Chances are, if you are in the Asheville area, you've probably had a few "driveway moments" with your radio dial tuned in to Blue Ridge Public Radio. For nearly 40 years, this listener-supported non-profit has provided public radio services to Western North Carolina with a blend of NPR programming, entertainment and classical music. We are pleased to recognize Blue Ridge Public Radio as Small Business of the Month.
|BPR Dir. of Underwriting Steve Busey and BPR |
Board Chair Ken Brame with Chamber Board Chair Himanshu Karvir
Incorporated in 1979, Blue Ridge Public Radio was originally located on the campus of UNC Asheville. Over the last three decades, BPR has operated from a downtown location and has steadily expanded services by adding more transmitters to the system and expanding programming offers. Today, BPR operates fifteen transmission facilities, many of them on remote mountain tops across WNC to serve listeners in 13 counties.
In March of this year, the organization rebranded as Blue Ridge Public Radio. This parent brand comprises two siblings: WCQS news/classical music and the all news BPR News with expanded local and national news coverage. The expansion was preceded by enlarging the news staff, which included the hiring an arts journalist to cover our region's creative economy. BPR also recently launched two, new locally produced podcasts and a new mobile app.
"We’ve built a strong, independent, self-supporting journalism organization that is trusted by a growing audience across Western North Carolina," Feingold said. "This is borne out in the listener statistics, annual membership revenue, and increasing business sponsorship from companies that rely on BPR to help market their products and services."
Last fall, WCQS became – for the first time - the #1 most listened to station in the Asheville Metro Market. At this point in the organization's history, BPR's financial health has never been better with a growing endowment and balanced budgets and better over the last three years.
"As a public radio broadcaster, building community is at the core of our mission. It infuses how we shape and deliver our services and how we invest in the future."
Reflecting the organization's commitment to downtown Asheville, BPR recently completed a redesign plan for a complete renovation and technical upgrade to the organization's studios and offices at 73 Broadway. The new facility will be state of the art, will include public spaces for events, and an inviting streetscape.
To other small businesses, Feingold says, "Earn the trust of your audience/customers every day. Get to know and understand them. And don't ever pull back on that effort."