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Voices: A Meditation On Student
Radio
The 2019-2020 Station Manager’s views for our
future.

BY AMEER T. FOFANAH,
KBVR-FM Station Manager
The storyteller is amongst the most
ancient of professions. Humans
craft for ourselves webs of interconnected narratives that serve as the
bedrock of our identities. In West
Africa the griot trains in song and
speech to recount the histories and
mythologies that shape the region’s
cultures. In European antiquity it
was the bardic tradition that was
tasked with commemorating and
recording their most pivotal events.
In China, the pingshu art of storytelling breathes life into tales of
bygone eras.
At Oregon State University, they
have us.
As the incoming station manager
for KBVR-FM, OSU’s student led
radio program, I have spent more
than my fair share of time contemplating what kinds of narratives
college radio should be telling.
Our institution boasts a large
body of students, each with their
world view, cultural background,
socio-political affiliations, and philosophical stances. Furthermore, is

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there even a means by which each
of these stories are told in ways that
feel accurate and fulfilling to the
individuals that they are about? My
short is ‘yes’.
For as long as I have been at
KBVR-FM I have seen how radio
and podcasting can be used to
empower student voices. Community members young and old have
graced our microphones detailing
their opinions on politics, popular culture, or the miscellaneous
goings on in their lives. This has
effectively created a community of
radio DJs who have a high degree
and trust with one another and a
deeply collaborative spirit. While
this is something that I, as well as
every station manager before, am
very grateful for I cannot help but
ponder on the smallness of it. Why
should these connections end within the confines of our booth? Why
should they end on campus? What
benefits could Oregon State, Corvallis, and college radio as whole
reap from us expanding the scope
of our storytelling to our communi-

ty at large?
These questions lie at the
foundation of my ambitions as
KBVR-FM station manager. I wish
to challenge our radio station to
broaden the breadth of storytelling
by incorporating as many stories
from the various demographics we
have in town. This entails us doing
more than the occasional foray off
of campus or sit-in at meetings of
other organization. Accomplishing
this will require deliberate goal
setting, diligence in communicating with community members and
on-campus groups, and a lot of
emailing folks to set up meeting
times. While the work may be time
consuming and strenuous, I believe
the payoffs cannot be overstated.
But the art of storytelling goes
past just speaking. Music, photography, and writing are all forms of
storytelling that are valuable and
ensuring that we are supporting the
local communities in each of these
mediums. On top of this, any media
outlet needs to recognize the im-

portance of ethnically and culturally diverse voices and make steps to
empower peoples from a multitude
of backgrounds to tell their own
narratives. Brainstorming ways to
do this with DCE (Diversity and
Cultural Engagement) will be a big
part of my time as station manager,
and hopefully KBVR-FM’s future
after my time is bygone.
So yeah, I just said a lot. It would
be naive of me not to recognize the
sheer largeness of my ambition,
or to underestimate the amount of
energy and time my team and I will
need to expend in pursuit of these
goals. It would be equally as naive
for me to move with the assumption that I will be able to reach each
and every goal as I outline them.
For college radio, it is our job to ensure that the voices of the students
and community are heard, for our
community and by our community.
The importance of that is a big part
what forges the integrity of our
student media here at OSU, and
the pursuit of that is the most noble
pursuit we could have.

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