KERA launches multimedia economy project to offer help to North Texans in need

July 6, 2009 · Filed Under Events and News 

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With unemployment continuing to rise in North Texas and home foreclosures at near-record highs, KERA is launching a year-long, multi-media project called The Economy that aims to provide hope and bring help to the thousands of North Texans who are Facing the Mortgage Crisis.

The project will make use of the public broadcaster’s media assets – KERA-TV Channel 13.1, KERA-FM (90.1 in Dallas/Fort Worth/Denton, 99.3 in Sherman, 100.1 in Tyler and 88.3 in Wichita Falls) and the website – to provide vital, balanced information and reporting on current economic issues. It launches July 8 and includes television and radio specials, weekly radio reports, related national programming and a dedicated website,

“KERA has a long tradition of providing valuable and timely information to the community we serve, and nothing is more relevant to our viewers and listeners right now than the economy and how it affects their lives,” said Mary Anne Alhadeff, KERA president and CEO. “Through our reporting, programming, website and outreach efforts, we’ll be able to connect people who are in need of help to the services and resources that are available to them.”

To ensure that the information reaches those who need it, KERA has established a Community Advisory Group of representatives from three dozen area agencies. A goal of the project is to increase awareness of “2-1-1 Texas,” a service of the Health and Human Service Commission’s Texas Information and Referral Network that provides free information on services. Residents throughout the state can dial 2-1-1 seven days a week, 24 hours a day, and receive information in more than 90 languages.

Programming on KERA-FM

The first in a series of weekly reports focusing on how North Texans are faring in the volatile economy airs on KERA-FM Wednesday, July 8, during Morning Edition. The series will examine available resources and help listeners faced with financial challenges. In the initial segment, reporter Bill Zeeble explains how the “2-1-1 Texas” referral network can connect North Texans to the specific resources they need.

Beginning July 13, the reports will be broadcast every Monday during the 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. hours of Morning Edition. Subsequent news reports will provide information on avoiding home foreclose, take listeners inside the Texas Workforce Commission to explore its services and the process for collecting unemployment benefits, and report on evictions in North Texas and where families can turn for help.

Other related programming on KERA-FM includes special editions of Think. In the first program broadcast Thursday, July 9, from noon to 2 p.m., host Krys Boyd will lead a discussion on housing issues in North Texas, followed by an interview with Alyssa Katz, author of the new book, Our Lot: How Real Estate Came to Own Us.

Anything You Ever Wanted to Know, with host Jeff Whittington, will begin taking economy-related listener questions Friday, July 10, from noon to 1 p.m. for inclusion in periodic show segments related to the project.

Programming on KERA-TV Channel 13.1

KERA-TV’s programming focusing on economic issues begins Wednesday, July 8, at 9 p.m. with The Ascent of Money. The four-part public television series hosted by historian Niall Ferguson traces the origins of today’s economic crisis through the history of economics.

Friday, July 10, at 7:30 p.m., the television edition of Think will be dedicated to the issue. Host Krys Boyd and local experts will discuss how to stay ahead of foreclosure by offering helpful hints to first-time home buyers. The program will be rebroadcast Sunday, July 12, at 11:30 a.m. and Monday, July 13, at 10:30 p.m.

On Wednesday, July 22, at 8 p.m., KERA-TV broadcasts The Economy: Facing the Mortgage Crisis. This hour-long program examines the impact that unemployment and the recession are having on the lives of North Texans.

Hosts Sam Baker and Shelley Kofler will lead discussions with a HUD-approved housing counselor, a representative from the lending industry and other experts. The hour-long special, which will be simulcast on KERA-FM, will incorporate questions from citizens undergoing tough economic challenges. Questions will be taken in advance for consideration during the television program at

In addition to studio discussions, the program will include taped reports to help viewers understand the complicated process of foreclosure and promote awareness of the “2-1-1 Texas” referral network to connect families in need with community resources. The Economy: Facing the Mortgage Crisis will be rebroadcast Sunday, July 26, at 2 p.m.

Additional programming will air on KERA-TV throughout September. Coping With Economic Insecurity on Wednesday, September 9, at 7 p.m., is targeted to families with young children and features a Muppet family coping with the ups and downs of these uncertain economic times. Your Life, Your Money follows at 8 p.m. and is designed to raise financial literacy among 18- to 24-year-olds. Retirement Revolution: The New Reality on Tuesday, September 15, at 9 p.m. offers light-hearted stories on self-defense and second careers as well as solid advice about money, health and Medicare.

KERA’s The Economy website

A key component of KERA’s economy initiative is a dedicated website that links to community resources related to mortgage assistance, employment, job fairs and more. The site, which also launches July 8, will feature radio reports, video, blogs, community events calendars, community voices and helpful advice from professionals. It will initially focus on the mortgage crisis and unemployment and will grow in phases to offer comprehensive information to link local residents to community resources.

Facing the Mortgage Crisis is part of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s Public Service Media Economic Response Initiative.

KERA’s Community Advisory Group for The Economy project includes ACORN Housing, BCL of Texas, Catholic Charities, CCCS of Greater Dallas, CCCS of North Central Texas, Central Dallas Ministries, ChildCareGroup, Children’s Medical Center, Community Council of Greater Dallas, Dallas After-School Network, Dallas Concilio, Enterprise Community Partners, Fannie Mae, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Freddie Mac, Goodwill Industries of Greater Dallas, Head Start of Greater Dallas, Housing Crisis Center, HUD, Jordan Community Development Corp., Money Management International, North Texas Food Bank, North Texas Housing Coalition, Northeast Texas 2-1-1, Parkland Hospital, Salvation Army, Holy Trinity Center, Tarrant Area Food Bank, Tarrant County Housing Partnership, Texoma Area 2-1-1, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, United Way of Tarrant County, Urban League, Workforce Solutions and YWCA of Dallas.

Source: KERA


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