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.