Role: Active Volunteer-Member, Back Story

Non-commercial radio station WAKD is incorporated as a membership nonprofit. It is overseen by a Board of Directors which selects and supervises a General Manager. The bulk of station tasks are accomplished by Volunteer-Members.

Mission: At WAKD we cooperate to provide service to our community through alternative programming.

I have been an active volunteer at WAKD for several years. In that time I've answered phones, swept floors, served on committees, and eventually became a part of one of our local shows.

Part of my story is that people I dearly care about have been victims of sexual assault so I got involved to try to help. My community service includes shifts at the soup kitchen and on the crisis hotline. Our groups try very hard to nurture everyone involved, and involve the affected people as responsible equals too. We know that we must work hard to value everyone equally, because the unequal valuing in the "real world" is what allows these problems to continue. We use consensus and take diversity education seriously.

This is why I came to WAKD:
  1. I saw "cooperate" in WAKD's mission, and then learned it is a membership nonprofit, which means members have rights just like democratic citizens are supposed to have.
  2. I learned that the "alternative" in WAKD's mission means carrying programs like Counterspin. I think it is very difficult for most people, especially oppressed people, myself included, to make sense of the systems around them which help oppress them. I've seen Counterspin and other shows really help people pierce this veil and begin to step into their power and dignity.
  3. I am also involved in providing other types of community service, so "service" in WAKD's mission perfect for me.

The people I usually work with at WAKD are really great. We watch out for each other, help each other grow share responsibilities sometimes. We keep ourselves and each other accountable to our common mission. How? Sometimes it takes us a while just figure out what the mission means in a certain situation, and since none of us has a monopoly on wisdom, we hash it out. Sometimes it means calling out someone, which we do with compassion and with an interest to that person's dignity, after all it could be us! But we take our responsibility for mutual accountability seriously. The result is always better than any of us would do on our own. I'd say we really care about each other as people AND as members of the team which makes our radio great.

We have a manager of course, and we see them as just like us except with some different duties appropriate to their role.

Recently the manager prohibited DJ Pat from being on the air due to profanity. I didn't hear the show myself, but I know there are mistakes. I usually support what Pat has to say even though I think it's a little extreme sometimes, but it is right in line with our duty to challenge ourselves around here when making important decisions. I'm not sure how I feel about Pat's removal. I think it might be a violation of our graduated discipline policy, but on the other hand, we really can't afford a FCC fine right now. I would feel better about it if we had some honest open discussion.

The other thing stirring up trouble lately is a new show proposal. It seems like the manager and board are pretty interested in replacing Counterspin with Mainstreet Headlines. I am worried that the replacement would reduce our community service and alternative-ness. Anyway people are talking a lot about it on the volunteer email list -- trying to look at all the angles of how it does or doesn't help us meet our mission. I think this is exactly the right conversation we need to apply all our collective wisdom and diversity to the question, but there are rumors that management may start censoring the mailing list, which is maybe the worst thing a cooperative organization could do!