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Public Media Project at UA Little Rock Cutting BackLock Icon

2 min read

With grant money running out, cutbacks have arrived at Arkansas Public Media, the regional public journalism collaborative headquartered at the public radio stations of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Grant funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting formally ends Monday, and UA-Little Rock is no longer keeping the project budgeted, according to people in a position to know.

The transition is no shock for the statewide network, which had only four full-time employees and relied on sharing resources among public radio outlets around Arkansas. In less than three years, APM had a noticeable impact, airing important and thoughtful stories on education, health and energy issues. The closing reportedly has nothing to do with UA Little Rock’s current enrollment and funding challenges.

The project was born after the CPB designated a $278,300 grant for it in 2015. Managing Editor Bobby Ampezzan, the former Arkansas Democrat-Gazette editor and writer, led its journalism, coordinating work with KUAR and KLRE in Little Rock, KUAF in Fayetteville, KASU in Jonesboro and KTXK in Texarkana.

Doubts about the network’s future grew early this year when Vanessa McKuin, its first partner-manager, left for a job in the same building as development director for UA Little Rock public radio. Her new salary of $45,000 was smaller, but speculation was that the new job was more secure.

General Manager Nathan Vandiver of UA-Little Rock Public Radio said the project will go on in reduced form, and with the four full-time positions being cut back to one part-time job.

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