This is a little late! The pledge break was last week. But the sentiment is still true:
Hi folks. When you hear this I’ll be boarding a plane for Pittsburgh to give a talk, and I’ll be missing a couple of days of the fund drive, though friends and family from our Peace Corps days will be helping out at the station as well as contributing from home. This station is important to us – and this election season makes clear why. On WAMC we get news that is fact-checked. We get opinions that are explained, not just thrown at us like so many ipse dixits. We get interviews with people on both sides of political campaigns. And we get cutting edge science about energy, water, the climate, the economy and other matters of interest and importance. This station is a treasure.
Alan on the Congressional Corner, Joe on the Roundtable, Terry Gross on Fresh Air and others aired on this station interview candidates, writers, experts and media personalities so that we can understand what they are saying. They give people the time and the space to explain themselves. Too many interviewers are driven only by the drama of cutting people off. But on WAMC we actually get to understand the basis of what people are trying to tell us.
I know Alan disagrees with what some people tell him on the Congressional Corner. But he let’s them make their points for our benefit. I’ve come to know lots of people Joe interviews and they all reacted that doing interviews with him is a pleasure because Joe helps us – he’s interviewed me too – to get our points out so that you as listeners can understand and evaluate what we are telling you.
It’s particularly obvious in a political season like this when people are trading barbs. One needs a station whose principle commitment, to itself and to us in the audience, is to tell the news accurately rather than bending stories to suit one side or the other.
Of course I can get specialized information when I need it. But I also need a grounding that is not prepared specially for my personal tastes and interests, a grounding that gives me news and information I might not find in my own personal quest.
And bless radio. I can relax and listen while resting my otherwise overworked eyes. My wife and I can put the news on over a meal, while we share and discuss it.
Plus three times a year we can ride the races with WAMC, so with apologies to Guys and Dolls:
We’ve got the station right here, it’s name is WAMC, Step up to the rail and let that pledge box hear Regular broadcasting heading for the finish line, WAMC can do.
— This commentary was broadcast on WAMC Northeast Report, October 18, 2016.