With $320,000 grant, KCUR creates community engagement team  

Station’s effort, funded by the William T. Kemper Foundation, is aimed at creating broad community dialogue


Aug. 16, 2013

KCUR-FM 89.3 has received a two-year $320,000 grant from the William T. Kemper Foundation—Commerce Bank, Trustee to develop a community engagement team. The three-person team will be led by Ron Jones, formerly program director for WDET in Detroit.

The community engagement team will become a national prototype for fostering dialogue about important issues. Jones will join the KCUR staff on Sept. 16 as the Director of Community Engagement. This will be his second stint with KCUR. He served as the station’s program director from 1988-93. His experience also includes positions such as Vice President of Programming at WBEZ Chicago Public Radio; Program Director of WGBH-FM in Boston; and General Manager of WERS-FM in Boston.

KCUR is currently hiring a Community Engagement Reporter, responsible for creating and coordinating broadcast content for community engagement purposes; and a Social Media Producer, responsible for creating, coordinating, and sharing online content for community engagement. The team will coordinate community conversations on-air, online, and in person. Topics of interest include the arts, entrepreneurship, neighborhoods and community diversity.

KCUR is the NPR affiliate member station in Kansas City, Mo., and is a service of the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Since its creation, KCUR has provided programming which informs, entertains and enriches the community. The grant will help enhance that mission.

“A community that is engaged in healthy dialogue is essential to our democracy. It is our obligation as a public media outlet to step in where we can to help generate and advance this dialogue,” Nico Leone, general manager of KCUR, said.