In 2015, WORT successfully expanded our nightly news show, In Our Backyard. WORT is poised for more news growth in 2016 and you’ve made it possible. Radio news is different from many other media forms in that we cannot rely on printed statements and quotes from press releases-and we wouldn’t want to. We bring you the sounds of the day. We brought you to the State Capitol when thousands of Wisconsinites were gathered in protest-you heard the chants and the horns. (Ah, the horns….) We bring you the stories of those affected by public policy decisions-in their own words and their own voices, with stammers and hesitation, jubilation or tears.
Honest human expression.
Audio recorders are the tools we use to gather these sounds and nowadays, they are digital and able to record many hours on one small disk. We put them in the hands of volunteers who venture out into the world and capture its sounds- whether it is the Madison Mayor talking about the future of downtown, high school students shutting down a federal highway in protest, or local skateboarders joyously breaking in the new skate park.
The stories you hear on the news for a few fleeting minutes are the product of hours of focused work and attention, multiplied by years of perspective gained from following local news, and a lifetime of a love for the communities we serve. We bring together dedicated staff, volunteers, studios, and equipment to make sure we can bring you the news across our city, county, and state. We scour the city, scoop it up and bring it back to our little studio downtown, where we review it and play you the highlights…or the lowlights, depending on the story.
In the past, because we had only two decent recorders, it required a lot of coordination to make sure there would be one available when a reporter needed it— an extra hurdle for reporters to clear on top of everything else they were trying to accomplish that day. Our recorders were nearly a decade old and showing signs of wear: cracked screens, missing parts, buttons worn away.
Thanks to generous donations from you, our listeners, we more than doubled our collection of audio recorders in December.
Your donations allowed us to purchase broadcast quality recorders that can capture a single human voice in the middle of a chaotic crowd. They record at a fidelity you have come to expect on a modern radio station, free of distracting hiss, tinny hollow “bathtub sounds,” or muddled fuzz.
You also enabled us to purchase a recorder with XLR inputs to record directly from amplified sound systems. What does this mean? It means WORT can provide excellent, clear coverage of candidate speeches, press conferences, Capitol hearings— anywhere a microphone is set up to cover a story: no more muffled audio from hand-held recorders far from the speaker.
In addition, we are posting more daily news stories on the WORT website under the guidance of our Web Director, Tim Schneider. This brings our stories to thousands more listeners and viewers every day, including those who can’t tune in at 6 pm and the growing number of people who like to get their news online. It is satisfying for our reporters to see their stories gain momentum and be of use to you.
Improving the quality and depth of our news has always been a top priority. Last year, your contributions allowed us to hire an Assistant News Director to work directly with volunteers producing our nightly local news program.
Thanks to your support, WORT is continuing to build a citizen news team that operates on a professional level in the era of new technology. This is no small challenge, but in the process we are teaching the next generation of journalists the skills they need to turn their passion into a career as well as increasing the breadth of knowledge of our seasoned community contributors.
WORT’s privileged position as a listener-sponsored community radio station allows us to put ethics and principles ahead of profit. We don’t answer to big business, state government, or Arbitron ratings. We answer to you. You support WORT and we want you to know what’s happening in the world around you.
Call us at (608) 256-2001 and give us your feedback. Send us your story ideas and tips. Introduce us to someone who might like to learn the craft of journalism. Volunteer your time and talents as a news reporter or engineer. Have a particular field of expertise? Think about becoming a regular feature story contributor and share your knowledge with a wider audience. WORT is your radio station. Thank you for making it what it is today.