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Contact Benjamin Garron-Caine
Listener Candidate for the WBAI Local Station Board
Statement
Greetings,

I’m interested in a spot on WBAI’s Local Station Board. I’m a longtime listener who’d like to help the station continue to provide diverse and informative programming.

I first began listening to WBAI while working for the Parks Department. I spent many hours in a field vehicle where I’d tune to WBAI or WNYC for news and talk. As I familiarized with the WBAI schedule, I looked forward to listening to Equal Time for Freethought, The Positive Mind, and Afrobeat radio. I found some of the daytime hosts at times disagreeable, but valued the fact that they were the only voices on daytime public radio that provided new information and challenged me intellectually.

These days I tune to WBAI more frequently than other news stations largely because they’re too commercial. At the same time, I think it’s important for WBAI to continue to seek new voices with fresh insights, to be a programming leader and capture new audience. I think its important to maintain and nourish shows on science, psychology, and cultural and world affairs, while seeking to replace important shows which have departed. As a free resource, I can’t think of any other media outlet in the tri-state region which rivals WBAI. 99.5 FM has introduced me to music, poetry, research, and stories I wouldn’t have had exposure to otherwise. Some of my favorite pieces of music I’ve gleaned from Afrobeat radio, Through the Opera Glass, and Morning Irsay. I’ve learned an immense amount about space, current research trends and the history of science from Explorations. The Positive Mind introduced me to the “Enneagram”, and Equal Time for Freethought conducted interviews with a wide range of free thinkers who discussed spiritual and scientific concepts in the context of religious contexts in states across the world. I’ve also utilized the station for information regarding local events, actions, and election information. The combination of informative programming and community engagement is singular and needs to be supported.

I’ve attended several Local Station Board Meetings in Brooklyn and recognize that even facing financial issues, WBAI still has hard-working supporters and an eager audience which relies on it to provide grassroots news and community-oriented programing. I’d bring an energetic enthusiasm in helping the station pursue all forms of available public funding and creating a governing structure which both supports the staff and programming and allows consensus and decision-making which forwards the stations goals and mission. I have the time availability and interest to be a positive contributor in helping the station receive the support it needs to operate in the critically important role in the media landscape WBAI plays now.

Thanks for taking the time to review this application, and consider me for a spot on the LSB.

Sincerely,

Ben Garron-Caine
Answers to Candidate Questionnaire
1. What experience, connections, skills or traits would you bring to the local station board to advance the station's mission?
  An understanding of the critical importance of non-commercial radio and what it provides to the community.
2. What do you appreciate and value in the station's current operations?
  It's shows about science, psychology, world affairs, and music in non-commercial format.
3. What would you like to see improved or changed in the station's current operations?
  Less on-air fundraising, less repeat encore/fundraising programming from hosts who already have daily slots. Possibly seeking more hyperlocal hosts who can talk science or urban and global affairs with interesting guests.
4. Describe what you anticipate would be your top three priorities or areas of focus if you were elected to the local station board.
  Making sure prior audits complete so all possible funding can be secured; supporting successful shows; seeking new hosts and programming on diverse topics.
5. Sustainability is an important part of any nonprofit operation. What are your thoughts on how the board can help to improve the station's financial footing?
  Get audits completed, apply for Public Broadcasting or any other available sources of funding, and come up with real strategies around fundraising or membership drives/renewals
6. Is there anything else you would like prospective voters to know?
  I love WBAI!
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