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Contact Frank Stearns
Listener Candidate for the WPFW Local Station Board
My family has lived in DC and the area for five generations. I grew up listening to WPFW, first for the Jazz and later for the Justice. In high school I used to listen to WPFW with a little radio next to my bed late at night. When I went to Texas for graduate school, before internet radio was popular, my roommate (also a DMV local) and I would bring tapes of WPFW shows back with us after every visit home. More recently, as I’ve been commuting to Baltimore I’ve enjoyed shows like Crossroads, Climate Friday, The Morning Brew and Community Watch & Comment, and (too briefly) Dr. Hate. I love the WPFW programming and want to help everyone continue to enjoy it.

I was a college radio DJ in both undergraduate and graduate school, and the Program Manager of my college radio station. During that time, I developed a deep appreciation of noncommercial radio and the freedom it allowed for a diversity of programming and music that could not be played on commercial airwaves. As Program Manager I was committed to scheduling shows that provided variation from the same old radio and music that most of the students were used to. I felt that allowing for that diversity and bringing it to the student community was my most important role.

I earned a PhD in Biology from the University of Maryland, and I have been teaching at UMD and Notre Dame of Maryland University Women’s College, and I will be a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Honors Program at George Washington University this next year. With my background I am committed to education. My family has a long history with DCPS – my son is a current student and my grandmother taught for DCPS for many years at Roosevelt High School and MacFarland Middle School. I have committed myself to volunteering at local science fairs and in the classroom, including helping to build a Monarch Waystation (for which I received a DCPS Volunteer Award). As a biologist (ecology and genetics) I am interested in the conservation, health, and food security programming at WPFW. As an academic I have professionally developed critical thinking skills. I hope to bring all of these experiences, and my love of WPFW, to the Board. As a new member I plan to spend a lot of time listening and learning, looking for ways to add my voice in a way that will positively impact the WPFW community.
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?
  I was a college radio DJ at both UT Austin during graduate school and as an undergraduate, where I was also the Station Program Manager. I have experience with noncommercial radio.
2. What do you appreciate and value in the station's current operations?
  When I was the Program Manager of my college radio station it was my goal to give airtime to programming and music that was not accessible on commercial radio, and to promote diversity in programming to expose listeners to music that they may not have previously experienced. I think this is an important niche for listener supported radio.
3. What would you like to see improved or changed in the station's current operations?
  I feel like WPFW is a “best kept secret” of DC. While it’s well known among locals it seems (in my experience) to be overlooked by newer residents and potential listeners who gravitate towards NPR. I think this community would be better served by WPFW and I’d like to more quickly reach them.
4. Describe what you anticipate would be your top three priorities or areas of focus if you were elected to the local station board.
  As an educator and a parent of a DCPS student I value programming on education. As a biologist (ecology and genetics) I am interested in conservation and biotechnology. I am also committed to social justice, and in particular have learned a lot about prison reform from Roach Brown’s program Crossroads.
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?
  I think there could be more fundraising events attracting younger listeners, like the Zoo has had success with their Young Professionals events.
6. Is there anything else you would like prospective voters to know?
  My family has been in DC and the DC area for five generations and I grew up listening to WPFW, first for the Jazz and then for the Justice. I have a deep love for the station.
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