I’ve been conceptualizing IPR for several years, starting back when I hosted The Jefferson Exchange, a daily talk show on an NPR network serving Oregon and Northern California.
I was amazed that no matter how many new and flashy forms of media and entertainment come along, talk radio — plain old not-very-high-tech talk radio — is probably more popular and influential than it’s ever been. Yet I don’t think anyone has begun to tap its potential for building national community, or calling us to a healthier, more satisfying future. I happen to be of a progressive political persuasion, but what I’m hearing on Air America and most other supposedly “left-leaning” outlets isn’t much more nurturing than what Rush and Sean Hannity serve up.
Whatever show I listen to brings to mind an old story I’ll bet you’ve heard:
"There are two wolves fighting inside me,” the Cherokee Elder tells his grandchildren around the fire. “One is fearful, greedy, cruel and violent. The other is gentle, kind, understanding and generous. They have fought each other my entire life.” “Which one wins, grandfather?” asks one of the children. Grandfather reflects. “The one I feed,” he says.
My passion to bring IPR into the world jumped to a higher level last year, when I left the NPR program to explore a run for the United States Senate. My decision not to run could be told in a long story, but the nub is this — at their best, political campaigns send this message: “Elect me, and I’ll go clean up our mess.” The world never has and never will work like that. Elected leaders by themselves simply don’t have the clout to overcome the accumulated power of special interests without the active, sustained support of those of us who elected them.
So my decision was to focus my energy not on a political campaign, but rather on the lynchpin for progressive change: energizing broad-based civic engagement and more active citizenship. That’s the core mission of two projects that have my full attention. The first is Immense Possibilities Radio. If what you’ve read so far interests you, let me offer two links that give a much fuller sense of the project.
1) A recent magazine article that places IPR squarely in the current political context. 2) IPR’s new, still-modest website.
Right now IPR is at a critical stage of development, looking for allies who want to see this kind of programming take root and spread. If you’re ready to help, or simply want to be kept updated on our progress, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oh, and the second project? I’m glad you asked. It’s a book I’m currently launching called UNAFRAID: A Novel of the Possible. To quickly grasp its essence, and how it relates to the larger purpose by reading this.
[Jeff Golden, talk-show host extraordinaire, has contributed several posts to Pop Impulse, including his series from the Yearly KOS progressive blogger's convention last year - The Author]