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KGOU Listener Profile: John Sumida

Claire Donnelly with listener John Sumida
Jolly Brown
KGOU's Claire Donnelly with listener John Sumida in our studios.

An Oklahoma transplant from Hawaii, KGOU listener John Sumida likes the different viewpoints and perspectives he gets from public radio.

Q: Please tell us about yourself.

John Sumida: My name is John Sumida and I live in Norman. I grew up in Hawaii. I've lived in Honolulu, Seattle, San Diego and now Norman, and every time I move to a new location that's one of the first things that I do is find the local public radio stations and program them into my radio.

Q: Why do you listen to public radio/KGOU?

JS: I like the way that NPR presents the news because I think that it does come across about as non-biased as I've heard from any news organization. I listen to KGOU because I think it gives a really balanced perspective on the news. I like the fact that you'll hear voices from both sides of the "political spectrum." I think that's important because, you know, it's easy to listen to people who share your opinions. It's more difficult to listen to somebody who may challenge those opinions and force you to reconsider some issues from a different perspective.

There are some other programs that I listen to throughout the day and other radio stations which purport to be news sources but in reality it's just the host of the show giving his or her spin on the news.

"[T]he fact that KGOU is on year after year is a strong testimony to the fact that it's a service that is, not only in my opinion, needed, but it's definitely something that listeners want."

Q: Where, when and how do you do most of your listening?

JS: I usually listen to KGOU in the morning when I'm getting ready for work and then in my drive into work, and on the weekends whenever I'm cooking or cleaning the house I'll have it on in the background.

Q: How did you first discover public radio?

JS: I was drawn in by This American Life and then by extension just listening to a lot of the other programming, and I found that I enjoyed it just as much as just that show.

Q: What are your favorite programs and why?

JS: This American Life, Morning Edition, and Fresh Air. From the time that I first started listening to it until this day I think that Terry Gross is a national treasure. One thing that I like about Terry Gross is that not only is she very good at what she does from the standpoint of being an interviewer, but she definitely does her prep work and she asks the questions that I think a lot of people including myself would ask if given the opportunity.

Some of the other programs that I listen to include the Sunday blues [The Weekend Blues] which is nice in that I haven't come across another radio station that plays that type of music. And it's always nice to me when I can listen to a station that plays music that I don't necessarily hear every day. It opens me up to different artists, different songs. And as a musician I can appreciate that.

Q: What does public radio mean to you?

JS: It really is one of those situations where the listener has the opportunity to directly vote with his or her dollars. And I know that KGOU gets federal funding. [Me: KGOU's federal CPB grant amounts to about 10 percent of operating income.] So in order to keep the station on the air they rely on the support of listeners. And I think that the fact that KGOU is on year after year is a strong testimony to the fact that it's a service that is, not only in my opinion, needed, but it's definitely something that listeners want.

Q: What motivated you to make your first contribution to KGOU?

JS: What initially motivated me to donate to KGOU was that I felt that it was important to support a news organization that I felt was representative of voices on issues that didn't necessarily coincide with my own. And so whenever I'm faced with views from people that differ from mine that encourages me to challenge my own beliefs, encourages me to go and do some further research into the issues and ultimately makes me a more informed listener.

So I decided to subscribe to the New York Times recently. I felt that it was important to support them outside of the five or 10 or however many free articles you get every month. I felt that that was an important news source. And by extension I think that it's important to support public radio as well.

As a community-supported public radio station, KGOU relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online, or by contacting our Membership department.

Laura works to fund journalism and entertainment programming on public radio through individual listener contributions and other funding streams. She is a former radio journalist at KTOK, WKY and other commercial radio stations.
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