Below is a special year-end video message from Rima Dael. A transcript of her address follows. To donate to WSHU, please click here.
What an unprecedented and unpredictable year it has been.
Climate change, a global pandemic, racial reckoning in our country and the elections. The impact of this year’s events is far greater than anyone could have anticipated. This has been a challenging year for everyone and I want to thank you for being there for us through these tough times. Our donors and monthly sustainers played a major role in getting us through the past few months, especially when many businesses had to close their doors and pause their support. So, if you’re a contributor, thank you. Really, thank you for keeping us here. Of course, we must add a special thank you to Sacred Heart University who continue to support and value our work.
So, what happens next? Throughout 2020, we’ve all asked this question over and over.
One quote from Audre Lorde, civil rights activist and poet, comes to mind to help guide us forward: "Only by learning to live in harmony with your contradictions can you keep it all afloat."
There is truly a lot packed into that quote that we can learn from as a country, and for WSHU, what does that mean? Well, with finite resources we must continue our work to re-define ourselves and we must remain relevant to our communities. There will always be competing priorities for us. We manage by our mission and we remain resilient by responding well to continuous change, adversity and disruption. Our success and survival will be measured by how we seize this moment and use it as a moment of opportunity.
And, let me address a big part of what happens next – I am succeeding WSHU’s founding General Manager.
As WSHU’s new General Manager and only the second in station history, I am the first woman and person of color to assume this role amidst the on-going pandemic and uncertain economy. I am ready for this transition. Our team is ready for this transition. We are working hard to ensure we institutionalize the knowledge that has existed before and cross-train well. We have wonderful partners at National Public Radio, Corporation for Public Broadcasting and two news hubs: The New England News Collaborative and The NY State Public Radio Exchange. We also continue our partnership with Stony Brook University where our Long Island News Bureau is located. This is the station that George Lombardi built and we will continue the legacy of news, classical music and culture on WSHU.
To ensure our survival and future sustainability, the past few months we have focused on the following:
- Diversifying our revenue streams with digital underwriting, grants and new partnerships
- Expanding professional training for administrative staff and the newsroom
- Increasing digital engagement with WSHU audiences
- Examining what Diversity & Inclusion means for our music programs and news coverage
To close, I’d like to share a quote from Edward R. Murrow: “I simply cannot accept that there are, on every story, two equal and logical sides to an argument."
WSHU continues to strive to be an anti-racist organization. As we shared over the summer, WSHU stands in solidarity with all those who fight for social justice. We have no tolerance for racism, bullying, violence or discrimination of any kind. We will not balance any anti-racist reporting with a racist perspective. This work must continue. It isn’t about balance--it is about fairness. It isn’t about equality--it is about equity. We continue our work around diversity and inclusion to ensure we include more voices from communities around our region. We will embark on translating some of our stories in Spanish and share them with Latinx news organizations. Our mission statement closes with this sentiment – WSHU Public Radio is committed to making our community a better place to live. This will always be at the heart of what we do.
No matter what happens in 2021, it’s clear today that the relentless pace of the past year won’t let up anytime soon. That also means the crucial news and cultural reporting of WSHU can’t slow down, especially at a time when staying accurately informed is paramount. Locally curated classical music must also continue to provide a refuge of beauty and calm. The restorative power of classical music has never been so vitally important.
With the challenges of next year almost upon us, your strong year-end support is needed to help ensure WSHU will be prepared to meet your needs in 2021. If you gave during our recent pledge drive, please accept our sincere gratitude. If you did not, I ask you to please consider making a contribution today. Thank you for listening and supporting WSHU Public Radio. You make the difference!
Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy holiday season.
A. Rima Dael