Never Underestimate the Importance of Having a Voice

Atlanta    Sometimes in the hurly-burly of life and the wild carnival of every day, we underestimate the little things on one’s list and forget that they might be large items on someone else’s list.  Even saying this, it sounds minor and inconsequential, but walk with me for a minute.

On the same day that ACORN Radio was marking its first anniversary on the air, we were trying to get our minds wrapped around bits of news about a host on WAMF 90.3There were alerts that he was missing. Others hosts and people involved with the station were trying to remember the man, and asking me who he might be and what his involvement with WAMF was, because they were unaware.

The local news reports identified Frederick Mead as “a local actor and playwright, [who] hosted the radio program Hercules Radio Playhouse on WAMF LP 90.3 New Orleans.”  He had not answered text messages from friends which was unusual and had missed two rehearsals for his radio show.

Did I know him?  Yes and no.

I had emailed back and forth with him six months earlier.  I had met him once as I do all prospective hosts to listen to them pitch their show, arrange for their training, and explain how noncommercial radio and underwriting would work.  We set him on the schedule for Wednesday nights from 9 to 10 pm.  At one point he had some issues with a headset, but it sorted out.  He was happy to be on the air.  We were happy to have a radio play that hearken to the old days of radio and its listeners.  Originally, he was calling the show Olde Time Radio Playhouse.  I’m not sure he even told us that he had changed the name of his show to Hercules Radio Playhouse.  It’s a volunteer army.  We get people a uniform, hand them the microphone, and 4, 3, 2, 1 and they are on the air.  We did our part.  He did his part.

No big deal, right?

But it is.  And, reading the article in the one of the local papers that Frederick Mead who was missing has now been found dead, whether natural causes or unknown reasons, the frequent mentions of his show on WAMF by his friends indicates how big a deal doing the show and being on the radio was to him.

And, frankly, to the rest of us, if we really think about how big the little things really are.  In this world of billions of people or even, having a voice has inestimable value.  Something like WAMF or any radio station, especially noncommercial stations, give small voices a megaphone to an audience as big as the world that might be heard and meaningful to one or two people or millions.

That’s why we call these “voice of the people” stations.

Frederick Mead’s voice was important here, and it will be missed.  A friend at a neighboring café referred to him as “an amazing part of the city.”

We were honored to have his voice and contribution at WAMF.  Never underestimate the importance of having a voice, and the ability to have it heard and heeded.

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