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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 ROMAN BATTAGLIA | ORANGE MED I A NETWORK 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.