Behind The Scenes

Aug 30, 2017

It takes a lot of people to make WAMC the superb, fun place to come to work that it. Many of you know Joe Donahue, Sarah LaDuke, Ray Graf, Brian Shields, David Guistina, Wanda Fisher, and Selma Kaplan, among the many other on-air people. But there are a lot of unsung stars who really do make the place hum.

For example, take Colleen O’Connell. She is one of the best acquisitions (as the say in baseball) that we have ever been lucky enough to get to work here. Before she came to WAMC, she was a practicing attorney of some note but then she started to volunteer at WAMC. She is a Hamilton College graduate and did her law degree at the University of Connecticut.  She really was something to behold. She became indispensable during the Fund Drives and so when the fund drive position opened up I went to her on hands and knees and begged her to take the job. We were overjoyed when she accepted. We couldn’t believe our luck. She is one of those great people who never waits to be given jobs. She takes on more and more around here. We have, for example, lots of outreach programs and special events like the Rosemary Armao goodbye party. Colleen and her crew did all of that. Also when we recently honored Malcolm Nance and sold out the Linda, she did everything including finding the wonderful sponsors who would feed the crowd. These many events have been made successful, not only because of Colleen but because of all the great volunteers and staff members she gets to come to make them happen. Now, as fund drive manager she has taken a job that once reduced people to screaming fits and general unhappiness and has made it her own. Since this is where we live -- the money I mean -- Colleen is indispensable.

Then there’s Deena Salzman who you are likely to encounter when you make a call to the station. She is incredibly patient and of good spirit when she answers the phones in her capacity as office administrator, even when the person on the other end may need a healthy dose of Tender Loving Care (TLC.) Deena is a fine artist and it’s hard to go anywhere in our old building without seeing some representation of her work. I have known her since she was a very small child and like Colleen, she is a determined woman who knows how to get things done. A graduate of Boston University (BA) in English Literature and the College of Saint Rose where she earned a MS.Ed., she co-founded a community arts festival in Almond New York that draws people from around the state. At WAMC we all marvel at her willingness to make everyone who comes into the building feel comfortable and since she is still of a relatively young age she knows everything about how to take an old fossil like me and get me up to speed on my many technological devices.

One of the most interesting people who works at WAMC is the unheralded but brilliant and really awesome Ashleigh Kinsey, our director of New Media and editor of this online newspaper. To put it mildly, the woman is brilliant. A Sage graduate and an accomplished artist she teaches art classes at the library as well as in select bars where people learn how to paint while sipping a beverage of their choice. I don’t know where she developed all of her new media skills but she sure knows about all of it. She has to put up with some NPR bureaucracy nonsense but she knows more than they do and she keeps us on the straight and narrow.

So, these are just a few of the folks who make us what we are. Look in this space in future months for stories of the other great people who work here.