A few years back, our small, friendly local bank (with just one main office and a single branch) was bought out by successively larger banks until one day it was just one tiny branch of a giant regional bank. Then, the locally-owned supermarket, in the course of about six months, was absorbed by a large regional chain that was soon gobbled up by a global company based in Holland.
Last year, our telephone company was bought out by enormous SBC from the southwest, which is also bought a large mid-western phone company. Then last fall, Con-Edison announced that it would buy Northeast Utilities to become the country's largest utility. And, the two national companies which own many local commercial radio stations also announced their merger.
This trend toward larger and more distant owners with fancier voice-mail systems and larger fees makes Suzanne and I more appreciative and supportive of local businesses that are owned and operated by community members.
The importance of local culture and the necessity of participating and supporting what we believe in are two major themes in my weekly essays. Although gardens, organic food, local farms, conservation and solar energy are my usual topics, many of the same principles apply to WSHU, our local public radio station. If we don't support WSHU, who will?
I've had the pleasure of associating with WSHU as a listener, member, volunteer and commentator for over ten years. The staff especially Geri and Tom who have produced my essays from the beginning, is great to work with! Julie, Abe and Adriana who came on board more recently, are also wonderfully competent. On my weekly visits to the station, I'm always amazed at the bustling activity. General Manager George Lombardi's tireless energy and enthusiasm brings ever better equipment and greater professionalism as it expands the station's range and mix of local and national programs, news and music which we WSHU listeners appreciate so much.
Being on the radio gives me an ever-expanding respect for WSHU's listeners. I'm astounded by the number and diversity of people who tell me they hear my commentary on this station. You're a great audience.
This morning, I perform my role at WSHU as a volunteer, answering the phone and taking pledges. What a great way to understand this station's value to its listeners. It is so exciting to talk to people from all over the region who are equally appreciative of WSHU. Besides the other volunteers, who are always fun to get to know between calls, there is the incredibly positive feedback from WSHU's listening audience - so many different folks with so much enthusiasm for WSHU, our public radio station.
It's a tough time for local. But if we don't support WSHU, our local radio station, we'll loose an important connection to the communities in the region.
Call us this morning! I look forward to talking with you and taking your pledge for local radio, WSHU!
This is Bill Duesing, Living on the Earth
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