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CPB SAS Narrative

CPB Station Survey

6.1 Telling Public Radio’s Story


  1. KVNO HD 1 is a 24-hour classical music radio station, located on the campus of the University of Nebraska at Omaha with a mission to elevate life and create community through classical music. We are the only full-time classical music radio station within two hours in any direction, placing us in the unique position to provide uplifting classical music to the Omaha/Council Bluffs metro area and beyond. One of our goals is to make KVNO as accessible as possible to many different communities, so we stream live at, on our smartphone app, through Tune In and through smart speakers, so whatever is carried on our HD radio signal at 90.7 FM, is also heard across all these other platforms. We also renovated part of our station to make it more attractive and accessible to our listeners. KVNO continually works toward a goal of connecting listeners to the arts in the Omaha metro through a variety of ways. We feature in-depth stories about the arts in the community twice each weekday on Arts Today (now airing at 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.). We also provide local news that isn’t available anywhere else through the creation of in-depth local stories to pair with BBC news during morning and afternoon drive. The local stories focus on issues of concern to the community such as immigration, inequity, underserved populations, and other local issues. KVNO also supplements news through an exchange partnership with Nebraska Public Media to bring listeners reports from the Nebraska Unicameral and stories about greater Nebraska. Because there is a (nearly) full-time NPR affiliate in our market, we choose to air BBC news on HD – 1 and HD – 3, providing a different perspective to listeners in our community. KVNO seeks to make the arts accessible to young people through our long-standing Classical Kids program. Each month, a local student who performs, composes or sings is named a KVNO Classical Kid. We conduct an interview with each winner, honoring them on the air and in our marketing. Each winner receives a $300 scholarship from the Soener Foundation and performs at our Classical Kids Showcase. This year it was held on October 30 at the Strauss Performing Arts Center – families and friends were invited, and we provided a professional photographer to capture the event. Those photos were then made available to each Classical Kid and their families. In service to the arts community in our market and the community in general, KVNO partnered with the Omaha Chamber Music Society on Good Vibrations, a program that collects used instruments, refurbishes them and provides them free-of-charge to music students in need across our community. KVNO provided promotional value, Arts Today features and hosted a used instrument drive that collected over 80 instruments. KVNO also partnered with Opera Omaha to host and promote Opera Outdoors in August, 2021, a free event that makes opera accessible to anyone who wishes to attend. We partnered with the Omaha Symphony to create live broadcasts on a number of occasions, making classical music more accessible and helping promote our local symphony, and continued to broadcast “In Concert with the Omaha Symphony,” a program that airs previous symphony concerts. Much of our holiday programming comes from local sources that we record and broadcast, including from arts organizations such as Voices of Omaha, the Cathedral Arts Project, Omaha Symphonic Chorus, the Omaha Chamber Music Society,  2021 also saw a new KVNO brand that includes a new website, smart phone app and logo, all with the goal of attracting new and younger audiences and sharing the beauty of classical music with them. We continued airing “The Sound of 13,” a program we created that looks at race through the lens of classical music and the 13th We also created a new program in 2021 called “The Silent Canon,” which focused on the contributions of Blacks around the world to classical music. The program was co-sponsored by a Black-owned news and information service, which exposed us to new audiences. Our new website and app include Scherzo, the KVNO staff blog, which focuses on the arts, the community and life. KVNO HD 2 is run entirely by students at the University of Nebraska at Omaha who air programming for students and play-by-play of university sports. The station has won many awards over the years and serves as hands-on training for communication and broadcasting students. KVNO HD 3 is devoted to news and public affairs programming. It airs primarily programming from the BBC but also syndicated programs such as Democracy Now, City Arts and Lectures, the Commonwealth Club of California and the Georgetown Forum. All three stations are available over the air, however, KVNO HD 1 is the only signal available without an HD radio. All are available via the Internet, on smart speakers and on the KVNO app.



  1. One of the most important initiatives for KVNO in the 2022 fiscal year was planning and celebrating our 50th We held a variety of events on and off the air for our listeners and commissioned two classical works – one from a former KVNO Classical Kid who was only 14 years old when he wrote the work. We also commissioned a composition from an established American composer with the theme of highlighting Omaha’s strong immigrant past. Both compositions were performed by the Omaha Symphony in the fall of 2022. We held an Open House for the UNO community to educate them on our 50 years on the air, introduce them to classical music and build new partnerships with other organizations on campus. We also produced special programs for our 50th that focused on three musical arts organizations in the Omaha metro. KVNO forged a number of new partnerships this year. One of the most notable was with the Omaha Chamber Music Society to run a program called Good Vibrations. The program collects musical instruments, refurbishes them and distributes them to kids in need in schools across the community. KVNO sponsored a used-instrument drive and aired special programming that focused on the impact of the project to students in need. Other new partnerships include The Kaneko, an art gallery in Omaha, and the Omaha Conservatory of Music and the UNO School of Music, with whom we are partnering to create children’s programming. KVNO continued to work closely with the Omaha Symphony, producing and airing their concerts on a program called “In Concert with the Omaha Symphony.” We also partnered with the Omaha Chamber Music Society, Cathedral Arts Project, Omaha Symphonic Chorus and Voices of Omaha to air their concerts on KVNO. KVNO regularly works with the UNO School of Music to highlight their programs, initiatives and work during Arts Today, and we have a new local program in the works with the School of Music to highlight diversity in classical music. The School of Music partnered with us on our Classical Kids Showcase, providing the concert hall and event support.  We also partnered with NPM on programming in fiscal year 2022, creating stories for their Friday Live program and other news stories from the Omaha area while they provided Legislative Updates to KVNO when the Nebraska Unicameral is in session and occasional news stories that give our audience an understanding of what is happening in Nebraska outside of our immediate broadcast area. In addition, KVNO partners closely with area music schools, plus public and private elementary and middle schools to nominate and choose our monthly Classical Kids winners. Finally, we partnered with a number of businesses in fiscal year 2022 to provide engagement for our listeners on-air.
  2. While it is difficult to measure defined impacts of our collaborations, we do know that the partners whose content we aired – the Omaha Symphony, Omaha Chamber Music Society, Voices of Omaha, Omaha Symphonic Chorus and the Cathedral Arts Project – were extremely grateful for the help in highlighting their works and reaching new audiences. Sharon Struve, a founding member of the Voices of Omaha wrote to us after we aired their recording of “Handel’s Messiah.” “Just heard the presentation of Handel’s Messiah by the Voices of Omaha and wanted to thank you for airing it today for  us.   We are so grateful that KVNO recorded it so it could be aired today.” The Good Vibrations initiative with the Omaha Chamber Music Society collected over 80 instruments that were refurbished and distributed to children in need. We received quite a bit of positive feedback from both teachers, students and listeners. Judy Divas, who runs the program said, “We’ve never been able to distribute this many instruments before. KVNO has made a huge difference!” The  free programming that we provided to NPM helped them with their bottom line, and the programming they provided to us helped to give our audience a greater understanding of the larger issues within Nebraska. The impact of our Classical Kid partnership with schools has helped to increase awareness of music in schools and also to encourage students to continue to pursue a music education. Former Classical Kids have gone on to compose and perform at very high levels and cite the KVNO Classical Kids program as a great influence on their musical education. We also partnered with their parents for interviews and performances at the Classical Kid Showcase. One parent wrote to us: “I just wanted to thank you for all your hard work to make possible the KVNO Classical Kids showcase. It was very inspiring to see all these kids and their beautiful performances with all the different instruments. It was a very enjoyable and unique experience! We loved it! And we will not forget it! Thank you so much for giving Lucia the opportunity to be part of it!” One of our key initiatives for fiscal year 2022 was to present more diverse programming, especially highlighting the works of Black composers and performers. While we don’t have specific numbers of listeners reached in the community that would be represented by this programming, we did see a notable increase in the number of people contacting KVNO about classical music, indicating that through the sponsorship by a Black-owned news and information service, this community was exposed to and engaged with classical music.



  1. KVNO continued to move forward with our initiatives on diversity. The KVNO News/Arts director is a minority and is dedicated to telling the stories of those in our community who often do not have a voice. We also hired two people of Hispanic descent who work in various capacities at KVNO, both on and off the air. In addition, KVNO continued to produce  programming that highlights diversity in classical music and helps our listeners go deeper into questions surrounding race and other forms of diversity. We aired two seasons of “The Sound of 13,” a program that opens a conversation about race using the 13th amendment and classical music as a guide, and “The Silent Canon,” which focuses on the enormous contributions of Black composers and musicians to the canon of classical music. KVNO syndicated both seasons of “The Sound of 13,” and a large number of stations have purchased it to air themselves. We also air a bilingual syndicated program called “Concierto” that celebrates Hispanic and Latino contributions to classical music. We are currently in the process of partnering with the UNO School of Music to create a new program entitled “Reflections of Us.” This program highlights diversity in classical music in all its forms and will debut in the spring of 2023.  KVNO has been working with the Omaha Chamber Music Society in their Good Vibrations program to hold another used instrument drive and establish a scholarship that rewards high school musicians for their work mentoring and tutoring younger disadvantaged music students.


  1. The impact of CPB funding on KVNO has been tremendous. The grant allowed us to purchase top-shelf national programs such as Performance Today, Exploring Music, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, and The Met that would not otherwise be heard in our market. We were also able to expand our local programming, which we used in fiscal year 2022 for Arts Today, The Sound of 13, The Silent Canon, In Concert with the Omaha Symphony and some of our holiday programming. The grant allowed us to hire an audio engineer, who has made vast improvements to our overall sound and technical capabilities. It has also helped us to respond to the needs of our community, fluctuations in funding from other sources and the changing technology so many radio broadcasters face. Finally, the grant from CPB was instrumental in helping to create special programming to celebrate our 50th Although no CPB grant money is used to fund HD 2, our student-run station, the grant from CPB did allow us to purchase the syndicated programming we air on our HD 3 news channel.