March 5, 2015
by rebecca.marchiafava
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From the Backstage: Connect for Visibility

To those passing through or residing here superficially, Baton Rouge may not look like much, but for those of us who know her, there’s a lot to love and appreciate. Yet whereas in other more celebrated cities, the gems are viewed as par for the course, in our town they’re often seen as hidden and unexpected, if they’re seen at all.

I’ve been involved with WHYR since its inception, and I’ll confess: in the beginning, I didn’t know or care about community radio. I was a BRPN Board member when we received the license and started building the station, so I hopped along for the ride and put in tons of time and effort for a cause I intuitively supported but didn’t quite understand yet. The longer WHYR is on the air, though, the more I recognize how it augments what I already knew I loved about Baton Rouge while simultaneously expanding and deepening my understanding of this city and its inhabitants.

Being introduced to Irma Thomas’ “It’s Raining” on “Down the Road,” played as an intentional homage to the day’s weather on a rainy Sunday. Tuning into blues, jazz, and Cajun/zydeco specialty shows that consistently enrich my sense of place in the world. Hearing an hour of New Orleans brass band songs on a Sunday afternoon while chopping celery and enjoying 70-plus degree breezes through the back screen door. Hearing a Minneapolis-based hip-hop artist for the first time on “The Low Down” while on my way to dance practice. Being inspired by Noel Jackson’s infectious excitement for the music he plays for his listeners. Shazamming songs from local bands. Being granted access to the origin stories, knowledge and creations of everyone from spoken word poets to activists to urban planners who work and reside in BR. Hearing PSAs for local progressive organizations and the voices of my friends, family, and fellow community members on the air. Learning about topics like racial justice, rape culture, and economic justice, and how to get involved in local efforts for positive change in these areas.

When I’m in the thick of meetings and to-do lists, I can lose my spark for the volunteer work that it takes to make WHYR possible. Then I tune in and something inspiring or illuminating will jump out from the airwaves to make me think: I like this, it is important, and I’m glad to be a part of it. The product of our hard work and the genuine connections that come from it have made it all worthwhile.

Once, in a conversation with one of our show hosts, I referred to him as an expert of his preferred genre of music. He humbly corrected me: “I’m an enthusiast.” It occurs to me, then, that my favorite thing about WHYR is that it’s becoming exactly what we set out for it to be: our progressive network’s node for enthusiasts—of art, poetry, music, culture, concepts, activism, connection, and social change. Put it all together and it’s a beautiful thing, and maybe we had to actually make it happen to realize what we’d been missing all along, and what we’d be missing if we lost it.

Our work is just beginning, so for the month of March we are making it our goal to sign up 100 sustaining members who are willing to support our work on an ongoing basis through monthly recurring donations. It is a critical goal as our operating reserves are low. If 100 people gave $25 per month, we would be able to focus more of our efforts on developing our programming and services rather than worrying as much about our minimal operating budget. Can you give $25 a month towards sustaining WHYR and keeping us on the airwaves of Baton Rouge?

There’s something exciting and intoxicating about unexpected gems. Yet to truly power up, reach new levels, and make change, we have to make it our responsibility to turn Baton Rouge’s unexpected gems into visible, audible, integral, and undeniable components of the rhythm of our city. Your sustaining membership is an important part of helping us get there.

With our very existence, we are helping to turn the unexpected into the expected, challenging tired and stale notions of Baton Rouge and its residents with renewed energy and purpose. It is by banding together that we’ve begun to connect and amplify our progressive community, and as long as we have your support, we will continue to do the work to not only give the feeling that our voices matter and have a place here, but to make that an undeniable reality in which the alternative would be unimaginable.

Will you help us achieve this goal? Visit whyr.org/support/recurring to become a sustaining member today. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and we’re in it for the long haul as long as you’re with us.

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Strengthening the network of progressives in BR is our cause. Our mission is to educate and unite our communities to advocate and establish progressive policy and social action.

Have questions for us? Visit our WHYR website, BRPN website, or email info@whyr.org.

Interested in joining our development and fundraising team? Learn more on our website and email us at volunteer@whyr.org.

January 4, 2015
by rebecca.marchiafava
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From the Backstage: Connect for Positive Action

Another revolution around the sun is completed as yet another begins. Time marches on, but certain things stay the same. Violence, oppression, and corruption seemingly abound in the world, including right here at home. Such a reality can leave many people feeling like they have nothing to contribute to solving the world’s problems.

Yet amidst all of the negative consistencies, there are positive ones, too. One of these is people’s commitment to working for positive social change, and in the past year certain movements for justice have been reignited by those who are standing and speaking up to agitate and make change in the face of continued oppression and injustice.

We at BRPN believe in the necessity of both realism and positivity in this work. After all, where there is violence, there is the opportunity for prevention and healing. Where there is oppression, there is the opportunity for working toward liberation, humanization, and equality. This is why we selected “positive mindset” as one of our core values.

Positive Mindset

  • We are visionary and forward-thinking, and believe that positive change is possible. To this end, we are committed to amplifying and developing our community’s assets rather than focusing on its deficits. 
  • We believe that problems, deficiencies, and challenges are opportunities for creative remedies, therefore we identify problems only as a prerequisite for identifying solutions. 
  • We accept that barriers are realistically inherent in all social change work, therefore we work within the world as it is to seek progress, not perfection. 
  • We uphold this value not as feel-good optimists, but as individuals who understand that a positive mindset is integral to effective social change work.

Alice Walker famously stated, “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” Everyone has the power to advance social change. In what ways have you resolved to recognize and use your power this year? Whatever your answers to that question, finding it likely starts with the resolution to hold a positive mindset and to seek out and get involved in those local organizations that are working for justice and positive social change on the issues that you care most about.

November 11, 2014
by rebecca.marchiafava
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From the Backstage: Waves of Support

Today, Baton Rouge Community Radio continues to broadcast unique and relevant programming on the airwaves in our city, but we wouldn’t be able to do this without our volunteers and your continued support. As you are deciding where to make your end of the year tax deductible donations, we want you to know that your donation is needed to sustain our station’s operations in 2015.

Your support means…we can feature diverse, locally produced programming. Our talk programming informs listeners on important community issues including Metro Council votes, candidates for local office, and special events. Our music shows feature local musicians and a variety of genres including jazz, blues, Cajun, zydeco, and hip hop. We have new shows coming on the air soon that will highlight local art events on Art Scouts, and put poetry on the radio with Poiesis.

Your support means…we can amplify what is best about Baton Rouge. Whether through our shows or Public Service Announcements, we serve as a microphone to broadcast the work and messages of local non-profits and individuals who are bringing positive changes to our city.

Your support means…we can bring fresh perspectives to the local airwaves. We continue to be the only local radio outlet for programming such as Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman, This Way Out: The International Lesbian and Gay Radio Magazine, and Alternative Radio.

WHYR needs your support to keep doing this work in 2015. Please make your fully tax deductible donation before the end of the year. WHYR is an all-volunteer project of the 501(c)(3) non-profit Baton Rouge Progressive Network. As always, we greatly appreciate your support!

You can donate by mailing a check to WHYR, 1623 Main Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70802 or by donating online at www.whyr.org.

 

Yours in Community Radio,

 

Rebecca Marchiafava

Board Chair

October 17, 2014
by dbkey
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** Third Place: Special Election Coverage 2014 **

db & ewe

Please tune in to 3dP during these final days for our independent and uncensored look at candidates for the 6th Congressional district as well as an excellent summary of the 14 Constitutional Amendments that will be on the ballot. Election Day is fast approaching this Tuesday on November 4th. Here’s your chance to get informed every day at 5:00p and again on election day. On Friday, we interviewed Edwin W. Edwards and on Monday, we interview our last candidate for the 6th US Congressional District race, Captain Bob Bell.  All shows will also be archived on mixcloud.com/3dP for your edification and convenience.

October 1, 2014
by rebecca.marchiafava
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From the Backstage: What Connects Us

When I first got involved with WHYR’s parent organization,  the Baton Rouge Progressive Network (BRPN), in 2009, I kept meeting people who expressed how oppressive Baton Rouge felt when it came to simply voicing their progressive or liberal beliefs. These stories echoed the sense of silencing and isolation I had long felt growing up in Baton Rouge. Seeing as I had since connected to a community that dissolved my own sense of isolation, it seemed appropriate as a board member of BRPN to advocate for and create spaces in which others could connect and do the same – especially since the practice advances the “unite” portion of BRPN’s mission to educate and unite our communities to advocate and establish progressive policy and social action. The “P.S. Progressive Social” was born.

From the beginning, the socials were a hit – and not just for the attendees, but for us organizers as well. We at BRPN discovered that the P.S. was not just an antidote to sociopolitical isolation and frustration, but also an important practice in avoiding burnout for those of us who dedicate much of our “free” time to unpaid work. The socials were invariably fun, energizing, and life-affirming. (Later, I came across the formal concepts of community building and bonding social capital, which immediately validated the seemingly fluffy practice of hosting socials as a substantial service to Baton Rouge progressives, one that fulfills a true need.) Unfortunately, the socials have sometimes taken a backseat to the other business of running an all-volunteer nonprofit and community radio station, but we’re once again committing to hosting these quarterly socials to connect progressive-minded individuals and community activists across organizations and issues.

This leads to another question that’s been posed over the years: what does “progressive” mean to us? For many, being progressive means caring about specific issues like the environment, racial justice, LGBTQ rights, gender equality, economic justice, etc.  Yet typically, a single individual who considers themselves progressive cares about many of these issues. As an organization dedicated to strengthening Baton Rouge’s progressive community, we began looking beyond the issues themselves to the underlying values that connect us in our seemingly varied concerns. To finally arrive at some sort of answer to this important question for ourselves and others, we as an organization engaged in a process of developing core values (ideals, principles and standards to guide our actions and programs).

To construct this set of core values, we naturally started with a social, inviting attendees to indicate which progressive values resonated most with them.

values of change

We then conducted a “values scan” among board members and volunteers to gauge their top personal and progressive values. From there, we met to discuss, condense, synthesize and prioritize, leading to our list of values. What does “progressive” mean to us? Find out here. If this set of values speaks to you, I encourage you to join us on Thursday, October 23 from 6-8pm for our next Progressive Social. We are not alone. There is much that connects us, and shared values and opportunities for social connection are something to support and celebrate.

___

Strengthening the network of progressives in BR is our cause. Our mission is to educate and unite our communities to advocate and establish progressive policy and social action.

Have questions for us? Visit our WHYR website, BRPN website, or email info@whyr.org.

Interested in volunteering on a committee or contributing something specific according to your skill set? Email us at volunteer@whyr.org.

Want to connect with other progressives in BR? Join us for our next Progressive Social in October.