Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Special Yiddish Hour this Sunday

For those of you who celebrated the holidays, a sweet and healthy new year.

This Sunday, Oct. 4, I hope you can tune in to a special edition of the Yiddish Hour at 10am on KBOO 90.7fm (for those of you outside the Portland area, you can stream the program live online at I'll be featuring performances from "Happy Hour with Sholom Aleichem," stories by the incomparable SA read by actors from the Jewish Theatre Collaborative, directed by Sacha Reich. Sacha herself will be on the air for a special story about Sukkot, and will fill us in on the JTC's upcoming programs for Jewish Book Month in November and December.

This program is part of KBOO's fall membership drive. I know, I know, nobody wants to listen to a radio show during a membership drive, with its constant demand that you, the audience, step up and support the station. Believe me, as a 20+ year non-commercial radio listener and member, I get it. I'd be happy to never be subjected to another membership drive again, either as a listener or a host.


Without audience support during the membership drive, programs like the Yiddish Hour and radio stations like KBOO will cease to exist. That is not hyberbole, just an inconvenient truth (sorry, Al). These are desperate times for grass-roots-run organizations like KBOO, which gets more than 80% of its funding directly from listeners who become members. I know that many of you tune in regularly, whether or not I am hosting, to hear the music and interviews we present on the Yiddish Hour every week. I know that you value the unique programming we offer on the Yiddish Hour. A lot of you have gone out of your way to tell me how much you enjoy listening to the show, and that you have made us "destination radio" on Sunday mornings. That means a lot to me, and to my co-hosts. Without KBOO, a whole lot of unique programs will disappear, including the Yiddish Hour.

Here's the thing: what we offer on the Yiddish Hour can't be found anywhere else in NW Oregon. If that matters to you, please make a point of calling us during the drive on Sunday and becoming a member of KBOO. The specific amount is unimportant; it could be as little as $5 or as much as your personal financial situation allows. What matters is that you show your support for the show and the station. If you're in Portland, you can call us at (503) 232-8818; if you're outside of the Portland metro area, you can call us toll-free at 1-877-500-5266. We'd prefer you to call if you can, because the ringing phones really give a boost to those of us at the station, not to mention all the volunteers who are waiting to take your call, but you can also become a member online at If you join online, please mention the Yiddish Hour in the comments section.

For those of you who have issues with some of KBOO's other programs, I understand and share your concerns. My co-host, Ed Kraus, is working on a new show about Jewish news and current events to offer different perspectives about Jewish issues than what is presently available on KBOO. I encourage you to listen to his debut show, Shalom Portland, and let the Program Director, Chris Merrick, know that you'd like it to stay on the air. You can contact him at

In addition, I think it's important to remember that KBOO is a community radio station, which means it presents all kinds of programs with all kinds of viewpoints. I don't agree with or even like a fair amount of what I hear on KBOO, but I look at it this way: Bernice Johnson Reagon, co-founder of Sweet Honey in the Rock, once said, with regard to building coalitions, "If you're comfortable with everyone in your coalition, then your coalition isn't big enough." The same is true of community. You don't have to agree with everything KBOO puts out on the air; I certainly don't. But I don't need to agree with or even like everyone in my community to support and value the uniqueness of that community.

Thanks for your help; hope you'll join me on Sunday.

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