Monthly Archives: November 2010

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?

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized