Letter to the Editors: NPR producer supports KHSU

HSU alumni speaks out against KHSU shutdown
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HSU alumni speaks out against KHSU shutdown

By Ashley Bailey

Dear Chancellor White,

I am writing to express my rejection of the recent unilateral dismantling of KHSU by the Humboldt State University administration. As a producer for National Public Radio’s “Here and Now” program, a Humboldt State University alum (class of 2010) and an Arcata native, I have benefited greatly from the existence of KHSU and have several concerns to express over this decision.

I know KHSU plays a huge role in the community in Humboldt County. I think you know that by now, too. And yet, the university did not properly support the station or communicate about drastic changes, as evidenced by the outcry from the people who pay for the programming, the staff who make the content and all the listeners who have written about their frustrations, anger and sadness.

The way that the university handled the reorganization of KHSU goes against everything Humboldt stands for. Humboldt State’s mission statement says it serves students from around the world by offering them “access to affordable, high-quality education that is responsive to the needs of a fast-changing world.”

As a professional journalist working in a volatile environment, I can say that a rural community news outlet working to educate people about the truth is essential right now. Gutting it without input from anyone from the public is irresponsible and shameful. Public radio is, and should always be, driven by the public.

I believe there is room for conversation about the future of KHSU and closing the door now without further discussion after decades of service is unconscionable.

The reason I feel so strongly about this is that I know firsthand how important KHSU is. I was the first person in my family to graduate from college and got my first taste of what NPR sounded like listening to KHSU as a student at Humboldt State. I joined the station as a volunteer during my senior year, eager to help. I was trained to do on-air announcements and run the board – opportunities I would not necessarily have had at a larger commercial station.

KHSU even aired some of my first broadcast stories before any other stations would. I volunteered for the pledge drive and heard from listeners about how much the local programs meant to them. This was a huge educational experience for me. I took what I learned and worked my way up to where I am now, producing content for NPR. This rural station was a valuable resource to so many. I can’t believe the disrespect Humboldt State administrators have shown to the people who worked and volunteered there and to the entire community that listens.

I ask that you, Chancellor White, reinstate KHSU’s long-term staff and reverse the related budget issues, as expressed in the recent Humboldt State Senate Resolution on KHSU. I believe there is room to correct what happened here and give others in the community the same opportunities that I had to succeed.

Sincerely,

Ashley Bailey

https://www.wbur.org/inside/staff/ashley-bailey

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