In 2009, I was approached by Radio Boise’s founder to help with their fundraising plan to get the Boise Community Radio Project on the air. I hadn’t ever given much thought to community radio. I asked him why I should.
His answer stuck with me. In 1983, most of the media was owned by more than 50 companies. Today that number is closer to 6, and it’s likely more than 90 percent of everything we hear, see, and read is owned by a handful of very large companies.
Community radio can be a venue for local voices and ideas – a reflection of the population to which it belongs. At the time I was approached, Boise was the largest market in the country without a community radio station, no on-air avenue for local perspective, information, and artistry.
This is a big deal. A cornerstone of a robust democracy is unfettered access to information. As we’ve seen in the most recent election, the importance of the integrity of those sources cannot be understated. The thought that so few control so much of the information to which the electorate is subjected, is something I’ve thought a great deal about.
After that meeting, at which I thought I was just going to have a cup of coffee with a local nonprofit and do a brain dump on fundraising, I kept thinking about what I’d been told. I knew from personal experience that much of the news I wanted, the in-depth, objective, researched, local perspective, was becoming harder to come by in our community with it’s thinning publications and “if it bleeds it leads” mentality.
I became involved. I joined the fundraising committee, I proposed a program. My show, Elemental Idaho, has now been on the air weekly for more than 5 years. I joined the board and chaired the fundraising committee. Today I am proud to lead the organization as chair.
My dream for Radio Boise is to incorporate news and enhanced public affairs programming into our wide range of offerings. We’re not there yet but making progress. We’re building a cadre of hundreds of trained programmers (including Boise High students through a special program), providing a platform for new and emerging regional talent, and a channel for primarily local voices on the airwaves that was missing until only recently.
I am proud of how we now serve our community and the resource we can be as we grow. Our Radio Boise family is made up of like-minded individuals who are enthusiastic about what this means for a diverse community. If you’re already a part of that family, thank you. If you’d like more information, let me know.
If you’re looking to make one or two last minute donations in 2016, Please consider Radio Boise. I’m personally giving again and hope to raise a little more from friends and family. If you're so inclined to join me, I'd be thrilled. Thanks for your consideration.
(Below: Governors Phil Batt and Cecil Andrus joined me oin Elemental Idaho to talk about the 1995 Settlement Agreement to remove nuclear waste from Idaho. The program airs 3pm on Radio Boise).