GM's Letter September 2021: One Small Step, and a new Content Director
Shortly before the pandemic began in 2020, we were honored to host the national tour of StoryCorps with stops in Fresno and Bakersfield. While the two month residency was cut short by COVID-19, we were thrilled to record in-person interviews with hundreds of local residents, each a conversation between two friends, family members or loved ones. You’ve heard many of them air locally on Valley Edition, and several have also aired nationally on the weekly StoryCorps segment on NPR’s Morning Edition.
So when the folks at StoryCorps reached out to us earlier this year with an invitation to partner on another national project, we jumped at the opportunity. StoryCorps One Small Step is a project that aims to bridge the divides that often define and divide our country and our communities. We’re honored to be one of six stations nationwide taking part in this project, including Alaska Public Media, KOSU in Oklahoma City, Vermont Public Radio, High Plains Public Radio and KUNR in Reno.
However, unlike the traditional StoryCorps interview, which documents the conversation between two people who typically have known each other for years, this new project is all about bringing together people who are strangers, and on the surface might have little in common.
Through the proven StoryCorps process, our team with StoryCorps works to pair local residents with differing views and personal backgrounds for a conversation. The idea is NOT to debate politics, but to encourage participants to talk about their lives. In the process, these conversations can remind us all about our shared humanity, and reinforce that even people who disagree on nearly everything, have more in common that they might appreciate or realize. As StoryCorps creator Dave Isay says, “it’s hard to hate up close.”
If you’re interested in participating in a One Small Step recording session, you can learn more and sign up online at kvpr.org/OSS. You can expect to hear highlights from these sessions in 2022 on KVPR, and expect a special online event later this calendar year to celebrate this project in partnership with StoryCorps.
Speaking of online events, we have a very exciting online fundraiser taking place October 23rd featuring Science Friday host and founder Ira Flatow. This special event will be a night of science, trivia and insights into the long-running public radio show. In addition, it will feature our own Kerry Klein, who has become something of a regular guest on the national program, thanks to her reporting on everything from valley fever to COVID-19. We hope you’ll join us on Zoom for this special event, which will help raise funds to continue the programs you enjoy every day on KVPR. You can purchase your online event ticket at KVPR.org today.
Finally, I’d like to formally welcome Alexandra Burke to our staff. She joined our team this summer as KVPR’s new Content Director. She comes to the station following tenures at NPR stations elsewhere in California, including KAZU in Monterey, and KUSP in Santa Cruz. We’re excited to have her expertise and leadership helping Valley Public Radio as we continue to work to serve you with the best in public radio programming every day.