Monday, November 30, 2009

The joys of 983 Reservoir Street!

When I came to WMRA, nigh on to ten years ago (and who knew I'd be anywhere for ten years), we were officed in a hole. A beloved hole, but a hole nonetheless.

Management had windows; the rest of us were encased in cement blocks. I, personally, was housed in the satellite room, along with the equipment that captured our national programming and put it on the air. This equipment also regularly hummed, beeped, spoke (yes, spoke), and needed very cold temperatures. Needless to say, in the battle for temperature control of our shared space, the equipment won. I worked in my coat.

Four years ago we moved to 983 Reservoir Street, and, while already tremendously happy with my job, I became tremendously happy with my office. It is the one with all the clutter, and with a window that looks out on a scrub of woods in which live birds, squirrels, an obese groundhog, and foxes. My window faces north, making it the perfect light for African violets. And, best of all, it lets in natural light, which is so good for the soul.

983 Reservoir Street is a grand place to hang out and make radio. And it's also a very welcoming space, a perfect community center for the WMRA community of listeners. Its arrangement was configured (mostly by our engineer, Bill Fawcett) so that staff offices ring a kind of big square atrium-like central area that contains two on-air studios, a talk-show studio, and a couple of production studios.

This means we also have a big square of wide, white-walled hall.

A couple of years ago, All Things Considered host Terry Ward and artist Mia LaBerge got the brilliant idea to turn that hall into a gallery. They've just hung what I consider to be our most hopeful show, for it consists of the creations of students at Harrisonburg High School and Eastern Mennonite School.

I look at the work of these teenagers and somehow feel that this country will be alright; that our culture will not be engulfed by ignorance, anger, cynicism, and video-game addiction.

The opening is tonight, 5-7; and, yes, there will be food and music. I will be there interviewing students for this blog, and I want to underline what we've been saying on the air: You are most emphatically invited.

Hopeful art, good snacks and live music--what more could one want?

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