No Static At All

Oct 29, 2015

There is one sure thing about WAMC and that is that life here is always interesting. Nothing is static. We know, for example, that the first hour of The Roundtable is a tremendous success. Wherever I go, I hear from people who make it a must-do to listen to the panel on The Roundtable. Everyone reacts, some more strongly than others. Each of the participants has developed a following and each of us has some detractors.

Professor Rosemary Armao has become a great star. She has an extraordinary background as a working journalist, editor, author and professor. She has never been afraid to take chances or to argue with anyone when she thinks she is right. She states unequivocally that she is a Hillary fan but on many occasions, she has argued that Mrs. Clinton has made mistakes. As a result, she'll get occasional letters that seem to take her to task for not blindly following the Hillary Clinton band wagon.

Occasionally, we receive mail from people who say they will no longer contribute to the station because of something they heard one of us say on the air. Most of the time that original anger dissipates and the letter writers return to the family. This happens a lot when Professor Herb London speaks his conservative mind for a few minutes every week. I have also had the opposite mail from people who think the station is too "liberal." Some folks who self-identify as liberal think that we are too corporate or too conservative.

Recently, we have heard from a few people who take issue with NPR accepting what appears to be pro-fracking underwriting. When I respond that no one has done more on this subject than WAMC, with both sides being explored, they write back admitting that this is true but then they argue that we should bring NPR to heel for taking the money.

We’ve also heard from people who are appropriately worried about the pipelines that will carry gas over the land that they love. WAMC has continually done stories on the pipeline crisis. We have received mail from people who feel passionately about the matter. Most make the very arguments that we have explored including the reasonable issues like the methods that are used to get the oil out of the ground; the possibility of leaks; the argument that Americans won't benefit from the oil since much, if not all, of it will be shipped out of the country; and the ways in which the land which the pipelines will traverse will be acquired.

It is very frustrating to be accused of not doing what we have in fact done not once but many times. Recently I received a copy of a letter that an anti-pipeline advocate had written to some of his colleagues in the anti-pipeline struggle, suggesting that it was not productive to be creating enemies where friends now existed. I was very appreciative of that effort.

Finally this month, sad news in that long time WAMCer Dona Frank has decided way too early to retire. Dona is so smart and so productive that I know that she will find a lot to keep her going. After 18 years, I know we will all miss her skills, determination and know how. Fortunately, our Director of Operations, Patrick Cooney is taking over and we will be hiring a chief engineer to fill his spot. WAMC is fortunate to have a wonderful, strong staff or what the baseball players might call a terrific bench. Dona Frank has done a lot of mentoring and made sure that her skills have been transferred to a wonderful group of people who are breaking all records in bringing support to the radio stations. So, I'll see you all next month and we'll talk about breaking events.