Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Connecting in various ways

Oh boy! Martha’s away and I’m the kid in the candy shop. So many things I could tell you about. Like the NPR Ombudsman column, written by a woman, but that’s what they call it. Alicia Shepard takes listeners’ challenges to the NPR news folks for some ‘splaining. No matter what she says--supporting or criticizing NPR--readers take her to task. You can learn a lot about journalism and NPR.

Or your chance to vote on your favorite Acoustic Café songs for a Top 50 countdown we’ll be doing during the special Saturday-only fundraiser on December 5.

And did you know that you can sign up for several NPR blogs? Planet Money, Political Junkie, All Tech Considered, All Songs Considered, Weekend Edition Soapbox, Blog of the Nation, "Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me."

Oh, yes, and I wanted to tell you about ways you can support WMRA while going about your normal business. If you enter Amazon.com via WMRA, we get a cut on everything you buy. You’ll also find a link to Amazon right next to every piece of music in our program playlists. Quick and easy: www.wmra.org and mouse over (but don’t click directly on) “Programs.”

When you book travel, use the Public Media Travel portal, and WMRA gets a commission. We work through Travelocity and other “safe” vendors.

Or donate an old vehicle through the Car Talk Vehicle Donation Program, clean up your driveway and get a tax deduction.

But these aren’t what Martha wanted me to blog about, I suspect. She wanted something of substance. Something to show the value(s) of public radio.

So how about this. Pianist Andre Watts has a reputation for being one of the nicest people in the universe. Now we have proof. This story tells of how he gave a very private musical gift to a severely disabled young woman and her family. But he did it in the midst of a multitude in a very public concert, without anyone but the family knowing. So gracious…and so sensitive to the privacy of the family. Hanky advisory!

WMRA’s Program Director, Matt Bingay, emailed this back to me when I sent the story to our staff:

                Wow - not only is this story inspiring - it reminds me of 
                what I feel is at the heart of public radio... sharing 
                personal stories and connecting emotionally in ways 
               that go beyond day-to-day courtesies.

Do you have a story that illuminates how public radio, the arts, or anything else connects in ways that go beyond the ordinary? Please share.

Meanwhile, Martha will be back tomorrow after a rousing two days of inspiring young writers at Longwood University. We appreciate opportunities such as this to engage in the community.

-Tom DuVal


  1. Thank you for the NPR blog list and the links for supporting WMRA. We will be sure to use them. And also for "Public Concert, Private Story" -- such a moving account (and reminder) of the power of music to bring us all closer together. Here's a link to "En Reve" played by Andre Watts: http://www.classicalarchives.com/work/15968.html

  2. We're making a purchase on Amazon, but can't find a link to it via the WMRA.org site -- can you put an Amazon ad or button on the site, in a prominent place? We entered Amazon via your link on this post . . . .

  3. Eva,
    Thanks for the suggestion. I have to make sure it's okay with JMU, since the site is hosted on a JMU (i.e. state-owned) server, so the "commercialization" issue raises its ugly head.