Hi, I’m Ann Salisbury Doneen a media consultant who believes a radio station should not only broadcast to its community, but should listen as well. Radio reflects the spirit of the time, the spirit of the people. And now, today — amid so much irrational strife and conflict — radio needs to offer more context and understanding. Because understanding leads to peace.
A look at my background indicates some of the ways my presence can benefit KPFK’s Local Station Board. As a broadcast news investigations producer (KCBS) in the mid-80s, my work exposing the Signal Hill Police Department’s brutal treatment—and subsequent murder — of a Black Long Beach State Collage football star won a coveted Columbia School of Journalism Alfred I. DuPont award for the station. At TV Guide magazine, I discovered a national network news editor whose Hitlerian mustache and dictatorial behavior encouraged reporters to do “Heil Hitler” salutes in the newsroom. I also exposed the production company of a popular children’s sitcom where dealers distributed cocaine on the set. The L.A. Herald Examiner sent me to Southeast Asia to cover the Boat People. I interviewed refugees from Cambodia and Vietnam who had crammed into tiny junks entering the Hong Kong Harbor, risking their lives escape the fall of Saigon. I served as public affairs director for California State University, Northridge for five years, and Art Center College of Design for two, and I’ve spent more than 10 years leading grass roots organizations that now include the Malibu Democratic Club. I am fluent in Spanish; have a working knowledge of French; and have traveled extensively throughout America’s back roads interviewing Native Americans. I have enjoyed chatting, sharing and eating with the people of Latin America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Northern Africa. What did I learn? That governments differ but their people are the same, loving their children, honoring their parents, wanting fair wages, safe settings, and to learn, to speak freely, to be healthy, to pursue happiness, and have a voice that others respect.
As a rule a journalist does not join political groups. Their goal is to stay objective. But although my stories were known for poignance and irony, some political themes began to emerge: those of dignity, respect and appreciation. Because by nature, the human condition is political. So, it was natural to segue into activism. I registered voters; worked for environmental causes, championed public education. And, of course: Democracy! Equal rights to all, including minorities, women and LGBTs.
While America symbolizes freedom, today’s headlines form a bleak national portrait also stained with racism and violence. Yet, I still believe there is hope. KPFK provides the people with a public voice. We need now to engage more fully with each community, model good communications skills, and build momentum. KPFK can rally for good and help unify; it can become our beacon of hope.