The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) has announced the launch of the Jazz Media Lab, through which some of the country’s most dynamic and forwarding-thinking nonprofit jazz radio stations will receive more than $1.3 million to participate in a program aimed at bolstering their individual strength and collective resilience as essential players in the jazz ecosystem. KMHD (Oregon Public Broadcasting) in Portland, Ore., KNKX (Pacific Public Media) in Tacoma/Seattle, Wash., KUVO (Rocky Mountain Public Media) in Denver, Colo., WBGO (Newark Public Radio) in Newark, N.J. and WRTI (Temple University) in Philadelphia, Pa. will each receive grants of up to $275,000 over three years to support their involvement in the collective, and supply them with core support and innovation capital.
The Jazz Media Lab program will also provide these stations with a peer network, support system and contracted resource team for exploring and advancing strategies to diversify their listening bases, invest in new media platforms, engage with venues and community organizations, and establish meaningful relationships with jazz artists.
“We’re thrilled to launch the Jazz Media Lab with this cohort of leaders in the field of jazz radio,” said Maurine Knighton, program director for the arts at DDCF. “Jazz radio plays an essential role in supporting the field of jazz, a vital art form with a rich history embedded in the fabric of this country and an exciting, evolving future. These stations have always been critical partners to artists and venues, and never has that been truer than today, as they’ve served as the central platform for connecting artists with audiences and for voicing issues affecting musicians and venues during the pandemic. As the largest national funder of jazz, we are dedicated to helping ensure the sustained vibrancy of jazz, one of very few contemporary art forms original to the U.S. This program is a pivotal piece of that greater commitment.”
Each of the stations participating in the Jazz Media Lab will receive general operating support grants of $225,000 over three years to enable their time commitment to the program and provide predictable income and stable operations during this period of economic instability. Additionally, in the program’s second year, each grantee will be eligible to receive a supplemental grant of up to $50,000 in innovation funds for a defined project. Structured as a pilot venture with measurable results and specific learnings, these projects will explore one or more of the program’s themes of engaging next-generation artists and audiences, maximizing the use of new media platforms and increasing revenues.
Jazz stations offer a rich array of in-studio sessions, community engagement events, jazz calendars, on-air interviews, and partnerships with high schools and jazz educators that tie together diverse players and provide a centering force for local jazz. With that recognition, the Jazz Media Lab program will provide this cohort of jazz radio stations with the capital and collaboration required to build on these tools to reach new audiences – particularly younger listeners – and help jazz thrive into the future. In addition to funding support, each of the stations will receive access to resources that will strengthen their organizational and financial capacity. Among these resources are monthly virtual professional development sessions; executive coaching; learning and evaluation tools; coordination with national service organizations that can provide additional technical and research support; individual station financial and audience assessments; connections with artists and industry leaders; and access to audience development resources and expertise. By designing a program grounded in cohort learning and collaboration, DDCF hopes the Jazz Media Lab will deepen the peer network relationships of mutual support among jazz stations that endure beyond DDCF funding.
The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) is to improve the quality of people's lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and child well-being, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke's properties. At the core of DDCF’s work in pursuit of this mission is a dedication to serving and learning from organizations and individuals addressing inequities and working toward a more just, healthy, sustainable and inclusive society. To that end, the Arts Program of DDCF focuses its support on contemporary dance, jazz and theater artists, and the organizations that nurture, present and produce them.