Long Live Radio: A Letter from This Land’s Publisher

by Vincent LoVoi


Dear Reader,

This issue includes a piece about Lum and Abner, a radio show from the early 20th century. In this piece, author John Wooley suggests that radio is dead, killed by vitriol and too much talk.

Hoping to be part of radio’s rebirth, This Land Press debuts This Land Radio—an hour-long, statewide radio program that will bring to Oklahoma’s radio waves the same quality and thoughtfulness that our print publication offers. You can check more information of radio shows at Radio Waves.

Since its inception, This Land Press has included audio. That, in our minds, is what new media is all about; some stories are best told in the spoken word and with sounds, even if the technology is decades old and “dead” according to some. Radio is certain to change over the coming years as audiences migrate from automobile-based listening to time-shifted podcasts and other personalized usage patterns. Yet, serious audio journalism is as important today as it was in the 1930s and ’40s, and the best resides in public radio.

So that is where you’ll find This Land Radio.

During our short two-year history, our audio team has produced podcasts and story segments that have been distributed through PRX’s exchange of radio programs and as podcasts in the iTunes Store. Just this past fall, our Audio Producer Abby Wendle was one of four winners of the award for best short documentary at the Third Coast Audio Festival for an amazing piece of audio journalism titled “Glass, Not Glitter.” It outranked 180 submissions from 21 countries. Winners in other categories at that conference included All Things Considered, This American Life, Marketplace, Studio 360, and Radio Diaries.

The editor of the Missouri Review, the quarterly publication of the highly regarded journalism school at the University of Missouri, wrote about hearing “Glass, Not Glitter” at the awards ceremony:

It was a retrospective on the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people. … It silenced the entire room.  This was a tremendous experience.  If you’ve ever had a moment at a reading, or a concert, or a speech, whatever it might be, when something takes all the air out of the room … well, it was just like that.  Beautiful, stunning, heart-wrenching, and amazing, all at once.

Given the consistent excellence of our audio productions, we launch This Land Radio on March 31. It will air on KOSU, the “uniquely Oklahoma” radio station of Oklahoma State University; The SpyFM in Oklahoma City; and later this year on KRSC, of Rogers State University. The program will include radio pieces that sometimes parallel our print articles and sometimes cut new ground.

Storytelling is humankind’s best way to capture context and some stories are best told in print, others in audio or video, and many in a variety of media, each capturing a particular perspective. As always, This Land’s stories will be unlike any others, seeking higher ground in quality and thoughtfulness, and always striving to give listeners a deeper understanding of Oklahoma.

Our audio producers are Abby Wendle and Sarah Geis. Abby’s previous audio work includes experience with WNYC’s RadioLab and The Takeaway, a co-production of Public Radio International and WNYC in collaboration with The New York Times and WGBH in Boston. She holds a master’s degree from the Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Sarah previously spent five years traveling the United States with the NPR-affiliated project StoryCorps, helping to collect and
archive more than 45,000 interviews with Americans.

On Sunday, March 31, at 1 p.m., please join us for the first episode of This Land Radio by tuning in to 91.7 KOSU in central Oklahoma (including Stillwater and Oklahoma City); 107.5 KOSN in Tulsa, Bartlesville, and the Grand Lake area; 107.3 in south Tulsa; and 101.9 in Okmulgee. You can listen anytime online at ThisLandPress.com/radio or thespyFM.com and each episode is available for free from iTunes or Stitcher.

Thanks for your support. Long live radio.

Vincent LoVoi, Publisher

Originally published in the March 15 edition of This Land.