Category Archives: Good Times

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


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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Filed under Good Times, The Team

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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Filed under Good Times

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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Filed under Community, Good Times, Programming

This Sunday. In the Park. Jazz.

Events are not my favorite thing, from a business vantage point, but Sunday in the Park with Jazz is a whole different story.  Because there isn’t a business model, really.

It’s a day that’s not about making money, although we are so grateful to our generous corporate sponsors whose support means that we end up with black ink instead of red.  It’s a day that’s all about listening to awesome local live music in a truly remarkable downtown setting with no tickets, only open gates.  It’s about families with blankets and strollers and juice boxes and all kind of folks riding their bikes and senior jazz fans hearing their favorites (and new stuff) while they read the Sunday paper and everybody just kicking back on a Sunday afternoon.

It’s about a group of people who may not have a lot in common, but share a love of live performance and sunny Sunday afternoons and many who value public radio and like to be wherever we are.

We love it because it’s a great time for us to talk to our listeners and members and people who may not ever listen to us, but want to learn about what we have to offer. And it’s a chance for listeners to ask questions, about changes here, about future plans, about what’s down the road for NIPR.

The fun happens at Headwaters Park – West Side. Our great friends from Club Soda and Dawg’s Dogs will be back and for a few dollars you can buy a great late lunch or early supper – or both.  We’re going to have a “garage sale” of too-much-fun NIPR “prize closet”items as well as some extraordinary jazz vinyl donated by a friend of the station, with all proceeds benefitting NIPR.

But the most important piece, the music, is going to be over the top.  The Todd Harrold Band, Northeast Indiana Jazz Workshop, The Mark Van Cleave Orchestra, and Groove Caravan will all be playing during the afternoon and if you know anything about these groups, you know that there’s going to be BIG music.

It’s going to be a memorable afternoon and we hope you’ll join us.  If you need more info, give Lea a call at 452-1189.

See you there,


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Filed under Community, Good Times

Live in the studio.

Midday Matters ArtCentric Friday has been on a summer roll of live music and today is no different.  Local legends Bob Craven and Fred Rothert are tuning up in the Harriet Parrish Performance Studio and it’s exciting.

There’s just a special kind of energy flowing when musicians perform live during a program. It’s what radio used to always be and I love it that we have space, technology, and willing hands and minds to make it happen on a fairly regular basis here. (Chief Engineer Ed Didier and Al Mozena, you’re the best!)

Bob Craven, Julia Meek, Fred Rothert

I’m really enamored with the idea – Julia’s idea, really – of having a regular evening program that features this kind of music, performed live for our listeners.  A great combination, perhaps, of incredible music heroes such as Bob and Fred, and new music, artists just coming on the scene, finding their way and blessing us with the sounds as they journey.

So much we’d like to do here.  Your input is always welcome.

Even the tuning up sounds good –



Filed under Good Times, Programming