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Zonta Women’s Radio

Zonta Women’s Radio is a weekly radio broadcast that works to promote issues important to women and to improve the status of women and girls. It normally broadcasts on the first Wednesday of every month from 11:30 to 12, from New Rochelle. The host is Roxanne Wilson; the broadcast I listened to was actually a tribute to Sally Ride. Wilson was very conversational in her approach to the broadcast, and was joined by guest Dr. Mamta Patel. They talked about social activism in general, but also focused in on what the station generally  focuses on–improving the status of women. Zonta is an international, nonpartisan organization. Listening to the broadcast was really interesting because I thought they did a great job balancing the conversation in a way that made it interesting to both listeners in the specific area of New Rochelle and listeners like me who just happened upon the station....
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First Voices Indigenous Radio

http://www.firstvoicesindigenousradio.org/node/337 This weekly program produced at WBAI in New York and broadcast across North America focuses on the struggles of indigenous people on Turtle Island – the native name for North America, and beyond. This show is typically hosted by Tiokasin Ghosthorse but a substitute host was in place for the episode I listened too. What drew me to this broadcast was the simple fact that rarely are stories of native people told anywhere – other than the occasional historical documentary, or story on poverty or alcoholism. It surprised me to know that there are still land rights disputes for native people in various parts of the world, including the United States. The interim host, Mario Irigaray, interviews sources from Brazil and the US to tell very specific stories about land infringement issues. In the US, for example, their is an initiative to build wind turbines in a land which is sacred to the Quechan people. Although the turbines are great, the impact to that population is devastating – the land is a part of their creation story and central to their spiritual belief. The structure of the show is a news/talk format, providing in-depth news of First Nations all over the world, from the Americas to Africa and Asia. It had special importance to me, as there are native people in my heritage and we don’t learn much about...
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Luther will find your dog.

  I admit this isn’t the most profound example of radio as a civic tool, but I really like this story.  This older gentleman, Luther Masingill,  uses his radio show for good.  He’s worked at WDEF in Chattanooga for over seventy years.   One day, he got a call from a woman who was trying to find her lost dog.  He helped her, and then helped a lot of other people find their lost dogs.  Now, he’s known for helping people find dogs, cats, horses, etc.   I think Luther is a really good example of radio as a civic tool.  Even though finding lost dogs may not seem like a big deal, Luther’s story underscores the power of radio and its ability to get information to people.  A lot of the stories I read said he found someone’s dog on the same day he announced it.  Some of these people had been looking for their dogs for weeks before they called Luther.   People in Chattanooga who listen to Luther everyday trust him and have a relationship with him.  That means Luther has a lot of power to influence them.  In his case, he uses that to find their dogs and make people happy.  I like that.   http://www.wdef.com/news/story/70-years-in-broadcasting-with-Luther/l-wnM1-Qq06t2o0RP6ewng.cspx   The following link is to an article about Luther. http://www.tennessean.com/viewart/20120912/NEWS21/309120101/After-72-years-radio-Chattanooga-s-Luther-inducted-into-hall-fame...
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Radio as a civic tool: Voice of Chhattisgarh...

http://cgnetswara.org CG Net Swara (Voice of Chhattisgarh) is a radio station broadcast from one of the poorest states in India. Chhattisgarh is part of India’s Red Corridor, making it a particularly unstable area. The concept behind the station is very simple but probably invaluable. Basically, it uses the idea of citizen journalists to run the majority of its programming. Ordinary people can call up and record messages discussing issues of local interest. They can also call that same number and listen to messages that have been saved by people in their community. Once a message is saved, it is listened to and verified by trained journalists.   Some of the more recent calls include:   “Cholera like disease spreading in Kota block, Bilaspur district of Chhattisgarh” “In our village school teachers selling food meant for students, coming late” “Only 1/3rd adivasis got land under Forest Rights Act in my village, Pls help”   And these are just from the past 24 hours or so. Clearly, this station is filling a huge...
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Occupy The Hood

My example of radio used as a civic tool is Occupy The Hood which is put out by the Progressive Radio Network. I think it’s amazing. It’s an hour-long podcast put out by a nation-wide grassroots movement aimed at addressing issues raised by the Occupy movement that have disproportionately affected people of color. I think a really good example of how it’s used as a civic tool is episode 14 which invites attorneys on to explain the rights demonstrators and offer advice to effectively impact communities. It’s also partially a call-in format, and encourages representatives of OTH movements across the country to call in and offer updates on what their chapter has done in their community. You can learn more about the Occupy The Hood movement...
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Terry Gross

Terry Gross manages to interview Martin Bayne about a pretty depressing subject without getting maudlin. Even though Bayne has a sad personal story to tell, she steers the interview towards how he uses his journalistic skills to record and respect the elderly and sometimes demented people he lives with. She asks Bayne direct questions about death and dying and he’s able to answer really honestly. She sets up the questions so that he can tell small stories with his answers. And when she turns the questions toward his time in a Buddhist monastery we hear him go back in time. What could have been a real downer of an interview ends up being a revealing portrait of one man’s journey toward enlightenment. I think Gross masterfully avoids the impulse to ask Bayne “poor you” type questions and pulls out the real story which is that his life is actually enriched by his unusual living situation. Beautiful story.  ...