Community And Sense of Place

Oct 16, 2013

The "community" of Norman, Ok... gathering for a 2013 Summer Breeze concert.
Credit Jim Johnson

As a junior attending the University of Oklahoma in 1991, “self” was very much my focus. I had time for little else, it seemed. After all, I was working hard to finance my way through school (and life) and wondering what my place in this world would be once I graduated when an opportunity to actually gain some experience in broadcasting came about.

Radio had been a huge a passion for as long as I could remember, but even more, it was a chance to gain practical experience in my field of study. Again, my focus was on what I might gain from the work I was to perform. Little did I realize that those seemingly menial tasks of “ripping & reading” headlines, community events calendars, and eventually hosting my own music show would lead to a much deeper understanding of the community to which I belong.

By this I don’t mean assimilation. I was pretty much Okie through-and-through, with only brief life experiences in Minnesota and the Texas panhandle to claim otherwise. No, I’m talking about an understanding that I was a part of a vibrant and unique culture.

The headlines I read informed me of the actual moving and shaking that was going on all around me. When listeners rightly corrected my pronunciation of certain cities and streets within the state I called home, I realized how much there was to learn. Moreover, I realized how much more I wanted to learn about this place I called home.

And learn I did. I simply couldn’t help it. The design, format and mission behind this seemingly innocuous radio station demanded that I learn, and not just about important dates, places, and names. I learned about my fellow man and what motivated and moved the community of listeners being served. I learned how individuals came together to beautify, preserve, address challenges and foster improvements within their communities and this state.

During pledge drives, not unlike the one KGOU is currently holding, I listened as phone volunteers shared tales of their involvement in groups, associations, committees, clubs and organizations of all types. And I was inspired to believe that I was a part of something bigger than “self”.

Now, some twenty-plus years later, I’m still inspired. It never gets old witnessing the selflessness and effort put forth by members of this community. And I sincerely hope that the efforts put forth by the staff of KGOU and you - through the stories you share and the financial support that facilitates those stories, events calendars and the like - continue to inform, enlighten, and inspire others in the same way. 


KGOU relies on voluntary contributions from readers and listeners to further its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. To contribute to our efforts, make your donation online, or contact our Membership department.