Utah public broadcasters have joined together in a unique collaboration to inform voters statewide about candidates and issues. Working together under the banner of VoteUtah 2012, the innovative project represents a balanced, informative commitment to explore the political process and provide avenues for citizen engagement.
KUED-Channel 7, KBYU-Channel 11 and the Utah Education Network have teamed with public radio stations KUER-FM-90.1, Classical 89/KBYU FM, KCPW-Salt Lake City, KPCW-Park City, Utah Public Radio, KZMU-Moab, KCEC-TV St. George and KXDS 91.3 St. George.
“This is a collaboration of public broadcasters to serve voters,” says KUED Production Director Ken Verdoia. “Each of us has public service as our primary mission. We’re conducting a major initiative for the people we serve. It shows the engagement and durability of public broadcasting.”
“Eleven, KBYU-TV and KBYU-FM/Classical 89 are honored to be participating with KUED and KUEN as well as Utah's other public broadcasters in the Vote Utah 2012 collaboration,” says KBYU General Manager Derek Marquis. “Through the television, radio and online offerings on the candidates and the issues this election season, our hope is that Utahns will be in a better position to raise their individual and collective voices as informed and active participants in this great democratic process.”
The VoteUtah partnership will produce the only televised debates for governor and for U.S. Senate in Utah. KUED will produce an hour-long gubernatorial debate between incumbent Gary Herbert and Democrat Peter Cook, to be simulcast Thursday, October 11 at 9:00 p.m. on KUED, KBYU, KUEN, Utah Public Radio and KXDS-St. George. KBYU-FM, Classical 89 will air the debate Thursday, October 11 at 8:00 p.m. and KCPW-Salt Lake City Thursday at 6:00 p.m.; KUER and KPCW-Park City will air debate excerpts in news and public affairs programming. The debate will be moderated by KUED’s Ken Verdoia.
The debate for U.S. Senate in Utah will be simulcast on KUED, KBYU and KUEN Wednesday, October 17 at 9:00 p.m. The hour-long debate between incumbent Orrin Hatch and Democratic challenger Scott Howell will be hosted by BYU Political Science Professor David Magleby and produced at the BYU Broadcasting studios. The VoteUtah public broadcasting partnership will provide a direct media pool to all Utah print and broadcast media.
"Debates provide unfiltered access to candidates on the issues shaping our lives," says KUED's Ken Verdoia. "They are an essential tool for voters. As public broadcasters, we are proud to provide this service to Utah."
KBYU’s live election night coverage, which features exit polling and candidate coverage, will be hosted by Verdoia and Magleby, who has offered years of comprehensive exit polling to accurately forecast the outcome of Utah’s elections. The coverage will be streamed on voteutah.org.
A central element of the VoteUtah collaboration is the website, VoteUtah.org, which includes information on all candidates for office in Utah, from those running for Senate, Congressional and gubernatorial seats to state legislative and school district candidates. The site also contains registration and voting district information and links, candidate free speech spots, voter information spots, Utah political minutes, as well as streaming of televised debates. In addition, the website serves as a repository for election reports and coverage from participating stations.
"KPCW is thrilled to be participating in the VoteUtah 2012 collaboration with Utah's broadcasters," says Park City’s KPCW News Director Leslie Thatcher. "This project will provide information on the candidates and issues through the state's public radio and TV stations, as well as a strong online presence. We hope to raise awareness and enable Utahns to better participate in the democratic process."
KUED has also produced a series of three-minute candidate free speech messages, giving all ballot-qualified candidates for governor, U.S. Senate and the four congressional races three minutes in which to present their message to the public. Stations in the VoteUtah 2012 collaboration can broadcast the messages in regularly selected time slots in the weeks leading up to the Friday before the general election. KUED also has produced “Utah Political Minutes,” featuring human interest, historical moments from Utah’s political history.
KBYU has produced a series of “Voter Information Spots,” designed to inform voters about the political process in Utah, encourage participation and provide information on voter registration, redistricting, open and closed primaries, the roll of polling and statistics, the caucus process and why voter turnout in Utah is so low. KBYU also will produce short information segments on ballot components.
Utah Education Network with its connection to schools statewide is creating and distributing educational material for the project. “It’s important to connect teens and young adults with VoteUtah 2012,” explains Laura Hunter, UEN’s Chief Content Officer. “They are very interested in community issues and can contribute to the civic dialog in a constructive way that benefits all of us.”
Support for VoteUtah 2012 on KUED comes from a generous grant from the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation. Additional support is provided by Comcast.
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