Married for more than a decade, Joel Barrett and David Seymour moved to Kansas City from South Bend, Indiana, in 2016. In that short time, they’ve become loyal KCUR supporters.
How did you first become interested in public radio?
J: My sister is 12 years older than me, and when she was in college she would listen to NPR. I thought my sister was pretty cool and smart, so that got me interested. Now, the public radio station wherever I live is always the first preset on my radio dial. It’s kind of like that familiar friend you can find wherever you go.
D: I think my first experience with public radio was when I was in undergrad. I didn’t necessarily become an avid listener then, because I was in college, and you know how college life can take you in different directions. But my interest in and appreciation for it definitely started to grow then.
What were your first impressions of KCUR?
J: I’ve lived in a lot of different places and KCUR is by far the finest public radio station from any place I’ve lived. It’s really dynamic and has everything.
D: The range of programming is just fabulous. I feel like I learn something every day – from the local to regional to national level.
Why do you support KCUR?
J: I’ve become increasingly aware of how important public radio is in a very noisy world of media. KCUR is like a voice of calm and reason in the middle of a storm. And I don't want that to go away.
D: Public radio has been a very, very important way for me to be connected to the community and to make sense out of all the noise that we're often surrounded by. Sometimes it’s hard to know what report to trust, but with KCUR, you know you’re getting some good information.
What role has KCUR played in your transition to Kansas City?
J: KCUR has been a prime source for learning, whether it’s concerts or artists or a lecture or neighborhood issues. It’s been very helpful for us understanding and getting involved in our city.
D: Not being from the area, we’re not really familiar with some of the history or politics. So it’s great to hear from elected officials on KCUR and at KCUR events. It gives us a judge of their character and helps us understand their positions on things.
J: Within the first 30 days we were here, we heard an interview with a woman who had written a book about how Kansas City, Missouri, is divided by the interstate system. So then we started learning about the Paseo and Troost, and we started driving and realizing, “Oh, that’s what she was talking about!” So KCUR has really helped us get a picture of Kansas City history.
How would you describe the KCUR community?
J: It’s interesting – so many of the friends we’ve made in Kansas City have ended up being interviewed on KCUR. Almost every month somebody calls and says “so-and-so is on KCUR, you have to listen!” So it’s cool that people we didn’t necessarily meet through KCUR are also listeners and part of that community.
D: We have met so many kindred spirits when we go to KCUR events. And by kindred spirits, I mean people who have a passion for community, for engagement, for knowledge. I think if we had a little more of that in our world, I don’t think we’d be as polarized and divided as we are.
How is KCUR different from other forms of media?
J: I think everybody’s a little burnt out from media overload. We used to talk about the 24-hour news cycle, now it’s more like the 24-minute news cycle. Things change so fast and chaotically. KCUR is kind of a calming factor, and I know they’re not going to hash and re-hash every story. If I share a story from KCUR, I know it’s going to have been well thought out. I know I'm not getting a sales pitch or a lot of spin bias.
D: I think people are in various states of desperation and depression for a whole variety of reasons. I notice some of it at work –people just want to get the truth, they want to get to the bottom of things, without any fluff or company lines.
J: Somebody once said, “Why do all the people on NPR have such weird names?” And the answer is because they use their real names. To me that is symbolic of everything that happens on public radio. They’re not trying to gloss over anything.
Lindsey Mayfield is a project manager with UMKC's Strategic Marketing and Communications department.