CPB Transparency Report | Nashville Public Radio

CPB Transparency Report

As a public media entity, Nashville Public Radio makes every effort to be as transparent as possible in order to comply with The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). Below you will find documents and information related to Nashville Public Radio's contact, governance, management, finances, meetings and diversity initiatives.


Nashville Public Radio’s representative to provide assistance for persons with disabilities can be contacted at (615) 760-2903.   Nashville Public Radio’s address is:  630 Mainstream Dr., Nashville, TN 37228. The telephone number is (615) 760-2903 and email address is  carl@wpln.org.


Contact information for Nashville Public Radio
Nashville Public Radio
630 Mainstream Dr
Nashville, TN 37228
(615) 760-2003. 
Send a message to Nashville Public Radio

Nashville Public Radio's Board of Directors, Community Advisory Group, and Management Team are listed below, including the meeting schedules and locations.

Nashville Public Radio's Board of Directors

Katy Varney (Chair)
William F. Carpenter, III (Vice Chair)
Claire Gulmi (Finance Committee Chair)
Beth Seigenthaler Courtney (Governance Chair)


Richard Abramson
Samar Ali
Lauren Brisky

Martin S. Brown, Jr.
Barbara Chazen
Donna Eskind
Rob Gordon
Lucy Haynes
Angela Humphreys
Elissa Kim
Andrew Kintz
Carol Kirshner
Paula Lovell
Jeff McGruder
Patricia C. Meadows
Alice Rolli
Curt Thorne
Don Williamson
Betsy Wills

Board Intern:
Kirk Graves


Send a message to our board of directors
The Board of Directors meet at 8:30 am on the following dates. The meeting location is at Nashville Public Radio, 630 Mainstream Dr., Nashville, TN 37228
February 17, 2015
April 28, 2015
June 16, 2015
August 18, 2015
October 20, 2015
December 15, 2015 
February 16, 2016
April 19, 2016
June 21, 2016
August 16, 2016
October 18, 2016
December 21, 2016
February 21, 2017
April 18, 2017
June 20, 2017
August 15, 2017
October 17, 2017
December 19,2017

Community Advisory Group

Rodney Diggs
Taylor Berry
Austin Fabel
Komail Khalili
Heather Stewart
Peter Kadesky
Drew Dunlop
John Triggs


Todd Freyling, Chair

The Community Advisors meet at 11:30 am on the following dates. The meeting location is at Nashville Public Radio, 630 Mainstream Dr., Nashville, TN 37228.

February 11, 2015
August 12, 2015
November 11, 2015
February 10, 2016
May 11, 2016
August 17, 2016
November 9, 2017
March 1, 2017

The Finance Committee meet at 8:00 am on the following dates.  The meeting location is Amsurg 1 Burton Hills Blvd, Nashville, TN 37215.
June 5, 2015
July 22, 2015
October 19, 2015
January 19, 2016
June 14, 2016
January 18, 2017
June 16, 2017
July 20, 2017
October 17, 2017
January 18, 2018

The Capital Campaign Committee meet at 11:30 am on the following dates. The meeting location is at Nashville Public Radio, 630 Mainstream Dr., Nashville, TN 37228.
January 21, 2015
March 25, 2015
May 13, 2015

The Governance Committee meet at 8:00 am on the following dates.  The meeting location is at Bass, Berry, and Sims 150 3rd Ave S #2800, Nashville, TN 37201.
June 9 , 2015
May 19, 2015

The Executive Committee meet at 10:00 am on the following dates. The meeting location is at Nashville Public Radio, 630 Mainstream Dr., Nashville, TN 37228.
July 27, 2015
February 22, 2016
June 21, 2016

October 17, 2017


Rob Gordon, President and CEO - rgordon@wpln.org - (615) 760-2002
Carl Pedersen, VP of Finance and Technology - carl@wpln.org - (615) 760-2003

Donna Robertson, VP of Development - donna@wpln.org - (615) 760-2021
Anita Bugg, VP of Content - anita@wpln.org - (615) 760-2031





CPB Question 1 - Describe your overall goals and approach to address identified community issues, needs, and interests through your station's vital local services, such as multiplatform long and short-form content, digital and in-person engagement, education services, community information, partnership support, and other activities, and audiences you reached or new audiences you engaged.

Answer Question 1 - This question gets at the heart of our vision, our mission and our key strategic priorities. We must know and understanding the community issues, needs and interests to achieve our vision, to cultivate an informed and enriched society and our mission, to create and deliver content essential to understanding our world and experiencing its art and culture.

Three strategic priorities guide our planning and investments. They are: 1. Deliver excellent content to audiences wherever they are; 2. Understand and engage our community and 3. Grow net revenue. Priorities #1 and #2 speak to the specifics of this question: how do we address community issues, needs and interests? As follows.

Our 5-year strategic plan calls for us to broaden and strengthen news content by adding a full-time health reporter, working with a local writer’s collaborative and finding partners with whom we can develop new, innovative programming., continue the evolution of Classical 91.1 into a destination for listeners and musicians to discover new music, create frame works for working with independent producers and increase the diversity of our staff, board and content.

We have adopted action steps in each area to track our progress. We believe it is not enough to prioritize reaching new audiences or strengthening our engagement the community, success comes from developing and executing a rigorous plan around specific goals.

CPB Question 2 - Describe key initiatives and the variety of partners with whom you collaborated, including other public media outlets, community nonprofits, government agencies, educational institutions, the business community, teachers and parents, etc. This will illustrate the many ways you're connected across the community and engaged with other important organizations in the area.

Answer Question 2 - We have begun a formal collaboration with “The Porch,” a local writer’s collective. It began modestly, but has since gained traction when we were chosen to participate in PRX’s Podcast Garage project.

The mission of The Porch is to take poetry to the community. Their writers attend community events, fairs and set up a “poetry booth,” inviting people to tell stories which are turned into poems on the spot by The Porch staff.  We realized that these encounters make great audio as they have a “StoryCorps” feeling, with the poem as a neat twist coming at the end of the piece.

Thanks to the PRX Podcast Boot Camp project (which is funded by CPB), we’ve raised our expectations for what this project can accomplish. We intend to apply the lessons and techniques from the Boot Camp to developing this project, which we are calling “Versify.”

First, it is a terrific community engagement live event. Second, we’ll get marvelous sound rich short features for our air and, third, we’ll turn the audio into compelling destination listening as longer form podcasts.

Other initiatives address specific areas of concern to our community. Located in the state capital, we invest in statehouse reporting with a full-time statehouse/political reporter, Chas Sisk. Chas participates in a partnership among NPR stations located in state capitals. The reporters have regular conference calls coordinated by NPR to explore story ideas, identify trends and generally trade intelligence. We often learn that other markets are experiencing say, efforts to pass specific pieces of legislation, and these insights can lead to important stories.

Our News Director, Blake Farmer, participates in two collaborations. One is the “Back to Base” initiative exploring the issues military personnel face as they leave the service. Blake has developed close relationships with Fort Campbell, which is nearby and home to the 101st Airborne Division – these connections are invaluable as he pursues stories for our air and NPR’s.

We have recently joined the Kaiser Health News Network. Given the fact that 15% of the nation’s health care industry is based in and around Nashville (we’re the home of for-profit hospital chain HCA, for example) this initiative is long overdue. We are partnering with the Nashville Health Care Council to secure the funding needed to put a full-time health care reporter in place for a minimum of five years.

Nashville’s nickname is “Music City,” and we take believe our mission, while perhaps not to broadcast country music, includes reflecting the heritage and stories surrounding the music that calls this city home.

This has led us to partnering with the Country Music Hall of Fame, which in addition to being a tourist attraction, maintains a comprehensive archive and popular music research center. We take advantage of these unique resources, including the collection of archival material and the knowledge of the Hall of Fame staff. Our news department is regularly called upon by the networks to produce music stories coming out of Nashville.  

We are currently in conversation with the Hall exploring a larger scale collaboration which may, for example, result in a podcast, along with radio features and live events. 

CPB Question 3 - What impact did your key initiatives and partnerships have in your community? Describe any known measurable impact, such as increased awareness, learning or understanding about particular issues. Describe indicators of success, such as connecting people to needed resources or strengthening conversational ties across diverse neighborhoods. Did a partner see an increase in requests for related resources? Please include direct feedback from a partner(s) or from a person(s) served.

Answer Question 3 - It is always a challenge to measure something so subtle as “increased awareness” or “understanding of issues” on the part of those who listen to a radio station without doing focus group style research.  That said, we receive regular feedback from listeners telling us that our local programming helps listeners understand their community and helps bind people together.

I should note that over the past 2 – 3 years we have augmented our coverage or local issues and hired more journalists. People are clearly hearing and appreciating the difference. Here is a typical comment received during a recent end of the year on-air fund drive.

* I've lived in Nashville just shy of three years. I'm greatly impressed at how quickly Nashville is expanding and pleased to hear WPLN expanding with it. Fantastic coverage to please both local national and global interests.

CPB Question 4 - Please describe any efforts (e.g. programming, production, engagement activities) you have made to investigate and/or meet the needs of minority and other diverse audiences (including, but not limited to, new immigrants, people for whom English is a second language and illiterate adults) , and any plans you have made to meet the needs of these audiences. If you regularly broadcast in a language other than English, please note the language broadcast.

Answer Question 4 -We regularly produce stories about Nashville vibrant refugee and minority communities. For example, Nashville is the home of the largest Kurdish community outside of the Middle East. Examples include:

1.       A recent story of ours highlighted the effect of the recent administration ban and how it will affect the Kurds who live here.

2.       Our Statehouse reporter has covered the political dimension to the administrations’ recent immigration ban.

3.       Efforts to help Japanese expats adapt to life in the United States 

However, this is an area where we need to see improvement in all areas, our content, staffing and board composition. We have taken the step of inviting NPR’s Diversity experts, Luis Clemens and Keith Woods to come to Nashville and conduct two days of Diversity training. This training is scheduled for mid-February, 2017.

CPB Question 5 - Please assess the impact that your CPB funding had on your ability to serve your community. What were you able to do with your grant that you wouldn't be able to do if you didn't receive it?

Answer Question 5 - CPB funding accounts for just under 7% of Nashville Public Radio's operating budget but this money is critical, as it helps the station be more than just an NPR outlet by supporting the production of local programming that reflects the uniqueness of Nashville.

In short, CPB funding allows us to be a distinctively local, Nashville service. This is important, given that more and more information and entertainment choices available to our listeners do not originate from or reflect the community our listeners call their home.


Nashville Public Radio strives to ascertain that its staff, board of directors and community advisory board are reflective of the diverse population it serves. Additionally, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's (CPB) Diversity Eligibility Criteria require public media organizations to adopt formal goals for diversity and to report annually on steps taken to work toward those goals. These actions are required for all stations receiving Community Service Grant funds (CSG).

To that end, Nashville Public Radio has set the following diversity goals:

  • To recruit and retain a diverse workforce that is representative of our service area. • To provide equal opportunity in employment.
  • To educate our management and staff annually in best practices for maintaining an inclusive and diverse environment for all persons.
  • To seek candidates for Nashville Public Radio's Community Advisory Board that represent the geographically and demographically diverse composition of the many communities we serve.
  • Seek diverse candidates for our Board of Directors through the Nominating Committee process.
  • To assist in developing a more diverse future workforce with professional skills in the broadcasting/media industry by recruiting diverse candidates for Nashville Public Radio internship opportunities and/or by participating in minority or other diversity job fairs.
  • Review with the station's governing board those practices that are designed to fulfill Nashville Public Radio's commitment to diversity and to meet the applicable FCC guidelines

In addition, Nashville Public Radio shall undertake one of the following initiatives on an annual basis:

  • Include individuals representing diverse groups in internships or work-study programs designed to provide meaningful professional level experience in order to reflect the diversity of the communities they serve and further public broadcasting's commitment to education;
  • Include qualified diverse candidates in any slate of candidates for elected governing boards that the Nashville Public Radio controls;
  • Implement a diversity training program for members of the organization's governing board of directors on an annual basis;
  • Participate in minority or other diversity job fairs; or
  • Implement formal diversity training programs for management and appropriate staff.

In addition to these goals Nashville Public Radio will interview at least one qualified diversity candidate for each senior leadership position hired. The term senior leadership position includes: CEO, COO, CFO, Chief Content Officer, General Manager, and other equivalent positions.

Diversity Results 2016

Supplemental outreach initiatives during this period were as follows:

Establishment of Internship Program:
Four student interns worked in the News department during the summer.  One student from the University High School in Nashville, one Student from Boston College, one student from Vanderbilt University and one student from Lipscomb University. 

Training Programs for Station Personnel:
Marketing and development training for the general manager and development director at the PRDMC conference.  Membership training for newly hired membership manager.  Controller attended PMBA conference in Washington DC which included training related to HR and business and accounting job specific related seminars.

Station management training and review of EEO:
On March 9, 2016 a review of EEO standards and practices was conducted with station senior management.

Events or Programs with Educational Institutions relating to Broadcast Careers:
4/13/15 -  Emily Siner speaks to Broadcast Journalism class at Travecca Nazarene University
8/14/15  - Blake & Anita give a station tour and speak to a group from Vanderbilt Student Communications about radio journalism
9/17/15- Emily Siner spoke to the freshman photojournalism class at the University of Illinois and spoke to a newsroom leadership class for student editors and Illini media at the University of Illinois
9/18/15– Emily Siner makes presentation on podcasting at the Illinois Journalism Educator Association Conference – approximately 100 high school students in attendance
10/13/15 – Emily Siner discusses podcasting with students at Hume-Fogg High School
10/15/15 -  Tony Gonzales & Emily Siner present at the Tennessee High School Press Association
10/16/15 – Blake Farmer participated in a panel discussion for students at Abilene Christian University about “finding your first job.”|
11/10/15 -  Blake Farmer spoke to the MediaMasters class at Lipscomb University
12/30/15 – Blake Farmer provides job shadowing experience for high school student Sydney Glisson
1/11-28/16 – WPLN newsroom participates in Winterim  for Harpeth Hall junior Emily
2/16/16 -  Via skype, Emily Siner lectures about podcasts and journalism to students at the Campus Middle School For Girls in Urbana, Ill.
2/26/16 -  Tony Gonzalez lead training team at workshop for the Online News Association
2/27/16 – Tony Gonzalez teachers a journalism class for the Nashville writing collected, The Porch

Event participation involving Community Leaders where WPLN staff presents Public Radio’s mission and the organization’s work:
4/22/15 – Blake Farmer moderates a Mayoral Candidates Land & Water Forum organized by various Middle Tennessee environmental groups
6/17/15 – Nina Cardona participates in a panel discussion for Metro Arts Commission October event
6/22/15 – Blake Farmer moderates a panel on Nashville architecture at the Parthenon.
6/25/15 – Chas Sisk speaks to the McMinnville Rotary Club
8/7/15 -  Blake Farmer speaks to the League of Women Voters about results of August 6th Metro Elections
8/20/15 -  Blake Farmer moderates a run-off candidate forum for At-large Metro Council, organized by the Belmont-Hillsboro Neighbors, Inc.
9/10/15– Anita speaks to non-profit leaders at the Center for Non-profit Management about how to work with the media
9/26/15 – Tony Gonzalez served as a judge for the Neighborhood Resource Center’s 3rd Annual Neighborhood Celebration
9/29/15 – Blake Farmer discusses possible changes to Tennessee’s Open Records law on WTVF’s Morningline
11/5/15 – Tony Gonzalez participated in panel discussion for Leadership Nashville about new ways of story telling
11/5/15 -  Anita Bugg and Mack Linebaugh talk about today’s changing media landscape to a group called Life Long Learners at The Temple
1/15/16 – Chas Sisk appears on Inside Politics on WTVF-TV
3/2/16 – Emily Siner & Chas Sisk talk about news coverage with staff and attorneys at Bass, Berry and Sims law firm

Diversity Results 2015

Establishment of Internship Program:

Three student interns worked in the News department during the summer.  One student from Coffee County Tennessee high school,   one Indiana University, and one from Rollins College.

Training Programs for Station Personnel:
Marketing and development training for the general manager and development director at the PRDMC conference.  Membership training for newly hired membership manager. 

Station management training and review of EEO:
On January 7, 2015 a review of EEO standards and practices with department heads

Events or Programs with Educational Institutions relating to Broadcast Careers:
The Audio Production Class from Trevecca University toured the Nashville Public Radio studios on September 19, 2014 and participated in a presentation and question and answer session with the organizations technical manager, production manager and news director.The Vanderbilt University Media Immersion Program University toured the Nashville Public Radio studios on August 18, 2014 and participated in a presentation and question and answer session with the organizations technical manager and news director.


Diversity Results 2014

Establishment of Internship Program:

Three student interns worked in the News department during the summer.  Two were from the Vanderbilt Student Media Intern program, and one from the University of the South

Student Mentoring and Job Shadowing
A student from Harpeth Hall spent “Winterim”, three 40-hour weeks, January 6 to 24,  in the Nashville Public Radio Newsroom researching, interviewing, writing, and producing stories.  Three students from the University School job shadowed in the  Newsroom on February 28nd.   .

Training Programs for Station Personnel:
Marketing and development training for the general manager and development director at the PRDMC conference.  Membership training for newly hired membership manager. 

Station management training on EEO:
On March 28, a review of EEO standards and practices with department heads

Events or Programs with Educational Institutions relating to Broadcast Careers:
The News Director guest lectured to journalism students at Tennessee State University on November 26th  One February the News Director conducted an advanced workshop for radio news students at Tennessee State University

Events with Community Organization regarding Broadcast Careers:
Program director was a panelist at the Tennessee State University music on radio workshop on February 27, 2014.

Notices were broadcast on both WPLN-FM and WPLN-AM on the following dates unless otherwise noted.
Dec 18, 19, 20, 2015
Feb 26, 27, 28, 2016
Mar 4,5,6, 2016
June 24,25,26, 2016
July 1,2,3, 2016
July 22,23,24 2016 WPLN-AM
July 1,2,3,29,30,31 2016  WPLN-FM
Nov 25,26,27 2016 WPLN-AM
Dec 2,3,4, 2016 WPLN-FM
Jan 20,21,22 2017 WPLN-AM
March 3,4,5, 2017 WPLN-FM
April 21,22,23, 2017 WPLN-AM
June 2,3,4, 2017 WPLN-FM
July 21,22,23, 2017 WPLN-AM
July 28,29,30, 2017 WPLN-FM