Category Archives: Partners

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

On Andrew, PHIL, and what happens next.

Andrew Constantine is an easy interview, folks.  And informative. And fun.

Andrew, in case you’ve not been keeping up with culture, is the new music director at the PHIL and their 2010-2011 season begins tonight.

I’ve been watching PHIL opening nights for a lot of years and there is a wonderful excitement all around this one. They will be playing Barber’s Adagio, just like they did nine years ago, and for those of us that were there on that opening night, I’m guessing it will bring back the unbelievable feeling that we had being in that place, at that time, with that music.  But the rest of the program is spine tingling, too.  Get a ticket. Be there. (Oh, it starts at 6pm. If you show up at 8, well, it will be over.)

Phil Shaull and I talked with Andrew in the studio on Thursday and then excerpted pieces of that for broadcast in a couple of places. Including WBOI. Conversations about organizations like the PHIL and people like Andrew belong there, too.

We’ve been thinking a lot, and along with many of you, about where our area’s cultural updates and insights are going to find a home on public radio when WBNI is no longer broadcasting, whenever that might be, and we’re working on it.  It won’t be the same as when Janice had long conversations, every week, with the leaders of some organizations. That time slot and format just doesn’t exist, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t want to give attention, and space, and heart to the arts organizations, large and small, that make such a difference in our lives week in and week out and play a vibrant part in the education, quality of life, and joy of this region.

Julia Meek and Phil have given voice to many expected and unexpected arts topics, events, leaders, and participants during Midday Matters ArtCentric and that’s going to continue in some form.  We’ve got Julia immersed in the planning of our new evening local music program and she may take a break from MM, but the arts coverage will continue.  And we are always looking for ways to tell our audience about what’s happening, what just happened, and what’s going to happen on the cultural scene.

As we look at our overall programming with an eye on budgeting, even as we anticipate some changes, please do know that honoring the community, especially the arts community, is always on our mind.

Talking with the dynamic leaders of our cultural community, like Andrew Constantine, Charles Shephard, Ketu Oladuwa, Liz Monnier, Karen Gibbons Brown, Dorothy Kittaka (ok. I should not have started naming people – there are hundreds) . . .  and on forever, should be part of our “public” work.  Just going on record as saying that, so you know that we at NIPR value those relationships as an organization and want to be a good home for the messages and the missions of all arts work in our region.

Tonight, I’m not going to worry about budgets or programming or what comes next. I’m going to experience “The Love for Three Oranges” again, all of it.  And I hear, from reliable sources, that it is just pretty challenging to play.  Watchin’ you work, musicians!

Did I mention Gil Shaham?  Uh-huh.

Have a great week-end.


Oh, and Masterworks concerts, like tonight’s, will continue to be broadcast on WBNI, the second Thursday evening following the concert.

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Carrie Boylan, who joined us just a couple of months ago as our Corporate Engagement Manager has coined a new word to describe the “spots” you hear on our stations that give credit to our corporate programming sponsors.  “Underwritements.”   I like it.

We’re a federally funded (less than 10% of our budget, but it’s there and we’re grateful for it) not for profit, noncommercial public radio station and that comes with a bit of baggage when it comes to our corporate partners and what we can say on the air. You’ve noticed that our corporate spots sound very different from the advertising you might hear on commercial stations. (No “Saturday, SATURDAY, SATURDAY!! here).  Community-minded businesses “get” that partnering with NIPR is different from just “buying air time.”

The regulations around the corporate presence on our station are based on the assumption that corporate support is just that – corporations make a contribution to public radio and the “spots” serve as acknowledgement of that support.  No calls to action (that’s why many spots end with something like “more information at rather than “Stop in today and buy something”) and why the spots are short (most thirty words or less) and why you don’t hear comparative terms (nobody’s the biggest, fastest, smartest, nicest, brightest, bestest).

Those spots are designed to do one important thing – let the community of listeners know that this particular company has found public radio to be a significant community resource with a worthwhile audience and they are choosing to support it.  The spots remind all of us that the programming we hear isn’t free and that corporations and organizations are teaming up with every individual member who contributes to make certain this resource keeps broadcasting.

Every decision to underwrite on NIPR contains an element of philanthropy, of community investment and all of us who enjoy what we hear would do a good service by thanking underwriters when we have the opportunity.

But signing up, and paying the bill, for “underwritements” on NIPR has some big upside for companies, so while partnering with us will always have an element of charitable investment, there’s solid business strategy as well.

We have a remarkable audience that rewards companies who support public radio.  You are loyal, committed, invested in the community, and you want to be a patron of others who feel the same.  You are the people many “advertisers” want to connect with and you pay attention. You don’t need blaring music or someone yelling at you to understand what it means for a company to stand behind programming you value.  You are engaged in this work and when we invite corporations and organizations in our region to support us, through underwriting, event sponsorship, or our new business membership program, we are inviting them into the same relationship, full engagement with the work.  And as a reward, we let you, listeners with a least a bit of money to spend now and then, know about their investment.

Each of us can play a part, along with Carrie, in strengthening our corporate “engagement” by simply letting the organizations you hear mentioned on the air know that you appreciate their partnership. We know how important it is to them every time an NIPR listeners says “Hey, I heard your spot on NIPR.  Thanks for doing that!”  It matters – to them and to us.




Filed under Community, Financial fun, Partners

And we’re off . . . or on . . .

This morning marked the end of months of planning and the beginning of three weeks of just way-too-exciting storytelling.  It was a great opening day.

Whitney, Jorge, and Virginia, the StoryCorps crew, had everything set up and ready to go when our first, very first, StoryCorps pair arrived and entered the booth this morning at 10:30.

Community volunteer Eleanor Marine and City Councilman John Shoaff spent their time talking about Headwaters Park – both served as members of the commission right from the start and have an insider’s view of what is now an iconic part of the city. I’m eager to hear the interview and just as eager to share parts of it with our listeners. Eleanor and John are good friends and Jorge made the comment after the interview concluded that they seemed to really enjoy each and laughed a lot.  That would be our wish for every pair as they leave the Mobile Booth – that they enjoy each other and feel like it was good to share that space for an hour.

Big thanks to our local press for showing up, being interested, and spending time.  A special shout out to WANE-TV’s Alyssa Ivanson (a StoryCorps fan) and cameraman Trae Hester for investing so much time with us.  We’re looking forward to your coverage. Ellie Bogue with the News-Sentinel, Sam Hoffman, Journal-Gazette, Fort Wayne Magazine, Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly — all are giving us some attention. We’ve had great support from all the local media and it makes a difference for a project like this.  Salute, colleagues!

Adding to the festivities were awesome hot dogs and drinks from Chris and Jennifer McMinn (and Maya), owners of Rush Street Express. Thanks so much for coming down and feeding us.

The second interview today was Cheryl Ferverda of the Allen County Public Library, our partner in this endeavor, interviewing with her son.  And then the remainder of the afternoon is filled with public interviews, those folks who signed up through the web site or by phone.  And we’re off and running.

We’ll begin airing some of the edited segments next week, if we’re productive and lucky and can’t wait to begin sharing StoryCorps NE Indiana with all of you.

The schedule is pretty full, although this afternoon I did help someone find a reservation slot for next week  . . .  and . . .  the good news is that tomorrow (Saturday) morning at 10 am, another 20 or so spots are going to be opened up in the schedule (because we did such a good job of filling what we had!).  So if you procrastinated and now would really like to participate, go to and click on the reservation link or go directly to StoryCorps Fort Wayne Reservations. And they are building a waiting list, because we know some folks may have to cancel as we move through the three weeks ahead.  You know you want to do this, so find a partner and sign up!

It’s going to be an interesting three weeks and so gratifying to air segments of these local interviews all throughout the next many months, sharing the stories of what makes growing up here, living here, falling in love, going to war, coming home, serving the public, making art, dealing with adversity, learning lessons, sharing memories, and passing all that on, so very special.

Thanks, StoryCorps, for visiting us and thanks, all of you who’ve worked to make this successful.  We’re off to a memorable start.

Because the stories matter,


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Filed under Community, Good Times, Partners, Programming, Uncategorized

Almost story time.

StoryCorps begins for real this week.  On Tuesday afternoon, two facilitators and the site manager will roll into town and get ready for the first interviews on Friday. We’ll start with the first interview at 10:30 am and a second at 12:30pm and the hour between those first two will be for the press – and anyone who’s interested – to see the booth, meet the staff, and have a free hot dog with us. Hey, food is important. Consider yourself invited. Seriously. 11:30, Friday – Library parking lot.

Those first two interviews are the only ones that we’ll talk about before they happen.  We were asked to think about things that were important to our area, that in some ways gave identity to our region, and that included folks who would be willing to talk, not so much about themselves, but about what makes us a community.  The 10:30 interview will be John Shoaff and Eleanor Marine, talking  about Headwaters Park –  how it came to be and what they think it means to us.  The second slot will be filled by two library people, talking about that important community cornerstone and the changes that they’ve seen from the inside out.  I like how this has worked out.  There are thousands of stories that would have fit marvelously here, but these will be great additions to the overall body of work that comes out of Fort Wayne.

I can see the schedule of interviews enough to tell which slots are filled – looks like right this moment there’s on slot on the 17th, one on the 18th, and one on the 19th. Things move around and change all the time, so if you’re still hoping to talk with someone you know, don’t give up. Just go here. But I don’t get to see who’s filling those slots – this is a great process that really protects people who may want to tell a story, but not necessarily share it with the world. You can share it – that’s kind of the point – but you certainly don’t have to.

Each session will last about an hour, with the actual recording lasting 40 minutes.  When you leave, each participant will leave, right then, with a CD of the entire conversation. And if you want you can say that it ends there – nothing considered for on-air (either through NPR or through NIPR) and that you don’t want your conversation archived in the American FolkLife project at the Library of Congress. But we hope all of our stories will go to that archive and that most will be able to be considered for editing for on-air use.  Those spots you hear on Friday mornings on Morning Edition come from 40 minutes of recording.  So, there’s some production work to be done after the stories are told.

At NIPR, we’ll receive tape each week from the interviews – not every single one – but many, and then we’ll edit those for our own StoryCorps segments.  Over the next year, you can count on hearing our special stories at times other than the regular StoryCorps slots on Fridays.  We can’t wait to share the unique stories of our own community.

Over the week-end, when I was with my family, somene asked “What’s in it for the station?” (Ah, pragmatic family.) And I had to think about that.  It’s been a bit of work – gathering community folks together to make certain we sincerely reached out to all, telling the StoryCorps story in a way that made certain those interview slots would be filled, planning for appropriate housing for the SC staff while they are here (an unfurnished house? who’s idea was that . . . oh, never mind.), and coordinating the “home” for the MobileBooth.

Furnishing the unfurnished - Lea's "moving" van.

But we think, as a staff and board, that this work, this storytelling and keeping of the stories, aligns so magnificently with our mission, we couldn’t NOT be willing to host StoryCorps.  Of course, we hope we get some great radio segments from it and that by participating, perhaps we’ll draw new listeners and new supporters.  But that will be a bit hard to measure, I think.  And we hope the community will appreciate that we brought this project to Fort Wayne and continue to see us as more than a radio station, as a community resource interested in  serving the entire community. We also hope that individuals who participate will have a remarkable time and that it will, in some small way, bring enrichment to their lives, their human experience and that as those stories are shared, it will enrich our human experience, all of us who are privileged to listen.

We’ve been talking about and planning for this for a long time.  So thrilled that it’s finally here.  So many of you have helped get us here — thanks for that — and to those of you who are telling your stories during the next four weeks — big thanks for that.  I hope something magical happens for you in that tiny little booth.


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Filed under Community, Good Times, Partners

Silver bullet.

The StoryCorps MobileBooth arrived yesterday, late in the afternoon, and is parked at its Fort Wayne home in the ACPL lot at the corner of Washington and Webster.  It’s not as visible as I’d like it to be, but the power hook up is an issue. (Yes, I had the driver drop it in one place and then he had to back it up – he wasn’t the happiest boy in the world.)

There will be easy parking and easy entrance and it’s just pretty gratifying to think about the stories that are going to be told inside that shiny bullet.  It’s smaller than I thought it would be and sort of cute.  It is, thank you, founder Dave Isay, a brilliant idea.

If you go to the StoryCorps online scheduling tool, you’ll see that, as of this morning, there are two spots open in which to schedule an interview, so there’s still room.  I also know that a few other spots will open up as we get closer and people have to cancel for one reason or another and there is a waiting list, so please, if you and a partner want to participate in this, put yourself on the waiting list and keep checking in.

The booth arrived early, to spend the holiday week-end here, and the staff members will arrive next week.  Our responsibility is to find housing for three staff members for the month that they are here and we give a big shout out to Katie Pruitt and Andy Welfle for putting us in contact with their generous landlord, Jeff Burdek, an NIPR member, who is allowing us to use the other side of the Welfle’s duplex for the month. The NIPR staff will “furnish” the duplex for our guests (I’m thinking the style will be eclectic, to say the least) and we are so pleased to be able to provide a comfortable, spacious “home” for them.

When the coordinator was here earlier this spring, Lea asked Jenna what was the worst living arrangement the team had ever found.  Worst ever? – when the team was housed in an apartment on the backside of a heavy metal music venue and the had free concerts all night.  We’re striving to provide a calmer atmosphere for our facilitators!

We’re grateful that the local press has already taken an interest and we expect to see some good articles about this effort. We are becoming part of something bigger than ourselves with each story that is going to be told.

As we’ve said from the beginning, one of the main thrusts of StoryCorps is to capture the stories of those who might not normally take part in such a project. We have had marvelous cooperation from so many in the community to make certain we reach that objective. To present a complete picture of our community, many organizations and individuals, including the following groups, will be represented, not in stories of their organizations, but in the individual, personal stories of their constituencies. We’re grateful to have had such committed participation.

  • Northeast Indiana Diversity Library
  • Fort Wayne Women’s Bureau
  • Combat veterans from WWII through present day
  • YWCA: Burmese refugees, Latinos, victims of domestic violence
  • NeighborLink: single parents, elderly, disabled
  • Fort Wayne Philharmonic: educational programs
  • Turnstone Center for Children and Adults with Disabilities
  • Girl Scouts of Northern Indiana-Michiana
  • Three Rivers Institute of Afrikan Art and Culture: African-Americans, youth, musicians
  • African/African American Historical Museum: African Americans & diaspora communities
  • Fort Wayne Urban League: African-Americans, youth, programs that serve people from a wide economic and educational backgrounds

We can hardly wait to begin airing segments of these interviews – and of yours. These are the stories of our community.


If you aren’t familiar with how StoryCorps sounds on the air, you can hear what’s come from other communities by listening to Morning Edition on Fridays on WBOI 89.1, usually between 6:20 – 6:30 and again between 8:20 -8:30.

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Filed under Community, Good Times, Partners, Programming

Tomorrow. 10 am. Excitement.

Tomorrow (Thursday, June 24) at 10 am, you will be able to call in or log in and reserve a place for you and a partner to record your story. We couldn’t be more excited to see what happens when those lines open up.  In Dayton, the available spots filled up in four minutes.

About half of the possible interview slots for the three weeks or so that StoryCorps will be here (July 9 – July 31) have been filled through the diligence of community individuals and groups whose work touches very specific populations. Those places were reserved from the start for folks who might not normally hear about StoryCorps or wouldn’t think about telling their stories. By talking with very particular advocates in the community, we’ve been able to personally invite people to join this incredible oral history project.  StoryCorps – and all of us – are pleased with how that effort has worked out here.

But now comes the part where any of us, whatever our story may be, can reserve a time to sit across from a friend, family member, partner, associate, colleague, or hero and spend forty minutes or so exploring the connections. And then know, for as long as there’s a Library of Congress, that story will be catalogued and preserved, if you so desire.

When you sign up for a recording slot, you aren’t asked what your “story” is about.  There’s no “jury” on this, no committee that decides whose story is worthy of recording and keeping.  It’s an open invitation to dialogue. You’re calling all the shots here.  There will be a facilitator nearby so if you and your partner have trouble getting started, you’ll have some help.  Our StoryCorps friends tell us that often two people coming into the booth aren’t really certain of what they will talk about – they just find each other’s lives interesting and important and connected in a personal way.

There will be a few slots saved and opened up on July 10. So if you aren’t able to jump in at the head of the line tomorrow, there’ll be another small chance.

I suggest that you visit the registration page before reservations are open, just so you know what’s going on.  You can fill in pre-registration information to give you a jump-start tomorrow morning, which may help you get the time slot you’d really prefer. You can go to the NIPR home page or directly to StoryCorp registration information for the scoop.

Our special ♥ ♥ ♥ to the Allen County Public Library for making a gracious home for StoryCorps in the Washington Street lot just south of the library. You are wonderful partners for this adventure. (The StoryCorps Airstream Mobile Recording Unit will actually arrive next week, prior to the July 4th holiday in case you want to do a drive by.)

So get your dialing (or typing) digits ready.  10 am, 6/24.  Can’t wait to see your name on the list of storytellers.

It’s all storytelling, you know. That’s what journalism is all about. ~  Tom Brokaw

Our stories matter. Every one of them.


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Filed under Community, Partners