The University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s public radio station, KUAR, held a panel during the College of Social Science and Communication’s Research and Creative Works Showcase to discuss the stations operations and newest developments.
The speakers at the panel were Karen Tricot Steward, the content development director at KUAR, Sarah Whites-Koditschek, a reporter for Arkansas Public Media, Jacob Kauffman, a reporter and anchor at KUAR, and J. Bradley Minnick, an associate professor with UA Little Rock’s English department who hosts a show on KUAR.
Steward, who moderated the panel, talked about some of the developments and partnerships that KUAR has made recently, throughout the hour-long discussion.
“One of the biggest developments that we’ve had at KUAR public radio is we’ve received a large grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to start a brand-new initiative called Arkansas Public Media, and so, we are able to hire more reporters. This has been a state-wide initiative. It’s not just in Little Rock, it’s also in Jonesboro and Fayetteville,” she said.
Arkansas Public Media is a Regional Journalism Collaboration started by Whites-Koditschek and the late, Ben Fry, former general manager for KUAR. The two applied for the grant from the CPB in 2015.
The collaborators for Arkansas Public Media are KUAR, KUAF, the University of Arkansas’ radio station, KASU, Arkansas State University’s radio station, and KTXK. The organization also partners with AETN, El Latino and the Anderson Institute for Race and Ethnicity.
Whites-Koditschek said that Arkansas Public Media covers stories regarding education, healthcare, and justice, playing their coverage on Marvell-Elaine Elementary School’s problem with absent students as an example.
A video of Jacob Kauffman, who could not attend the panel, gave insight into how KUAR operates and what types of news stories are covered at the station. The video served as a transition into Stewards discussion on the partnerships KUAR has made with UA Little Rock.
“One of the many things I like about my job is that we have volunteer program producers who are very passionate and come to us with ideas and really want to carry those out,” she said.
The station has partnered with students in the School of Mass Communication for one minute spots on various topics, and several professors in the university for spots like Aging in Arkansas, Facts about Fiction, and Picture This.
Bradley Minnick, the final speaker, is a professor who has partnered with KUAR for more than one program. Minnick hosts Facts about Fiction and Arts & Letters. His discussion focused on Arts & Letters, which is a 29 to 52-minute long program that airs every third Friday. It includes interviews and dramatizations and “celebrates the intellectual and cultural work of Arkansas.”
The biggest takeaway from the panel, Steward said, is that there is a radio station on campus and students at UA Little Rock can get involved.
“One thing we would really like to convey is that we’re trying to get more young and diverse voices on the air. We do this in interviewing students for news stories but we were also wanting to do round table discussions,” Steward said.
Students willing to volunteer at KUAR should contact Karen Tricot Steward.