The ability to receive online instruction and complete online schoolwork is one more resource critical to living with a pandemic, but a digital divide threatened access to that resource for some in Chattanooga, until HCS EdConnect showed up to build a bridge.
HCS EdConnect is the first-of-its-kind initiative announced in July between Hamilton County Schools and EPB to bring no-cost, high-speed internet to any household with a child eligible for free or reduced-cost school lunch. The service will help about 28,500 students in Hamilton County Schools at no charge to their families.
Now, WUTC-FM is joining the many Chattanooga entities stepping up to support HCS EdConnect by making the initiative its partner beneficiary in Tuesday’s one-day pledge event. The radio station has set a $10,000 fundraising goal for that day and will give 10% of proceeds to help HCS EdConnect.
“We’re proud to be affiliated with NPR for the depth and quality of the news it delivers, but we’re also proud of our listeners for their commitment to not only being informed citizens, but good citizens who care about our community,” said WUTC Station Manager Bryan Lane. “They showed that in a big way during our one-day pledge drive in September, when our listeners were responsible for our ability to give $3,000—or 10% of proceeds—to the Chattanooga Area Food Bank, our partner beneficiary in that event.
“We know that our listeners, as are most NPR listeners, are cause-minded and we believe the important cause of overcoming obstacles the COVID-19 pandemic puts in the way of K-12 education is one that our listeners can get behind.
“It’s also understood by the entire WUTC team that a lot of uncertainty continues to face people in our community as their businesses, workplaces or loved ones are affected by COVID. We realize this won’t be the time for some to make a contribution. We’re understanding of that, and we’re also very grateful for the willingness of those who can choose to make a contribution.”
Listeners can make pledges during the one-day, Nov. 17 event, or they can go online to www.wutc.org anytime.
Multiple companies and Chattanooga-area employers including Unum, Hartford and IBM will match employee gifts to WUTC. Listeners are encouraged to check with their employers for the possibility of matching gifts.
WUTC is the source of music programming featuring local favorite Richard Winham and talk and information on all things past and present-day Chattanooga with Ray Bassett on “Scenic Roots.” Operating on the campus of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, WUTC also is a place of learning and employment for UTC students.
WUTC 88.1 FM is a public-service, nonprofit organization licensed to UTC. In addition to analog radio, both WUTC and WUTC-2 HD can be heard online and via the WUTC app available in the Google Play and App stores.