Baron Dave Romm (barondave) wrote,
Baron Dave Romm

A KFAI story; not about Wiscon

I've been reading a bit about the Elizabeth Moon tsurris that has hit Wiscon. I was at one Wiscon, in 1989. Had a great time, hanging out with friends and meeting some wonderful people. But it was clear that the con was not for me and I've never been back. So this isn't about Wiscon.

Many years ago, KFAI-FM, Fresh Air Radio was expanding and felt it needed a Mission Statement. I was very much in favor of this concept; one of my hobbies. I had delved into Corporate Culture and Mission Statements when I worked for Northwestern National Bank, NA (which became Norwest and eventually Wells Fargo).

At one of our famous long meetings, members proposed something on the order of "serving underserved communities" and "providing a voice for those outside the mainstream". While good in theory, I kept saying that was rather wide open. Would we let the John Birch Society or KKK have a program? (This was before Fox "News".) The universal response was "no".

Some wanted to insert a clause roughly "and be proactive on social issues". I hate the word "proactive". You're either "active" or not. "Proactive" is just a buzzword and means nothing. Still, the idea was there. Eventually, iirc, KFAI adopted a two paragraph Mission Statement that I didn't think was all that good. Then I checked for writing this piece, and the KFAI Mission Statement reads:
KFAI is a volunteer-based community radio station that exists to broadcast information, arts and entertainment programming for an audience of diverse racial, social and economic backgrounds. By providing a voice for people ignored or misrepresented by mainstream media, KFAI increases understanding between peoples and communities, while fostering the values of democracy and social justice.
Which is great.

So I say to Wiscon what I said to my fellow volunteer programmers. Be careful what you wish for. You may get it.

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