Iowa Public Radio Annual REPORT FY18

IPR's FY2018 was marked by unprecedented engagement in the community, a commitment to broadening our news coverage statewide and more support than ever from our listeners.

Our Mission:

Iowa Public Radio enriches the civic and cultural life in Iowa through high quality news and cultural programming.

IPR in the Community

In FY2018, IPR was in the community, helping Iowans tell their stories, bringing you live music and engaging listeners in conversation on issues facing the state.

The StoryCorps mobile booth was parked on Cowles Commons for the month of August 2017, and we held an opening day event, storytelling workshop, and had a full house (270 attendees) at listening party at State Historical Society. Outreach leading up to deployment of the booth included 90 community organizations, resulting in what StoryCorps described as the strongest-ever community response on the mobile booth tour.

Ira Glass played to a sold out crowd at Hoyt Sherman Place in October 2017 and the following month, On Point came to Ames, airing the show live from our Ames studios, and holding a community event at the ISU Alumni Association.

In collaboration with the News & Talk team, Morning Edition Host and Reporter, Clay Masters took the Public Radio on Tap series on the road to Des Moines, Storm Lake, and Iowa City — attracting an average attendance of 300 people. Moderated by Clay, questions were fielded from from the audience, and the discussion was recorded, edited and rebroadcast on River to River.

Photos from Public Radio on Tap at the Iowa Taproom in Des Moines

We also were able to invite listeners to visit with IPR reporters, hosts, and staff at each of our studio open houses, host a reception for our Leadership Circle donors following the Yankee Doodle Pops Concert in Des Moines, organize another successful Great Iowa Potluck, and be present at the Studio One Underground shows and major music festivals across the state.

Working with The Gazette, Pints and Politics, a regularly held panel discussion often moderated by River to River Host, Ben Kieffer, was held in Cedar Rapids, and we partnered with Iowa Watch on a series of storytelling events in Iowa City.

These were recorded, edited, and later shared on the air for our listeners around the state.

Studio One continued to have a presence at music festivals across the state, presenting music at our free stage at 80/35 and interviewing performing artists at the Hinterland Music Festival. Our 80/35 stage has become a favorite stage for many festival goers.

80/35 Music Festival IPR Soundstage
A sample of IPR hosted events.

News You Can Count On

IPR grew its award-winning News team, adding a reporter in Western Iowa and providing trusted news coverage from the Statehouse and around the state.

The News & Talk team worked to bring you deep coverage of the 2018 legislative session, including a live broadcast of Governor Reynolds’ Condition of the State address, 16 talk shows focusing on legislative issues, 16 Under the Golden Dome podcasts examining legislative debate on the floor and behind the scenes and numerous stories, pieces and 2-ways with and from our Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell.

During the last election cycle, IPR’s reporters, producers, and engineering staff came together and covered Iowa’s primary election, interviewing all the candidates for governor, offering election night results digitally and extensive on-air coverage of the results the next day.

Listeners also began hearing news from new places, namely Western Iowa, with the addition of Katie Peikes and the establishment of a bureau in Sioux City in partnership with Siouxland Public Media.

Katie Peikes, IPR Western Iowa Reporter

In addition to wide ranging news coverage, the News & Talk team produced pieces from the Iowa StoryCorps participants to air on Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and an hour long special to air on the National Day of Listening (the day after Thanksgiving). Things didn’t end there with the production of two series: a summer series focused on guns and the Iowa Week series examined "Iowa: A Place to Grow."

Awards IPR received at the Midwest Broadcast Journalists Association Awards in 2018

Iowa Public Radio is a place for discovery.

Your Daily Soundtrack

Iowa Public Radio’s music programming grew this year with the addition of a production assistant who has enabled us to increase our Live Sessions from our KUNI studio to 2 to 3 performances per month. We also added live video streaming technology and training so that our music team could broadcast live in-studio performances and performances on Facebook from venues and festivals throughout the state. Since September 2017, IPR hosted approximately 5 Classical and 40 Studio One Live Sessions. With this additional technology, we’ve been able to grow our engagement with audiences.

Our show Gas Money, which provides a twice weekly spotlight on Iowa’s musical talent and first piloted on our web streaming service has joined our Saturday line-up on News/Studio One stations.

The Iowa Arts Showcase was revamped to better serve our listeners and now airs every Friday at noon with a focus on one topic or event, but, occasionally, offers a calendar of upcoming events.

And our Classical team continued to bring you Iowa’s Symphony Orchestras and Opera companies through our Symphonies of Iowa series and Arias in April and Operas in October.

On the Air 24/7

Iowa Public Radio’s resourceful engineering and technical teams worked hard to keep all 25 of our stations on the air this past year. Our engineers spend all hours, year round, out in the elements ensuring that our stations are maintained and repaired when needed. Weather in Iowa can be extreme so our equipment has to withstand massive swings in temperature, rain, ice, and snow precipitation, wind, even lightning strikes. It’s not just towers and antennas that need maintenance, it’s the buildings on the ground that house the heating and cooling systems and transmitters. In addition, any changes or repairs made to our stations must meet strict FCC rules and safety codes. This crew is often our unsung heroes in broadcasting. We couldn’t do what we do without their behind the scenes efforts.

Record Private Support

Much of Iowa Public Radio’s growth over the past several years is largely attributed to member and private support. Last fiscal year, more than $6.2M was brought in from our members, underwriting partners, major gifts and event revenue. This is unprecedented for IPR. This success has allowed IPR to decrease the number of days spent fundraising on the air. However, on-air fundraising is still an important tool for welcoming new members to Iowa Public Radio. Thanks to you, this was a record year for private support for IPR.

FY18 Consolidated Financials

The consolidated financials for FY2018 represents the financial activity for the WOI Radio Group, the KSUI Radio Group, the KUNI Radio Group and Iowa Public Radio, Inc.

Leadership Circle

Individuals and foundations making gifts of $1,000 or more annually are part of Iowa Public Radio’s Leadership Circle. IPR’s Leadership Circle donors have made an investment in the community and are ensuring that public radio will be strong in Iowa today, and tomorrow.

Corporate Sponsors

Iowa Public Radio sponsors connect their brand with quality programming and benefit from the “halo effect” — the positive sentiment listeners have towards businesses that support IPR. The sponsors listed in the link below have made an annual underwriting investment of $1,000 or more.

Membership revenue increased by nearly 10% over FY17 to $4.2M and our members grew by 7% to 28,700 members by the end of FY18. THANK YOU!

Message from Iowa Public Radio's Leadership

Iowa Public Radio is stronger than ever, thanks to you! Fiscal year 2018 was a collaborative year for IPR. As you may note from reviewing this year's annual report, it takes more than just turning on the speakers to bring you high quality content. All 55 staff employed by IPR play an important role in our success year after year, but your role is one of the most important. It's because of your continuing and growing support that we are what you hear each time you tune in.

We continually push ourselves to do more, and we're stretching to reach some big goals ahead. There are so many more stories to tell, more events that cultivate a sense of community, and more music to discover and share with you. This is an exciting time for public radio, and we believe we are just getting started. Your loyal member-driven support, ambassadorship to new listeners, and active engagement provide the fuel that ensures we will continue to succeed in the years ahead.

IPR is a unique public-private partnership. Our stations are owned by, and licensed to, Iowa's Regent Universities, and IPR manages these stations on behalf of the Universities for the benefit of Iowans. Together, listeners like you, the Universities, and the talented IPR team have created an extraordinary network that enriches the civic and cultural life in Iowa on a daily basis.

On behalf of the IPR Board and Staff, we thank you for listening and for your support.


Marsha Ternus, Chair of IPR's Board of Directors

Myrna Johnson, Executive Director

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