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WEKU, the public radio service of Eastern Kentucky University, is among seven public media stations in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia that will share a $445,000 grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) to establish an Ohio River regional journalism collaboration.

Officials say the Ohio River Network will produce hard-hitting, high-quality multimedia journalism that examines the region’s economy, energy, environment, agriculture, infrastructure, and health. The CPB grant will support the hiring of a total of eight journalists at the seven partner media outlets for two years, with station support continuing in outlying years.

“CPB is pleased to support this historic collaboration among public media stations in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia,” said Bruce Theriault, CPB senior vice president, journalism and radio. “By working together, these stations can ensure that important stories from this underreported area are told locally, regionally, and nationally. The sum is indeed greater than the parts.”

Louisville Public Media will lead the news operation and house the project’s managing editor and data journalist. Partner radio and television stations are WEKU in Richmond and Lexington, Kentucky (radio); WKU in Bowling Green, Kentucky (radio and TV); WMMT/Appalshop in Whitesburg, Kentucky (radio and multimedia); WKMS in Murray, Kentucky (radio); West Virginia Public Broadcasting (radio and TV); and WOUB in Athens, Ohio (radio and TV).

“I am convinced that collaborations such as this are the future of journalism,” said Donovan Reynolds, president and general manager, Louisville Public Media. “Working together, we can produce and sustain the quality journalism that is required to identify the serious issues we have in common and the opportunities to build a better future for everyone in our region.”

WEKU Station Manager Roger Duvall said the collaboration “will, in effect, allow us to very quickly expand our newsroom from two full-time dedicated journalists to 10. The Richmond-Lexington reporter at WEKU will concentrate on developing thoughtful, substantial and original reporting. WEKU’s newsroom will also benefit by gaining access to a dedicated and highly qualified editor and data journalist whose services will be shared among the partner stations."

The group will produce journalism for partner stations and collaborate with national programs, including PBS NewsHour, Frontline, Marketplace, Morning Edition, and All Things Considered, and other public media outlets such as WFPL’s Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.  The collaboration will produce daily reporting, investigations, long-form narrative pieces, and documentaries.

About WEKU

WEKU reaches most of central and southeastern Kentucky through WEKU (88.9 FM in Richmond-Lexington), WEKH (90.9 FM in Hazard), WEKF (88.5 FM in Corbin) and WEKP (90.1 FM in Pineville) along with 106.7 in  Frankfort, 96.9 in Barbourville, 96.3 in Harlan, 102.5 in Middlesboro and 95.1 in Pikeville. WEKU also operates a Classic 102.1 – a classical music and classic jazz station in Lawrenceburg serving greater Lexington and Frankfort. Financial support for WEKU programming comes from listeners, businesses and organizations in its coverage area; from Eastern Kentucky University; and from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

About the Corporation for Public Broadcasting

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government's investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,400 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services.

About Louisville Public Media

Louisville Public Media (LPM) is a not-for-profit, member-supported corporation serving its area with three distinct public radio stations and an investigative unit: WFPL 89.3 FM provides local, national and international news, public affairs and cultural programming; Classical 90.5 WUOL is the city’s only classical music and fine arts radio station; 91.9 WFPK showcases independent, alternative music and an array of musical genres; and WFPL’s Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting (KyCIR) shines the light of accountability on the people and institutions in power.