Monday, May 14, 2007

In Praise of WMUB

As an alumnus of Miami University, I first became acquainted with WMUB as I searched for something better on the radio dial as I traveled a half hour to work in Colerain.  The music stations repeated the same music everyday, and I quickly found myself looking for something on the radio to engage my brain as I drove.
That was when I found WMUB.  I knew right away I had caught All Things Considered, the theme music and hosts' voices hadn't changed much from when I listened as a young boy traveling in the car with my dad.  He and I listened to Car Talk on Saturday mornings, memories I cherish fondly.  But as a youth I found the rest of what NPR offered to be dry and uninteresting to a boy of eight, and thusly vowed never to listen to NPR, even when I grew up and became capable of understanding the depth of what NPR offered.
When I first heard WMUB, I turned to another station.  In the back of my head I heard my tenth grade English teacher quoting Sophecles, "the unexamined life in not worth living."  So I re-examined my stance on NPR and turned the dial back.  When I got to work, I saved the station on my car's stereo.  It is now the first station I tune whenever I get a new car.
WMUB not only brought me news on politics inside of Washington, D.C., but it made me a member of the world at large, and at the same time, the community in which I lived.  At the eastern edge of Springfield I usually lose WMUB's signal.  Over the past ten years as I've traveled from my native home in Cleveland to the Miami Valley, I've grown accustomed to being disappointed that I couldn't finish listening to a story as I drove towards Cleveland.  On the return trip, I couldn't wait to hear what conversation or interesting story I was about to pick up in the middle.
However, as this committee's purpose is to review WMUB's place in the Miami Valley, I must advocate heartily the necessary role WMUB plays.  For every county that WMUB touches, they cover the news there.  It was WMUB that made me feel like I had become part of the community of the Cincinnati/Dayton region, and not some Cleveland boy lost in the sometimes foreign end of the state.
During this past November election season, I leaned heavily on WMUB to keep me informed on the controversial issues of gambling, minimum wage, and smoking bans.  The forums they put together with the Dayton Daily News were by far the best pieces of reporting and community service of any television, print, or radio medium I have ever encountered.  By producing the election forums and carrying candidate debates from Cleveland's City Club, WMUB made me more informed for that election than any I had voted in before.  That series alone should earn them the respect and support of my beloved alma mater.
WMUB has become a voice of reason in an age of over the top, yelling and myopic radio.  They truly live the purpose of public radio, and should be emulated.  Cutting funding for such a voice silences our community, our protests, our learning.  Other radio stations in the area have moved to a format that WMUB pioneered in our corner of the state.  I urge you to not jeopardize that, and keep WMUB a strong voice for the rest of us. 
Over the past ten years Miami has tried to sharpen it's image as a premier center of learning for the entire country.  WMUB continues that mission into the communities of southwest Ohio.  What greater mission and ambassador can Miami have?
--Robert Lavezzi


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