WSLR, Inc.

Sarasota, FL

WSLR-LP is an innovative, listener-supported, non-profit, non-commercial FM radio station dedicated to serving the Sarasota community.

WSLR features locally produced programming and events that offer cultural, artistic, and political perspectives currently underrepresented in the media. Our goal is to inform and empower listeners to play an active role in WSLR and in their community.

WSLR’s programming promotes equality, peace, sustainability, democracy, and social and economic justice.

We have over 100 community volunteers programming at the station. Many of our programmers are low-income, currently unemployed, and in danger of losing their homes. A number of radio programs serve the interests of traditionally underserved communities in our area, including “Newtown and Beyond”, “Recovery Radio” and “Perspectives”. We offer opportunities to ex-felons and those who need community service hours to satisfy their parole requirements. We strive to reach out to poor and homeless populations to give them a voice in their community. WSLR covers stories that other local news outlets do not. We have participated in the Homelessness Marathon for the past three years putting homeless people on the air to tell their stories. We also partner with All Faiths Food Bank to collect canned goods for hungry families.

Supported Projects

Community Outreach and Organizing

David Beaton

In relation to the Comprehensive Broadcasting Plan, the Corps member will be responsible for researching current radio technology and preparing cost/benefit analyses for the Board and gathering information about the operations of other community media centers. The Comprehensive Broadcasting Plan would be the priority for the first half of the year and laying the groundwork for the media center would be the focus of the second half of the year and laying the groundwork for the media center would be the focus of the second half of the year. To support the media center concept, the Corps member will gather information on the needs of the community, reach out to organizations/individuals to build partnerships to help meet these needs, determine what each organization has to offer and at what level they would like to participate. The Corps member will also assist in developing a marketing plan to familiarize the community with the new services/trainings/events that will be available at the media center. Working closely with the Station’s promotions committee, the Corps member will assist with organizing two fundraising events to build awareness and raise funds to support the center’s growth. A grant proposal for local funding will also be developed.

David was very helpful in putting together a ‘Brick by Brick’ campaign to help us match a $28,000 gift we had received. He developed the brochure for marketing the campaign and reached out to many individuals for contributions. David was able to research various STL options for the station and determine their feasibility and cost. He secured an agreement with a local building owner to allow us to place a microwave relay station on his building at no cost to the station. So the station is in a much better position to move on these options as we plan our relocation in the Fall. He has completed a Comprehensive Broadcasting Plan to set the strategic direction for the station as we move forward. David has also finalized a proposal for a Community Media Center that will be presented to the Board. What remains to be done is to implement the plan/proposal in conjunction with the move to our new space. We had hoped to be in the space by now, but had significant delays due to the contractor hired to do Phase 1 of the project. We have just entered Phase II which is a remodeling of the station side of the building and expect to move in in October 2011. Getting this facility operational essential to ensuring the sustainability of the project. The new location will increase the station’s visibility, improve the reliance of our signal, expand our community presence and involvement and offer lots of new partnership opportunities.

David contacted a number of local foundations in regards to our building campaign and talked to their Grants Project Managers. Unfortunately, when they found WSLR did not own the building they would be moving in to they discouraged us from submitting applications for funding. Therefore, during David’s term with the station he did not prepare a local grant proposal. However, he is currently working to help us come up with a Festival Proposal to submit for funding to the Arts and Cultural Alliance. David did suffer from a number of health challenges during his year as a VISTA which slowed his progress down. We also suffered significant delays in Phase 1 of our relocation effort. A project the contractor had estimated to take 35 days wound up taking 5 months. Therefore, we were unable to get in the new space and actually see the plan unfold. We had hoped to be further along with the vision of the media center at this time.

The support for community media projects provided by the Transmission Project has been greatly appreciated. It is oftentimes hard to find funding for smaller grassroots organizations. Having an additional person on staff this past year has been extremely helpful in advancing the goals of WSLR and our larger vision of expanding to a full Community Media and Arts Center. Thanks!”

- Arlene Sweeting, supervisor

Transmission Project