307

WKSU is a public media service licensed to Kent State University and operated by Ideastream Public Media.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
For Ideastream Public Media logos or media inquiries, please contact Matt Erman at merman@ideastream.org.

ideastream, Cincinnati Public Radio and WOSU Public Media Begin Planning for Statewide News Collaborative


ideastream, Cincinnati Public Radio and WOSU Public Media Begin Planning for Statewide News Collaborative

CLEVELAND, Ohio (October 24, 2019) — Three public media stations in Ohio are starting the planning process to implement a statewide public radio and digital news collaborative in 2020. With support from a $70,000 grant from The George Gund Foundation, ideastream, which serves Northeast Ohio, will lead the statewide news collaborative. Cincinnati Public Radio and WOSU Public Media in Columbus will serve as additional anchor stations. The three anchor stations will lend their expertise to the collaboration to ensure its continuity, stability and sustainability. Combined, the anchor stations have approximately 50 news staffers. Ultimately, the goal is for all of Ohio’s 13 NPR-affiliate stations to be involved, coming together to coordinate editorial resources and an efficient network of local journalists.

As local news organizations across Ohio suffer from layoffs and closures, the statewide news collaborative addresses a significant need. A recent report from Policy Matters Ohio stated, “With more than 100 newspapers shuttered, Ohio has 32% fewer newspapers today than it did in 2004, according to the University of North Carolina School of Media and Journalism. Total circulation in the state fell by 47%, from 5.5 million to 2.9 million. Many newspapers that remain are ghosts of their former selves, struggling to cover local news with reduced staff.”

To assist with the planning process, the stations have hired Edison Research, a national market research firm. Edison Research will collect and provide valuable data about the news consumption habits of Ohioans and consumers’ interest in a regular statewide news service. The stations have also enlisted the services of Judith Smelser, a nationally respected public media innovator. After leading public media newsrooms for over a decade, Smelser launched Smelser Editing & Consulting in 2013, providing a variety of high-quality services to news organizations around the country. Through her consulting work, Smelser has helped establish Indiana's Regional Journalism Collaborative and was involved with the Texas Station Collaborative, which recently became the first NPR Journalism Hub.

“Ohio is in a great position to launch a public media journalism collaborative. Its stations have a history of working together, both through the Statehouse News Bureau and through informal content sharing among news departments,” said Judith Smelser. “Deeper collaboration is a natural next step, and I'm looking forward to helping station leaders and journalists design the collaborative that works best for them and for their audiences across the state.”

When the collaborative is implemented, it will be Ohio’s only daily statewide radio and digital news service. With Ohio’s public radio stations all working together, the collaborative will allow for enhanced news coverage and widespread community engagement. Its output could include daily newscasts, a radio program, a website and a daily newsletter, made available to all stations.

"There's a sense of urgency to fill some of the gaps in information that have opened up across the state. Many commercial news outlets are shrinking as digital disruptions challenge their revenue models. As public media, we are uniquely poised to continue to deliver balanced, accurate news because our funding comes primarily from individuals,” said Kevin Martin, ideastream president & CEO. He continued, “We are focused on the first steps of creating the collaborative, which is coming together to understand how we can uniquely serve Ohioans.”

"The idea of a statewide collaborative has been percolating for years," according to Richard Eiswerth, general manager of Cincinnati Public Radio. "With the continued downsizing or elimination of local newspapers, we believe public radio can intercede and provide news and information to our communities on a variety of accessible platforms."

"One of the glaring holes in statewide coverage is rural Ohio,” stated WOSU Public Media general manager Tom Rieland. “We believe this initiative will allow for quality reporting about the special challenges faced by many small towns and the people who live there. There are so many important stories that go unreported across Ohio, because journalism has all but disappeared in many small and even mid-sized communities."  

ideastream, Cincinnati Public Radio and WOSU Public Media are working with existing public radio news collaboratives in California and Texas to help inform the upcoming venture in Ohio. In the coming months, ideastream will complete a feasibility study, which includes measuring audience interest to help inform strategic direction. With those building blocks in place, the collaborative will be set to begin in early 2020, ahead of the presidential election.

About ideastream
ideastream serves the people of Northeast Ohio as a trusted and dynamic multimedia source for illuminating the world around us. Publicly supported and locally owned, ideastream is indispensable and highly valued for its unique ability to strengthen our community. ideastream is the consolidation of WVIZ/PBS, with five channels of public television service (WVIZ/PBS-HD, WVIZ/PBS OHIO, WVIZ/PBS WORLD, WVIZ/PBS CREATE and WVIZ/PBS KIDS); 90.3 WCPN, Northeast Ohio’s NPR news and public affairs radio station; WCLV 104.9, Northeast Ohio’s classical music radio station; ideastream Education, with educational resources, services and the award-winning children’s series NewsDepth; and management of The Ohio Channel and the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau on behalf of all Ohio’s public broadcasting stations. For more information about ideastream’s rich legacy of innovation and credible content, visit ideastream.org.

About Cincinnati Public Radio
Cincinnati Public Radio is the trusted, independent source of journalism, music and culture empowering a vibrant, engaged and informed community. With award-winning news from 91.7 WVXU and inspiring classical music from 90.9 WGUC, plus jazz and independent music on its HD2 digital channels, Cincinnati Public Radio serves the Southwest Ohio region. Visit cincinnatipublicradio.org to access all services and learn more.

About WOSU Public Media
The mission of WOSU Public Media is to enrich lives through content and experiences that engage, inform and inspire. An NPR and PBS affiliate, WOSU is a noncommercial multimedia organization serving over two million citizens in Central Ohio through broadcast, digital, programming, events and education experiences. A licensee of The Ohio State University, member-supported WOSU Public Media moves its headquarters and studios to the new 15+HIGH District on campus in 2021. Learn more at wosu.org.



ideastream: Calle Andrus, Communications Specialist
216.916.6434 | calle.andrus@ideastream.org

Cincinnati Public Radio: Kevin Reynolds, Community Relations Manager
513.419.7104 | kreynolds@cinradio.org

WOSU Public Media: Amy Tillinghast, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications
614.688.2166 | amy.tillinghast@wosu.org