Susi Elkins: Evolving WKAR’s mission to “serve, educate, inspire, and entertain” in the digital age

Mar 8, 2018

Susi Elkins is director of broadcasting and general manager of WKAR Public Media at Michigan State University. She was named to her current position in March of 2017.

“I’ve really spent the year trying to listen and learn as much as I can and help that shape our future and where we’re headed,” says Elkins.

She says it’s a great time to be in broadcasting, in part due to the many different ways the audience can consume WKAR content in 2018.

“That means to me that we follow our mission to serve, educate, inspire and entertain” even more ardently. “It’s less about figuring out the program schedule and determining when people will hear or watch something and more about thinking about each member of our audience as individuals and providing choices and options for them in content and information.”

The challenges ahead for media organizations mostly all involve serving audiences. “It’s understanding them and understanding what they’re interested in.”

Elkins describes how her team goes about leveraging WKAR programming behind the scenes “to make it as useful as possible.” Examples include the successful launch of WKAR Family, the WKAR app, and the national growth for the Curious Crew program.

Elkins holds a bachelor's degree in telecommunication and a master's degree in educational technology, both from MSU. She tells how it was WKAR that drew her to MSU.

She believes it’s a great time for students to be entering the communications field. And she talks about collaborating with MSU researchers and the Lansing School District through the PBS KIDS Playtime Pad.

“What I hope most people know about WKAR is that, first and foremost, we’re here for the community. And everything we do involves thinking about what our audience needs or would like us to be doing for them.”

MSU Today airs Sunday afternoons at 4:00 on 105.1 FM and AM 870.