Paper clips and straws.

With two days left in the NIPR GM office, there are important tasks that I’ve had to do. You know, like borrow a truck to haul home the big pictures on the walls that won’t fit into my car; make sure people who might want to find me can do that; empty out the email box and the stash of files on my desk.  And make good notes about projects, programs, fundraisers, and grants in progress (and a few mistakes that will need to be corrected –  sorry, new guy/girl).  That kind of stuff.

But there are some other things to do, things that should be done at the close of any adventure.  Things like taking stock of lessons learned and perhaps taught.  Big ones both ways here, I think.  I’ve learned about radio, its programming, its ethos, its audience, its challenges, and its unparalleled role in the life of a community.  I’ve learned that a positive attitude can overcome difficult odds and begin to turn the Titanic in a bathtub – not just my attitude, but the attitude of a remarkable staff, a dedicated board, and an invested community. I’ve learned that naysayers and bitter people do take a huge toll over time, but that focusing on those who can offer criticism in a constructive, building-up sort of way and those who cheer along side can keep you from getting utterly discouraged and overwhelmed (thank you, cheerleaders). And I’ve learned that the attitude of the people on your bus matters every bit as much as their skill set and experience.

One of the last tasks I’ve undertaken here is to do brief “evaluations” of each staff person on this bus.  They are not meant to be the nit-picking kind of evaluation where I talk about areas for improvement, five-year growth plans, or how many times somebody was late in the last year.  They are affirmations of these fine folks – of the contribution they make day in and day out to make sure public radio continues to enrich this wide community.  They are encouragements — hey, this has not been an easy two years but we’ve worked hard together.  They are advice about adjusting to another GM – patience, patience, patience, and positive, joyful expectations – and a vision of how great it will be to have someone who knows so much more than me about this industry. They are a huge “thanks” to each of these people, those who have been here for a good long time and those who’ve recently joined the crew, for hopping on this bus and not just riding along, but peddling, pushing, praying us forward.  It has been a most pleasant task to have these final conversations.  I love these people.

And so with a few final notes to people who continue to give dollars when it counts and encouragement when it’s needed, I wrap it up.

And yes, I have taken care of the thousand or so paper clips in the drawer (I always unclip things, throw the paper clips in the drawer and now have enough accumulated to supply NIPR for two years) and the stash of straws that I have collected to make certain I never ever have to drink a Diet Coke without a straw.  No trace that an unclipping Diet Coke addict occupied this space.  Room for someone new with better habits to come in and make the space their own.

I do hope they will blog a bit.

And I know the friends of these stations will continue to make your voices heard, share ideas and concerns, give a few bucks when you can, and encourage others to become invested in public radio.  When all is said and done, and it just about is for me, I couldn’t be more optimistic about the future of NIPR.  Going forward is absolutely the only acceptable direction.  Onward!

Thanks for listening, for reading, for putting in your two cents from time to time.

Peace out.




Filed under Changes, Good Times, The Team

Don’t blog and drive.

No time to blog when you’re pledge driving, folks.  We had a great week of on-air activity and a good week of all the follow up that has to happen.  Thanks, really, to all of you who pledged and supported and watched us dodge bullets during that challenging week.  We ended up in a pretty good place, although we’re always, even in a successful drive, far short of what it takes to run this organization until the next drive.  It’s a strange fund raising model, but it’s the one that seems to work for pub radio.

If you were following the news, you won’t be surprised that we heard from a lot more people than usual during this drive, as far as people calling in for reasons other than to pledge.  The Juan Williams story sparked lots of comments and I’m glad people feel free to weigh in on these difficult issues.  I especially appreciate folks to called in to voice disapproval, but let us know that they would continue to support this, the local station.  And I even had space for members who said they just didn’t feel like they could financially support us at this time, but voiced their concerns with civility.

I didn’t especially appreciate the rude, threatening people who vowed to never give us another dime, to see to it that I personally was taken down along with the station, and to make certain that public media never received another cent of federal funding.  Almost without exception, those calls, the hysterically angry, threatening calls were from people who’d never given us a dime to start with, and most of them, I’m pretty sure, had never listened either.

That sort of activity takes a lot of energy and pledge drive takes a pretty fair amount of energy all on its own, so we were a tired bunch when the week ended.  But we were, when all was said and done, extremely proud to be working for such a decent group of listeners and contributors.

You get it and for that we are grateful.

And we’re grateful for every pledge made, every encouraging comment, and every show of support for local programming and national offerings, for every suggestion as to how we can better serve this community, and for every “atta girl” and “atta boy” that came our way.

It was a little weird to think about this being my last pledge drive as an official member of this crew.  Early in the week I was pretty emotional about that, because, really, I’ve loved pledge drives.  By the end of the week, I was of a little different mind set, but still just so grateful for the opportunity to have worked with this awesome staff and our faithful listeners.

Thanks for your part in making it a great drive – your gifts, your time on the phones, treats and goodies brought in, and good thoughts and encouragement.  It all matters more than you might think.




P. S.  I suspect there will continue to be a great deal of discussion about the funding of NPR and of local public radio (and television).  For an informative article, might I suggest “Why NPR Matters”, published in The Atlantic?

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Some days around here seem sort of like Dancing with the Stars.  Without the stars, I guess.  Dancing with ordinary people, maybe.

We come out (sans costumes, most days), we learn new things, we make mistakes (which everybody hears), we help each other, we do our best, we try to follow the music that’s going on around us.  We don’t always get all tens, but we dance.

In the last few days, we’ve broadcast political debates, launched a fabulous new music show, sifted through news from around the world, produced a week’s worth of lunch time talk, wrote and recorded promos about our upcoming pledge drive, installed an entirely new way of recording pledges from our great listeners, christened a web redesign that has involved changing almost everything about everything, interviewed PHIL Music Director Andrew Constantine, shared information about bed bugs, handled a few complaints, accepted some awesome compliments and encouragements, partnered with some new businesses, and thought more creative thoughts than could be listed.

It’s a really good kind of dancing, certainly more cha cha than Viennese Waltz, seems to me.  And we do go home tired some nights, or discouraged that everything didn’t go quite right, or that we added something new that isn’t doing exactly what we thought it would do.  But I will tell you this, when things here don’t go quite right, you can be very sure, it isn’t because people aren’t trying.  And we are not standing still.

We start our fall pledge drive on Saturday, this Saturday, and pledge drive is the time when I think the dancing is the most beautiful.  It’s a ton of work, especially for membership manager David Hunter and also for Lea Denny, who coordinates volunteers (and just about everything else) and program director Kevin Kreigh, who has to make sure everything gets plugged into the right spot at the right time, and for engineer Ed Didier, who has to make sure that all the things that literally have to be plugged in are running smoothly.  So, it’s work for everybody.

But the spirit here during pledge drive is just incredible.  One, because we know we can count on each other, and we do, and we know it will all get done and be good.  Because we do not want to let each other – or you, listeners – down.

Secondly, and most importantly, it’s incredible because we know we can count on the listeners, on you.  It’s a busy time but we’re not overly stressed once we get started, because we know those phones are going to ring (and that web pledge site is going to be humming) and it’s going to work.  We’ve got some big goals (we’d like to have 1200 donors) – because we continue to have challenging needs – but we’ve got a big audience. And once we get out onto that dance floor and start the music, you really do know your part.  And we love watching it all come together.

So we’ll keep broadcasting the news (BBC will do rolling news all night tonight to cover the emergence of the Chilean miners, just so you know), great music, ME & ATC, Ricky Kemery, and the Car Talk guys.  And starting Saturday we’ll mix it up a bit for a week or so.

C’mon.  Let’s dance.


PS – If you make a contribution anytime between now and Monday morning at 9am, you’ll be entered to win an iPad. It makes us nervous when people wait until the last minute to donate, so we’re offering a little encouragement to join the fun early.  You can give at or call us during office hours at 452-1189.

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Meet the Music

It’s on right now and it’s good.

So happy to add this to our line up and so grateful for the guests who are making it possible. Tonight it’s Derek Reeves and David Ling, Steve Walley, and the Bill Lupkin Blues Band (listening while I type).

David Ling & Derek Reeves


And thanks to other volunteers – our stars – who are putting in so much time – Julia Meek, always bringing the best, and Al Mozena, helping to engineer the music.

NIPR staff putting in extra hours include our genius engineer Ed Didier and program director and program co-host, Kevin Kreigh.

Lots of thought, creativity, time, skill and talent.  Can’t find it anywhere else.

Thanks for listening,



Filed under Good Times, Partners, Programming

The fine print.

Pledge Drive ahead.  Our fall “opportunity for investment” (like that?) will start on Saturday, October 16 and run through Saturday, October 23 and we’ve got lots of fun planned.  But we’re starting off with some great excitement!

To encourage early gifts (which keeps us from panic attacks as the week progresses), we’re giving away an iPad to those who contribute during the pre-drive push – starting now (as in Oct. 6) and running through 9am on Monday, October 18.  Wanted you to know about it first!

And of course, there’s fine print, so we’re posting that here, just so you know.

NIPR Apple iPad Giveaway — Official Drawing Rules and Policy

Prize: One brand-new 16GB Apple iPad™. The fair market value of this prize is $500.00. This prize is not redeemable for cash and is not transferable.

How to Win: No contribution to NIPR is necessary. The promotion begins at 12:00 AM ET on Oct. 6, 2010 and ends at 9:00 AM ET on Oct. 18, 2010. Only entries received during the promotional time are eligible.

How to Enter: Entry is automatic with on-line, telephone or mailed contribution during the promotional period. The number to call during pledge drive  is 260-452-1185 or 1-800-471-9264, or online at To enter without making a contribution, call in and submit your name, address and daytime telephone number. To contribute by phone prior to the start of the pledge drive (October 16) call the main office number at 260-452-1189.

Entries are limited to one per person,address, or household regardless of the method of entry. No responsibility is assumed by NIPR for lost, late, damaged or incomplete entries or for any human error or any computer, online, telephone or technical malfunctions that may occur. All entries become the property of NIPR and will not be returned. You can request a copy of full contest rules and details by calling 260-452-1189 or by email at

Eligibility: Employees of NIPR, members of their immediate family(sorry, kids) or persons living in the same household are not eligible to win. Contestants must be 21 years or older to enter. Participation is restricted to persons living in the United States. A person may only win one NIPR giveaway prize per 30 days.

Selection and Notification of Winner: Winner will be randomly drawn by a station employee on Oct. 18, 2010 from among all the eligible entries received. In the event of an unclaimed prize, a new name will be drawn and the winner contacted. Process will be repeated until the prize is accepted.

General Conditions: Participants agree to be bound by the terms of these Official Rules and by the decision of NIPR, which are final and binding on all matters pertaining to this promotion. All federal, state and local laws and regulations apply. Void where prohibited by law. By entering, participants release and hold harmless NIPR from any and all liability or any injuries, loss or damage of any kind arising from or in connection with this promotion or any prize won. Participants also agree to grant NIPR the right to use their entry, name, image or other likeness without further compensation for advertising, fundraising or promotional purposes. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received.

Whew!  Now that you’ve got the scoop, make certain to get your entry in before 9am ET on October 18.  And while, according to the rules, you don’t have to contribute to enter, we hope you find public radio, NIPR specifically, important enough that you’ll do what you can during this important fund drive.

Have a good one,



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We do care about the music.

Yesterday’s Sunday in the Park with Jazz was so much fun.  And anytime you can say that about work, it’s a win.

Great weather (always have great weather for this), supportive sponsors (thanks O’Daniel Porsche Audi and Frontier), big crowd, incredible food (thanks Club Soda and Weenies on Wheels) and of course, the music.  Big sounds from the first moment and it just kept coming all afternoon.

So here’s a huge shout-out to the Mark Van Cleave Jazz Orchestra, the Northeast Indiana Jazz Workshop, Groove Caravan, and the Todd Harrold Band (“Sunshine of Your Love” – I can live off that for a month, Todd.).  I’m not sure how we could have had a more powerful line up of music.  Standing back by the Clinton Street Gate, listening, watching, just breathing in how great it is to be outside, downtown, in the middle of a big crowd enjoying that music was just about as good as it gets.  Loved every minute of the day. (And we do have super pictures, but we don’t the cord to download them . . . yeah.)

That beautiful day was the culmination of a whole week of wild music flurry at the studios.  We’re launching Meet the Music, hosted by Julia Meek (and sometimes side-kicked by Kevin Kreigh), a showcase of local musicians and music of all genres.  We’ve been recording those segments almost nonstop in order to have four or five complete shows ready to go before Meet the Music debuts on October 7 at 7pm (that’s the plan right now).  It’ll precede Little Brother Radio and make Thursday a fantastic listening night. (Along with Friday, Saturday, and Sunday)

So all week, we’ve had a steady stream of local music legends carting equipment and instruments through the hall.  Chief Engineer Ed Didier and our volunteer engineer, Al Mozena, have been burning the midnight oil (and I’m serious about that) to make certain the set ups are right and that the recordings are spot on.  And it has been just so very exciting.

Here’s who’s visited:

Reeves & Ling String Trio (awesome classical), Steve Walley (jazz piano – he didn’t drag that in, we have one!), Bill Lupkin Band (oh, blues), ClusterFolk (folk/rock and we say their name so carefully), Ty Causey Band (pure soul), Greg Vey (classical/ragtime piano), Sunny Taylor (c’mon, you know Sunny), Todd Harrold Band (jazz, funky jazz), The Alicia Pyle Ensemble (piano, strings, voice, and conga!). . .  and they keep coming.

We’re proud of the exceptional national news and information programming we bring you every day, and of other local programming that has grown strong roots, like Midday Matters.  This is one more reason to love public radio and we hope, to support it.

This is awesome stuff and we’re grateful to all these fine musicians for catching our enthusiasm (hard not to when Julia is the ringleader) and donating their time and talent.  October 7, Meet the Music!

Keep your ears tuned . . .


PS – Musicians who are interested in being featured on an upcoming Meet the Music should submit a demo to Meet the Music, NIPR, P.O. Box 8459, Fort Wayne, IN 46898.  A panel reviews submissions and selects musicians to ensure that a wide variety of genres are represented. Bands are not paid for their participation.  It’s public radio, people!

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Perhaps we should add “can blog”.

Leadership Opportunity.
President/General Manager

Northeast Indiana Public Radio, Fort Wayne, Indiana

Northeast Indiana Public Radio (NIPR) seeks a general manager for its two-channel public radio service, providing NPR news, jazz and classical music to listeners in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and surrounding communities including northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio. NIPR is a not for profit community organization whose mission is to “engage our community with content that enriches the human experience.”

The successful candidate will possess strong leadership, management and communications skills and will exhibit high ethical standards, including trustworthiness and demonstrated fiscal responsibility.

The successful candidate will have demonstrated ability to identify, act decisively, show good judgment and solve problems.

The successful candidate will provide demonstrated ability to perform the following responsibilities.

1.  Management—Must be able to provide strong leadership and guidance to a staff of ten professionals, through the following skills.

  • Ability to establish annual operating goals and business plan.
  • Ability to effectively delegate responsibilities.
  • Ability to provide clearly defined expectations, consistent follow through and measures of accountability to staff.
  • Ability to communicate effectively with staff, volunteers and Board of Trustees.

2.  Financial acumen—Must be able to manage an annual budget of $1.2million, through the following skills.

  • Ability to provide strategic direction for annual budget.
  • Ability to monitor the operating budget monthly and make appropriate adjustments to keep it balanced.
  • Ability to determine efficiency improvements to adjust budget as necessary.
  • Ability to seek new opportunities to increase revenue.

3.  Industry knowledge—Must exhibit broad technical knowledge related to radio in general, public radio in particular, through the following skills.

  • Basic knowledge of radio broadcasting fundamentals.
  • Knowledge of FCC regulations.
  • Knowledge of broadcasting ratings and their importance to public radio.
  • Basic knowledge of radio technology and current trends in new technology.

4.  Community relations—Must be able to establish and maintain strong relationships within the communities served, through the following skills.

  • Ability to communicate effectively with community and business leaders, including written and verbal communication, and media relation skills.
  • Ability to be seen as a collaborator and as a leader among the communities served by NIPR.
  • Ability to serve as effective spokesperson for NIPR.

5.  Fundraising—Must be able to effectively raise funds in the nonprofit business model, through the following skills.

  • Ability to establish and maintain strong relationships with various not for profit organizations and foundations.
  • Ability to establish relationships with and secure funding from high capacity individuals.
  • Ability to determine grant opportunities and secure grant writing resources.
  • Ability to determine additional fundraising opportunities and implement them.

Qualified candidates should apply by October 15, 2010 by sending a cover letter and resume to  or mailing to Suzon Motz, Search Chair, NIPR, P.O. Box 8459, Fort Wayne, IN 46898.

NIPR is an equal opportunity employer. Qualified applicants are considered for employment without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or veteran status.

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