Tag Archives: WAMF

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.


I’m Not Complaining, but What a Week

New Orleans  Returning exhausted from stops in Shreveport, Louisiana, Little Rock, Arkansas, and Greenville, Mississippi, somehow I can’t get these weird signposts of the times and odd ends out of my mind. Normally, I would let them go, but somehow this Chief Organizer Report is going to be a report on the chief organizer, so bear with me.

Bargaining four nursing home contracts in Shreveport, the company already wants to include language making the Affordable Care obligations moot, even while the whole operation continues forward in the stalemate of Congress and presidential politics.

A studio chair and some folding chairs for WAMF, the new low power FM radio station that we just got on the air in New Orleans, was donated to us in Bossier City across the river (thanks Butlers and Clarks!). In a pleasant middle income suburb between a mall and an expressway, I parked my big truck, doors wide open in the driveway of the unoccupied house waiting for Local 100 organizer, Toney Orr from Arkansas, to help me load it all in. Neighbors drove by and up and down the driveway next door. No questions asked, even as we hauled the furniture out. Is that weird?

In Little Rock, despite six months of work on the Home Savers Campaign and running PSAs on KABF referring calls to Arkansas Community Organizations, the former Arkansas ACORN, that yielded little, we finally broke through and within 48 hours found a trove of both Vision Property Management and Harbour Portfolio rent-to-own and contract to purchase houses throughout central Arkansas. We had boomed out to visit victims in Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania and here they were right under our noses! The lesson, even when the spirit is willing, we have to shore up the capacity to account for how often the flesh of our operations need more underwire. Capacity matters, even a little can make a huge difference, and that’s worth remembering. Oh, and, a Home Savers organizer, Dine’ Butler, was the big finish of the well-regarded Reveal podcast, home visiting a victim in Detroit.

Capacity, capacity, capacity, it comes up again and again, and amazingly we stumble around trying to find it even when it is kicking us in the knees and pushing us to the ground. One kingdom after another lost for lack of a horse. Our biggest underwriting partner at KABF was being stymied on promoting its great work, because we had never pressed hard enough for the spots for them to realize if they gave us copy we could produce them quickly or allow hosts to do “reads.” Ouch!

Visiting radio station WDSV in Greenville for the 7th month, it was the same story with a different verse. Frustrated and stalled in achieving their mission after 5 years on-the-air as the voice of the people in the Delta, they were being held hostage by technology too large and complicated for them to easily access to master the ladder to the heaven they sought. The magic and miracle is not that we can fix that, but that it takes so long for us to marry problems to solutions, so that we can move forward in our work.

Sometimes I’m racing so fast that I miss how easily it is to stumble on the simplest steps. I wish it were just me!