Monday, May 14, 2007

WMUB Testimonial.doc

I feel strongly about the quality and importance of WMUB and Miami University's responsibility to support it, as elaborated on below.

The mission of Miami University is to preserve, add to, evaluate, and transmit the accumulated knowledge of the centuries; to develop critical thinking, extend the frontiers of knowledge, and serve society; and to provide an environment conducive to effective and inspired teaching and learning, promote professional development of faculty, and encourage scholarly research and creativity of faculty and students.  (as posted on Miami University's web site)

How does WMUB complement Miami University's mission statement?  Maybe the question should be, how doesn't it? 

As I write this I'm streaming the programming audio and listening to Rick Steves.  When this program was added, I wondered how a host associated with television could be effective on radio.  It didn't take long to determine that the radio program may be more educational than the public television video.  Rick enlightens listeners in history, politics, and culture, with vivid word pictures of the week's chosen destination.

Then there are the expected NPR offerings:  Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition Saturday and Sunday.  If there is a contemporary of Scott Simon who brings more to the airwaves, I've yet to find him or her.  His use of the language, broad-based knowledge, inquisitive nature, and expressive voice reach out, pull you in, and wrap you in his love for the subject – and the audience.  The eclectic yet purposeful mix of news and features in all of these flagship NPR productions certainly augments Miami's mission in prompting critical thinking, extending knowledge and promoting a learning atmosphere that inspires further research.

And the daytime intelligent talk programs.  My education at Miami impressed upon me the need to listen to ideas whether I agree with them or not.  How can I know what I truly believe and subject my beliefs to enlightened evolution if I don't listen to the beliefs of others?  In practice this isn't easy and I've not fully mastered it.  Ideas wafting out of my radio or computer speakers may upset, disturb, anger, infuriate; and they can soothe, amuse, comfort, make me nod in agreement, and prod action.

All of WMUB's 9:00 a.m. programs are worthy of a listen.  They pattern the NPR standard of thought-provoking, informative and entertaining programming.  Miami University should be proud of these productions and their highly effective hosts, contributors and staff.  The addition on Saturdays of 90 seconds of cooking advice is refined as tightly as a haiku poem.  Mary Jo McMillin makes me want to eat her cuisine, try her recipes and buy her book as she celebrates food and cooking.  And I must add appreciation for the Writer's Almanac.  Garrison Keillor makes every English major stand taller and simultaneously melt from the beauty of our language accompanied by reminders of its celebrated craftspersons.

Now add high caliber entertainment:  Prairie Home Companion, Whad'ya You Know, Car Talk, and the occasional Capitol Steps interludes.  I've learned a lot about cars from Tom and Ray – components, mechanics, styles, brands – all the while chuckling as I go about chores scheduled around the Saturday morning line-up.  Even Mama Jazz educates while she entertains.  Is Mama Jazz unique?  Yes, in the purest meaning of the word.  And does education in jazz have value?  Certainly, if you value American culture and this uniquely American contribution to the world's arts.

My work as an adjunct instructor at a local community college is an outlet for my passion for continuing education and life-long learning.  How else are we going to take care of ourselves in this ever-changing world, the society in which we live, the democracy we enjoy, our country, and the shrinking planet?  In my experience nothing is as fulfilling, uplifting or comforting as learning and achievement, even on the most basic levels.

WMUB makes me proud of the degree Miami University conferred upon me numerous moons ago.  Now I ask MiamiUniversity to make me proud of its support of WMUB.  Miami is known as the cradle of coaches.  A complementary reputation (arguably more socially relevant) could be nursery of quality broadcasters.  There is a golden opportunity here.  The foundation is solid.  A number of WMUB alums have moved into noteworthy careers in broadcasting.  Their ranks could be increased.  In terms of public service, quality news presentation with integrity is a highly important component of democracy.  Our country's founders saw its value and listed freedom of the press on its short list of ingredients in this social experiment.

Miami is committed to serve the community, state, and nation. I strongly believe that the mission and responsibility of all educators extends beyond the undergraduate to all who have attended the school, and perhaps more importantly, those who haven't.  In Miami's case, Ohio taxpayer support makes the university's pubic responsibility even more compelling.

WMUB is a treasure.  Under no circumstances starve it.  Celebrate, augment, support and nourish it. 

--Gail [Fetter] Moeller, Centerville, Ohio


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