Tuesday, May 08, 2007

WMUB & the MU Mission

I am writing with a few ideas about better connecting WMUB to the mission of Miami University. As an Oxford area resident and constant listener, I take it as a given that WMUB provides high-quality programming and much value to the community. Of course Miami should continue its relationship with WMUB. However, as a Miami professor I do perceive four ways that WMUB can do a better job of supporting Miami's mission.

(1) Provide more opportunities for students. WMUB already provides some great opportunities for students as engineers, journalists, and (occasionally) on air personalities. There could be more shows using students like Almost Monday that are created by Miami students for typical WMUB listeners. WMUB could also partner with Miami professors to develop a capstone course were students produce radio documentaries, the best of which would be aired on WMUB.

(2) Provide more avenues for faculty to talk about their research and scholarship. Currently Miami professors are heard on WMUB expressing their political opinions in commentaries but rarely their expertise. The Help Desk format is successful and could be used with other topics using Miami professors. Author-interviews, round table discussions, and the audio essay format could all be used to better inform the WMUB listening audience by tapping into local expertise at Miami.

(3) Help recruit students by expanding the reputation of Miami University. As WMUB has recognized how many listeners live in the Dayton area there has been expanded coverage of the Miami Valley. This is reasonable, but at times WMUB has left Miami out of the equation. For example, when WMUB brought Garrison Keillor and A Prairie Home Companion to the area he broadcast from Kettering rather than the Miami campus here in Oxford. Miami lost an opportunity to showcase our university on a national stage. I don't think WMUB should feel obligated to give other colleges equal time.

(4) Help faculty stay in Oxford by focusing more on Oxford community issues. Miami faculty have been increasingly living outside of Oxford in recent years and this has become an issue for the university. WMUB is one of only two news organs focusing on Oxford (The Oxford Press is the other) yet local coverage is increasingly divided with surrounding communities. More attention to local issues (e.g. the proposed expansion of roads, vacant houses in the Mile Square, local traffic and High School and Miami sports) would better serve the community, and help better connect Miami faculty to Oxford.

I am a big fan of WMUB and would like to see Miami strengthen its commitment to the station. The purpose of these suggestions is to help the station by increasing its contribution to the university's mission. Thanks for considering these ideas.

–Christopher R. Wolfe, Ph.D., Oxford


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