June 13, 2020 — Local community radio station, KXCR, has moved forward with management and programming changes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The moves have been made cautiously over the past few months, adding a new Board President and a new series of on-air discussions for station listeners.
Gigi Lassan has taken over the organization’s reins and, as KXCR’s new director, hopes to continue to grow the station’s number of listeners while also putting the station on more secure financial footing.
“As the new elected KXCR president, I wish of course to pursue our mission: Inform, educate and entertain. KXCR was specifically created to share information by way of non-commercial educational radio,” Lassen said. “We provide a broadcasting platform with emphasis on community and keep us informed on the latest issues. I am also hoping to broaden our base of support, as well as interact with community members and introduce more live programs.”
One of the new programs that Lassan and station manager Larry Bloomfield were interested in offering was based on a model that was nearly a century old and used to great acclaim by former President Franklin D. Roosevelt and came to be known quite famously as “Fireside Chats.”
“In a COVID world, the question was what we can do to inform our community, our friends and our neighbors about the associated cost of the pandemic as it relates to education, health, housing and other critical areas to the rural coast. It is information that matters to us. So, the ‘Fireside Chat,’ which is broadcast live, came about after reflecting on the positive and successful attributes of a previous administration,” Lassen said.
President Roosevelt initiated the Fireside Chats in 1933 order to share his thoughts and plans to deal with the serious financial challenges of the post-Depression era with Americans across the country. The chats continued until 1944 and Roosevelt delivered a total of 30 addresses over the 4,422 days of his presidency.
During that time, Roosevelt talked with the American people about his New Deal initiatives and, most importantly, World War II.
The calmness and strength of Franklin’s presentations assured the country that the serious challenges presented by the depression, growing fascism and wide-scale unemployment could — and would — be handled by the administration. Roosevelt often began his chats with the now familiar phrase “My fellow Americans.”
Lassen envisions the station’s new series of live, in-studio broadcasts as an extension of the idea that there is a familiarity and intimacy that people sitting in the comfort of their own home, which allows them to relax and listen to that week’s discussion.
“FDR spoke with familiarity to millions of Americans about the current social issues. For KXCR, what better way to interact and convey this massive new information received every day to our listeners? The Fireside Chat was a perfect platform,” Lassen said. “Things have been pretty chaotic lately. I see lots of anxiety, anger and a divided government. I do hope that our new KXCR live program can bring a few answers and perhaps even some solutions.”
The next KXCR Fireside Chat is scheduled to be streamed live this Tuesday, June 16, beginning at 5 p.m. on FM 90.7.
The topic will be understanding and implementing new federal programs, including implementation of new tele-health programs, as well as how to meet the demand for PPE.
Participants in the discussion will include Representative Caddy McKeown, HD 9; Representative David Brock Smith, HD 1; Robert Duehmig, Interim Director, Oregon Office of Rural Health at OHSU; Jacqueline Mercer, Chief Executive Officer, Native American Rehabilitation Association of the Northwest; Senator Lew Fredrick, SD 22; and Senator Arnie Roblan, SD 9.
For information about volunteer opportunities, visit www.KXCR.net.