WDET Launches 'STAR' Program to Support Arts and Culture in Detroit

Jan 04, 2010, 06:00 ET from WDET

Station to spotlight cultural nonprofit organizations at no charge

DETROIT, Jan. 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- WDET 101.9FM has launched a new arts and culture initiative called the "STAR" program, an acronym for Support The Arts, to provide support to nonprofit cultural organizations in Southeast Michigan. Specifically, WDET's STAR program will spotlight, through free on-air promotion and announcements, two organizations each month that promote and nurture the artistic landscape of metro Detroit.

All nonprofit arts organizations can apply, but WDET will reserve opportunities for organizations with annual operating budgets of $500,000 or less. According to WDET General Manager J. Mikel Ellcessor, modest budgets typically prohibit small arts and cultural organizations from devoting substantial resources to marketing or public relations.

"Small arts-oriented nonprofits often rely solely on word-of-mouth to get their name out, depend on a dedicated repeat audience to fill seats at events, and find themselves continually operating at the margin in spite of the fact that the region's cultural community is highly diverse, very energized and of extraordinary quality," Ellcessor said.

He emphasized that these limitations, which are exacerbated by the inherent challenges in fundraising for the arts, make WDET's STAR program invaluable in helping cultural organizations reach a wider audience than otherwise would be possible.

Participating organizations will be selected by WDET staff from applications received online at www.wdet.org. WDET will work with the arts organization selected to craft on-air messages using 30-second spots, as well as longer, produced sonic pieces -- which use sound to help tell a story -- and a possible interview on WDET's Craig Fahle Show.

"WDET embraces its responsibility to encourage the knowledge and growth of metro Detroit's arts and cultural scene," Ellcessor added. "We want to make it easier for arts lovers and arts organizations to find each other."

About WDET

WDET 101.9FM is Wayne State University's public radio station and Southeast Michigan's station for in-depth news, conversation and music. WDET serves more than 165,000 individuals every week and is one of Detroit's few remaining media outlets whose primary mission is to serve the region through locally focused news and cultural programming. WDET's daily talk show, "Detroit Today," is established among the state's political, economic and cultural leaders as a credible, trusted venue for serious conversations on the region's most pressing concerns. In addition to award-winning local news coverage, WDET is the National Public Radio member station for metropolitan Detroit.

WDET is strengthening its position as a leading public radio station by partnering with WNYC, New York Public Radio and Public Radio International in developing The Takeaway, the first new public radio morning show in more than 25 years. The Takeaway is designed to welcome new audiences into public radio through a contemporary news format and an interactive, multiplatform strategy. WDET continues its long tradition of serving its audience through an expanded and updated approach to community engagement. WDET's community programming strategy is exemplified by Detroit Public Schools' Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb Town Hall meeting; the Health Care Reform Town Hall meeting; and the broadcast series, Facing the Mortgage Crisis: Home is More Than Our House, which had an accompanying blog and Web site. This strategy helps bring authentic, under-heard voices to the region's airwaves.

Wayne State University is one of the nation's pre-eminent public research universities in an urban setting. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education, and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit, the state of Michigan and throughout the world. For more information on research at Wayne State University, visit http://www.research.wayne.edu.