Monday, November 05, 2007

Teaching is WMUB's most important role

I got my start in public radio at WMUB.  I graduated from the Western College Program in 1994.  I started as a board op and worked my way up to music host and reporter there.  I remember keenly bolting across the quad, tape deck in tow, to ask then Vice President Al Gore a question during the '92 campaign.  I remember working overnights at WMUB, hyped up on Vivarin and cigarettes (you could smoke in the building then).  I remember hanging out with Mama Jazz listening to Lionel Hampton like he was playing there live.  

Frankly, without my experience at WMUB, I would not be where I am today.  That's where I discovered my calling, being a public radio reporter.  I'm writing because I heard your story on-line about the report on the future of WMUB.  I understand the difficulty the station has, being close to Dayton and Cincinnati, while not fully penetrating the markets there.  The problem was apparent even back when I was there.  

In your interview, Richard Campbell mentioned to possibility of linking the station more closely to the Journalism program.  It seems to me that would the best strategy.  As you well know, radio is a craft you learn on the job.  It's not something you learn in the classroom.  Have they looked into the idea of being a regional training hub for current public radio reporters?  Miami would have great facilities for that and it would give the station a role in the larger world of public radio.  What about fellowships for mid-career public radio reporters?  What about NPR trainings and meetings?  That would connect people in the business with the students.  And above all, getting the students on the air will better fulfill the university's mission to educate.

I know these are issues you and the WMUB committee have explored.  But I wanted to make my voice heard in some way.  I would hate for my experience -- learning the thrill of public radio on the job at a young age -- to be a thing of the past.  To me, since the station is owned by a university, teaching is WMUB's most important role.  Let me know if there is anything I can do to help.  

--Colin Fogarty, Oregon Public Broadcasting Reporter


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