See How Much National Broadcasters Love KALW and Audio Academy
By Ben Trefny, News Director, KALW Public Radio
I was in Denver for much of this week, joining Your Call host Rose Aguilar and KALW Development Director Annette Bistrup at a conference of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. It was a terrific experience, and I made some great connections. I also had some very encouraging takeaways while I was there.
For one thing, our training programs are deeply appreciated. The head of the national Association of Independents in Radio (AIR), Sue Schardt, noted our prominence as a talent incubator and podcast launchpad during a session on audience research. AIR program director Ngoc-Tran Vu led a session on podcasting and shouted out KALW’s Audio Academy as a renowned place where people learn how to make meaningful work. Peggy Berryhill, from the Native Media Resource Center, said, “KALW is an extraordinary station.” And Jeff Pope, a station manager from Colorado told me, “Everybody wants to work at KALW.” Two more station managers, from California and Iowa, sat me down to pick my brain about how the Academy works, so they could imitate us in making versions of their own.
People also talked about our wrap-around production work with neighborhood journalists in East Oakland as a model for how they should engage communities. And I had dinner and drinks with one of NPR’s top trainers, Doug Mitchell with the Next Generation project, where we spoke at length about strategy for our expanding work with inmates at San Quentin and Solano State Prisons.
KALW’s active initiatives to bring new voices to contribute to our newsroom and public affairs programming, as well as our strategies for recognizing and lifting up voices of real people in the communities we serve, are exactly the kinds of things other stations throughout the system are trying to do. At this point, for us, helping people learn to tell their stories for broader audiences is an intrinsic and growing part of our culture. It made me very proud to work at a place with such values, and it makes me so happy to have a partner like ACE who shares that kind of worldview.
Two quick hit notes:
1. Audio Academy graduate Kanwalroop Kaur Singh (’17) recently returned from a reporting trip to Punjab, India as part of the “Bringing Home the World” fellowship from the International Center for Journalists. Right now, I’m editing her stories, which will become a four-part series considering how global agribusiness has impacted the region and ultimately drawn many Punjabi farmers to California’s agricultural belt. Listen for those to air in August!
2. We recently completed our second live Sights & Sounds show of the year, this one taking place in the city of Richmond. KALW’s health reporter and new training coordinator Marissa Ortega-Welch taught two young people from the RYSE Youth Center how to conceive, tell, and make audio stories about their lives. Those pieces debuted at the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts event, which showcased the arts and culture of Richmond.