Wednesday, June 06, 2007

WMUB is "the Miami station"

Supporting a public radio station may, in the light of tight university budgets each year, seem to represent an area on the margins of the university's mission and therefore susceptible to cuts in funding—a move you are considering at the moment.

I urge you to examine the broader impact of the station's connection to Miami University on the community. WMUB is referred to by those whom I know in Dayton as "the Miami station," distinguishing it from the "Yellow Springs station," for example, and tying it inexorably to the image of the university. In enlarging the community's knowledge of and appreciation for MU, the station does a service that cannot be measured—in many ways like any PR effort that the university may expend. 

Here's an example of its far-reaching touch. In last spring's fund drive (2006), I heard Cleve Callison announce that as a Medievalist, he would agree to recite part of the Prologue to Canterbury Tales in its original Middle English for a donation of a certain level. I took him at his word, and invited him to my classroom at Miami Valley School, Dayton, to do such a recitation. While his original intent had been to read the Prologue piece on the air, he nonetheless agreed to visit my class, and to provide an extraordinary session related to the development of our language. My students, though they knew he was the general manager of WMUB, saw him as a representative of the university, referring to him informally aftwerwards as "that guy from Miami." Their association clearly provided a positive view of MU, perhaps even inspiring some to consider applying for admission to a university with such stimulating people associated with it. 

It goes without saying that the programming provided by WMUB is the best in the area. We often brag to our son in Washington, DC that we have broader NPR programming than is available to him in that center of government. My husband and I listen almost exclusively to 88.5, although "the Yellow Springs station" may seem to be the most logical choice for someone living in Dayton. We appreciate the local programming and especially the wider reaches of Terry Gross, Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Day to Day, and others. 

I hope that you will continue to provide the level of funding that has given us such outstanding programming. The mission of Miami University is one of education, and certainly bringing NPR to the wider community represents a key part of this mission. 

--Barbara A. Cleary, Ph.D., Miami Valley School, Dayton


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