Over 400 public radio stations will now have access to high quality, labor-friendly news courtesy of Workers Independent News. All they have to do is ask for it.

Beginning in January, WIN’s content will be available to more than 400 National Public Radio affiliates across the country via the Public Radio Satellite System.

“We’ve supported WIN since the beginning and are pleased to hear that more news stations, and more working families, will have access to their content,” said International President Lonnie R. Stephenson.

With some early help from the IBEW, WIN has been broadcasting since 2002 to over a million listeners, says Frank Emspak, WIN executive producer, pictured above.

WIN will produce 15 minutes of content each day, which stations can take in segments or in its entirety. One segment will be the three-minute news roundup that WIN presently does, as well as an in-depth look into a current news topic. Other segments will have interviews with labor leaders, an economic news feature and underwriter recognition.

“We’re thrilled to be able to offer our content, and the stories of labor and working families, to a broader audience,” said WIN Executive Producer Frank Emspak. “This is a great step forward for the movement, and we’re proud to be the catalyst.”

In addition to the planned segments, WIN is considering additional coverage of other labor-related areas like immigration or labor issues from a legal perspective.

The Public Radio Satellite System provides content to local radio stations throughout the country, most of which are NPR stations. WIN’s content was already being used by outlets like Daily Kos and radio host Thom Hartmann, as well as CNN and Al Jazeera. Their inclusion in the system makes accessing the content that much easier for participating stations and consequently more likely to be aired.   

“This will be a boost to the legitimacy of WIN and of labor media in general,” said WIN Marketing Director Tom Hemaidan.

With fewer and fewer news outlets with a dedicated labor reporter, this comes at a good time. When labor issues do get coverage, many advocates of working families have noted it isn’t always fair or objective.

“For labor coverage, the way it usually goes is that there is a labor-management dispute, the news outlet calls the company first, gets their perspective, then they call the union. We call the union first,” said Emspak. “No one else really does that.”

With WIN now producing more content, they will need to increase their capacity and hire more reporters. WIN has always paid above the union rate and plans to continue to do so. They estimate they will need about $55,000 by the end of the year.

For its part, WIN plans to reach out to local unions and community partners and ask them to contact their stations about carrying WIN’s content. With the added audience, WIN expects to increase its underwriting revenues.

WIN began broadcasting in 2002 and currently reaches over a million listeners using a multi-media strategy. Emspak gives a great deal of credit to IBEW for its start. In addition to early financial assistance, the IBEW offered guidance and encouraged others to get involved, he said.

“Without IBEW, we wouldn’t be here,” Emspak said.

Tax-deductible contributions may be made through laborradio.org.

WIN is produced by Diversified Media Enterprises, which is owned by the nonprofit Public Economic Information Service.

Frank Emspak photo credit: Tom Hemaidan, WIN