Here is a fond idea: Public radio carries the stories of a nation; it is open enough to let all sorts of voices pass through, to let poets and observers and citizen storytellers talk about life as they know it.
IN FACT, this is not just an idealistic notion. It actually works sometimes,and it is pretty much the driving principle behind Transom.org.
Here on this page, we have gathered some evidence, work that came before that proves the point. We’ll be gathering more.
Scott hitchhiked across the transom the 1983. It is something of a public radio legend. He left a failed marriage in Salt Lake City and spent several weeks thumbing his way east, carrying a tape recorder and a microphone, until he arrived at National Public Radio in Washington, DC and, with the help of Weekend All Things Considered, made a piece about his journey.
Lafayette Square Park
Here’s a piece Scott made soon after he got to Washington. He spent several months hanging with the mostly homeless protesters living across from the White House in Lafayette Square Park.
After Labor Day
In the fall of 1999, Carol showed up at the doorstep of Atlantic Public Media and WCAI/WNAN with a couple pages of writing. Her writing was lovely, and we got her work to national air on NPR’s All Things Considered. She is now a regular contributor to ATC and has a nice book contract. Amen.
One year later, Carol wrote a love letter about public radio. Anything is possible. Amen.
Fire And Ice Cream
Brent, like many, was inspired by true stories on public radio, the kind that often appear on This American Life. He brought this one to us, and it became his first contribution to public radio, airing, in fact, on This American Life.
This should offer consolation. It is a collage assembled by Jay Allison in the early 80s containing the voices of artists trying to be heard, relentlessly.