Applicant Details & Scoring

ARC State Program Manager Comments

Back to List of Applicants


Upper Cumberland Broadcast Council WCTE-TV

Total Qualifying Score: 6
County (ARC Region): Yes
State (ARC Region): Yes
Q3. IRS Status: Nonprofit – 2
Q4. Parent Entity: No – 1
Q5. 2 or More Full-Time Employees : Yes (as of 12/31/2019)
Q7. Budget Level: Above $1.5 million up to $3 million – 2 (Last Fiscal Year Actual Income)
Q8. Restricted Reserves: Yes – 0
Q9. CARES Act Funding: No – 1
Q13. Participation by Executive: Yes


Upper Cumberland Broadcast Council WCTE-TV
Cookeville, Putnam County, Tennessee 38501

County (ARC Region) Putnam
State (ARC Region) Tennessee


Q1. Mission:

WCTE exists to establish life long learning and cultural storytelling by connecting the Upper Cumberland to the world and the world to the region.



Q2. How organization aligns with ARC’s Plan & Goals:

2. Education and knowledge is one of two cornerstones of WCTE’s mission. We believe this should be available to everyone in our region, especially the underserved and unserved. This is why we persist in maintaining a costly antenna broadcast in order to reach those who have no other access to quality programming, including children and the elderly. We understand that early childhood literacy builds the foundation for workforce readiness, which is why we participate in proven programming, such as the Ready to Learn program, that supports not only students but their parents and educators to elevate the education level across the Upper Cumberland. For the elderly, we understand the need for lifelong learning and supporting the highest quality of life possible for those with limited resources late in life.

4. Cultural storytelling is the other cornerstone of WCTE’s mission. With four channels broadcast, WCTE, PBS Kids, World, and Create, we broadcast stories of the Upper Cumberland to leverage our natural beauty, history, culture, talent, and economic assets in the interest of greater economic vitality for the region. Some of our channels are now available on cable or streaming for 24/7 access and increased visibility in larger markets, such as Nashville and Murfreesboro to expand awareness and possibilities for investment.

5. Recently, WCTE was instrumental in creating a collaboration between WCTE,  Tennessee Technological University’s Center for Rural Innovation, The Biz Foundry (The Upper Cumberland’s small business accelerator), and the Small Business Development Center to create the Local Business Resource Collective, a comprehensive resource to help any aspiring, new, or existing business with the connections and resources they need to survive and thrive.

Q3. IRS Filing Status: 501(c)(3)   

Q4. Unit or Chapter of Larger Organization: No

Q5. Employees:

Full-Time/Part-Time Employees: 17/8 (as of 9/1/2020)

Full-Time/Part-Time Employees: 17/8 (as of 12/31/2019)

Current Year Income/Expenses: $2,295,955/$2,251,370

Q6. Fiscal Year: July-June

Q7. Budget Level

Last Fiscal Year Income/Expenses (Actual): $2,188,291 / $2,388,291

Current Year Income/Expenses (Projected): $2,295,955 / $2,251,370

Q8. Restricted Reserves (Amount): Yes ($0)

Q9. CARES Act Funding (Amount): No ($0)
Received From:   Date Received:
For What Purpose(s):

Q10. Negative Impacts from COVID-19:

WCTE- TV has acutely felt the effects of this pandemic. We have an extremely lean operation. PBS’ definition of a small station has a $5 million or less budget. However, our budget is only $2 million while maintaining our status as a “model small station”. We aim and deliver high with very little resources, so when those resources are compromised, we definitely experience setbacks. Stemming from the sudden economic crisis, we experienced loss of revenue in memberships, events, as well as corporate and private donations. That funding is crucial to our operations. 


Many events were cancelled or postponed and others were completely revamped. This caused inefficiencies in planning. Due to remote working conditions, our collaboration was slower and less fluid than usual. Promotions were also delayed or less than normal due to the changing guidelines and uncertainty of being able to host the event or the cost of such promotions. This has led to lower than normal revenues. 

Considering non-monetary effects, remote working and normal turnover has had an effect on our cohesiveness and smooth operations as a team. As a non-profit, we cannot offer competitive wages, so recruitment and retention is always a challenge and more so in the current environment, yet a crucial component to our success. A successful, reimagined, sustainable fundraising strategy would help us to maintain a talented team receiving competitive wages. 


Q11. Top Three Concerns:
The lost of revenue from the pandemic would be our most pressing concern. Though we are fiscally sound, we run a lean operation so sudden changes, especially across the board in many of our main funding sources, have a noticeable impact. Events are an important part of engagement in our communities. The pandemic has resulted in a lower than normal, or intended, fulfillment of our mission across the region due to fewer in-person engagement events. This poses a potential threat for future revenue growth in those areas.
Maintenance is another ongoing concern. Our broadcast tower is 40 years old. It is in need of an upgrade and needing increasing maintenance. We must keep it painted to prevent rusting and decay, which is $30,000 each round. Due to the age of the tower, we are maximized on how many attachments we can include. These attachments from other companies using the tower is an important source of revenue, one which is limited now that we’ve reached max capacity.
Recruitment and retention of talented employees is another concern. Our mission and positive public relations attract talented, creative individuals. We invest in their knowledge and skills, but they are often enticed by more competitive wages. We commonly offer many professional development opportunities, benefits, and offer flexible work schedules and spaces. However, we believe competitive wages would help to retain more talent.

How Participation in Program Will Address Concerns:

We chose fundraising as our main concern. We believe building an innovative, sustainable fundraising strategy would help to alleviate or lessen many of these concerns.

We hope to continue to adjust with innovative ideas on how to host events as the pandemic continues and engage the communities we serve throughout the region.

With a strong fundraising plan, we could better weather maintenance issues. Our financial manager would be able to plan for the replacement of this tower if we had a fundraising strategy in place for its replacement.

With a sustainable fundraising strategy, we could eventually begin to offer more competitive wages to retain the talent we attract.

These same points could potentially be addressed with training in operations, our second choice. Perhaps we could find more efficient ways to perform our duties that could make the best use of the funding we have and will continue to build in the future.

In either case, we recognize the benefit of outside perspective on our operations and welcome the insight.


Q12. Applying as a Proposed Cohort? No

Q13. Executive Director or CEO Will Participate in the Program? Yes

Q14. Top Two Choices for Cohort Instruction:

Course #1 Choice: 1-Fundraising

Course #2 Choice: 2-Mission & Operations

Q15. Desired Course Schedule for Cohort Instruction:

#1 Desired Course Schedule: 1-Fall 2020: 6-Week Course (Nov. 9, 2020 – Dec. 18, 2020)

#2 Desired Course Schedule: 2-Fall 2020: 11-Week Course (Nov. 9, 2020 -Jan. 24, 2021)


Name: Mandy Eller, Grant Writer

Application Approved by Organization Director or CEO? Yes, Approved by Executive Director/CEO

ARC State Program Managers Review
ARC State Program Managers: Please use the form below to submit your comments regarding this applicant.
(This is a read-only field displaying the name of the applicant organization you are reviewing)
(Select your name from the drop-down field above)