WKAR: Project Summary

Like much of public media in the United States, WKAR is faced with a changing demographic that is gradually getting younger and more internet savvy. As the PBS and NPR affiliate located in Lansing, Michigan, WKAR has produced high quality content over radio, television, and web for many years. One area of success is its statewide public affairs and politically based television show entitled “Off The Record” which it now wants to tailor to a younger audience.

For this project, WKAR is betting on a mobile app based on its “Off The Record” show and continued live-streaming of post-show discussions. WKAR believes that by bringing the show’s content to a mobile platform, younger audiences will be more attuned to showing up at the polls. With a built-in audience of not only Michigan State University but several other schools in their market, this seems to be a natural fit for WKAR.

What knowledge will be gained from this experiment?

WKAR anticipates this will be the first of several other mobile apps it will develop over the course of time. Because its television show “Off The Record” has an established audience and a clearly defined content base, WKAR has elected to turn its content into a mobile app. It hopes to draw insights and lessons for future development of subsequent mobile apps.

In looking at its analytics, WKAR hopes to learn more about who uses the app, what episodes, blogs and links they are visiting, what public affairs topics they are most interested in, and what percentage are donating to WKAR. This feedback will be useful in planning topics for future episodes and election specials of ‘Off the Record.’


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