Greetings friends and fellow listeners of Baton Rouge Community Radio.
If you haven’t had a chance to tune in yet or weren’t aware of it, I wanted to mention that my show, “Third Place” is running a special series of local content dedicated to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was an idea borne of necessity and in the true spirit and tradition of low-power fm radio.
When we applied to the FCC for this station, WHYR, in 2000 and began our nearly ten year fight to get on air, we had many of those high-spirited motivations in mind including: strengthening community identity, creating more diversity on the air (better representing women and racial minorities), dislodging the airwaves from concentration in corporate hands and the consequent homogenization of music and messaging, and to be that crucial outlet for our communities in times of emergencies (a low power FM radio station can stay on the air even if the power goes out). With that last motivation in mind, it is our intention to live up to one of WHYR’s oldest and most fundamental goals.
We have created this pandemic series to help educate our listeners in a special way that is different from what each of you may be able to find either through major news sources on the major television and radio networks or even through other print or online media. This is our story told by our people through an unfiltered non-commercial local lens that simply isn’t available elsewhere in our area.
In our first episode from April 2nd, we heard from a past Assistant State Epidemiologist named Dr. Susanne Straif-Bourgeois who laid our foundation in the fundamentals of epidemiology and got us started into a fuller understanding of how the virus is working in Louisiana. The following week, on April 9th, we spoke with an infectious disease specialist and practicing physician in New Orleans named MarkAlain Dery who has experience in responding to previous epidemics including Ebola, Lassa and Hantavirus. Dr. Dery gave us a detailed, nuanced, educational and seldom heard lesson in the socio-political nuances of how C-19 hits our disadvantaged and highly susceptible populations harder than other parts of the United States.
In the fifth installment, Barry Erwin, President and CEO of CABL (Council for a Better Louisiana) discussed the budget and educational aspects of the C-19 shut down. In the sixth show, our guest was Dr. Edward Peters. Dr. Peters is the Chair of the Epidemiology Department at LSUHSC-New Orleans School of Public Health and also directs the School’s Epidemiology Data Center. He discussed the wisdom of reopening businesses at this stage of the pandemic, the risk of a second peak in the epi-curve and many other aspects of the COVID-19 virus like convalescent plasma, vaccinations and the various strains and mutations of this virus.
In the seventh show, our guest was Dr. Lina Moses. She is an epidemiologist and disease ecologist. She is currently serving as a technical advisor to the World Health Organization coordinating operational research needs across a large network of outbreak response institutions. She also discussed the state of public health in the US, and what we’re doing right and wrong.
In this week’s eighth show of our COVID-19 Series on Third Place, our guest is Dr. Megan Campbell. She is a board certified Psychiatrist and native New Orleanian, an assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at LSU Health Sciences Center, and is currently practicing at Children’s Hospital in New Orleans. We’ll be talking all about the psychology of COVID-19: How the novel corona virus affects all of us without necessarily infecting each of us.
We intend to continue with this series for as long as our reality is upended and so largely controlled by this microscopic and deadly pathogen. We want to do our part to contribute to your lasting memories and archived lessons about how we need to really improve and actually learn essential lessons from all of this so that we can improve lives and communities and inoculate ourselves from ever getting hit this hard again!
Thus, we invite you to join us, to offer feedback and ideas for future shows and yes, to pass along the message and spread the positive word that we’ll be on the air at the regularly scheduled times for “Third Place” – Th @ 5:30p, Su @ 11a and Th @ 6:30a.
Stay Safe – Stay Healthy – Stay Home
-Dave Brown (Co-Founder WHYR and Host “Third Place”)