Tag Archives: ACORN Radio

Workshop Practices Radio Interviews

teams practicing doing interviews for ACORN Radio

Hamilton         Conventions are not just action actions and rallies, speeches and cheers.  One of the vital components is the workshops that members do with each other to share information and skills.

The ACORN Canada convention offerings ran the gamut from detailed presentations around tenant issues and evictions to disability and welfare payments to basic skills like how to run a meeting or in my case, how members could conduct interviews for ACORN Radio.

The ten people in the workshop had been greeted by Geri Stevens, a leader from Ottawa who had done countless interviews during times she had hosted a show on local radio there.  She had introduced the basics with an emphasis on preparation and making people feel at ease.  She recommended a list of questions and letting the guests take a look at some of the questions in advance so they were prepared and the interview went smoothly.  I was a bit late to the session, but briefed the members on the history of ACORN’s involvement with radio and our continued commitment to radio as an opportunity to create “voice of the people” content that would join members to other members around the world, sharing information, tips and tools in confronting issues and building power.

We had a good group with members not only from Ottawa, but also Toronto, British Columbia, and Hamilton.  I fired up my computer so that they could listen to ACORN Radio streaming online as we talked.  None had room keys yet, so we didn’t have the wireless access for McMaster University where we were meeting, but three or four of the members were able to connect on their own plans or hotspots.  There was something of a eureka moment that I could see on their faces as they heard acornradio on their phones, surprised that this had missed them.

The members paired off in teams to try to conduct the interviews themselves beginning with a simple introduction and focusing on asking their partners in the exercise how they had first become involved in ACORN.  Three, two, one, and away they went, as the room was humming with three sets of simultaneous interviews.  Ten minutes flew by, and when I asked if they felt they could take this home, more than half were confident and excited about creating their own show from their city for acorn radio.

The proof is in the pudding, and several had sent me messages for more details about how to go forward before the day was over.  It’s always an exciting miracle of organizing when people find a skill and discover they can use it to create a voice and make change.


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.