Friday, April 01, 2011

Telling AIR I'm leaving

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2 emails to Association of Independents in Radio:


I just wanted to say good bye and thanks for the support and information I've received here.

I'm homeless. I've been actively seeking affordable housing, but there is none in New Mexico ("Weekly Alibi" newspaper). I look every week.

I live without sewage, running water, heat or air conditioning, in a travel trailer, in the drive way of a house I rented last year that is uninhabitable. I'm 100 miles, round trip, from provisions. I have no car; there's no public transportation. So I have to hitch hike.

I tried to save up for my AIR membership this year. But, if I find a place, I'll need every dime I have to hire someone to haul my trailer there. So I cannot take the risk of renewing my membership this year.

I leaned a lot here. Thanks.

I've thought, all day, about what to say. I don't have AIR's permission to say this, but they discounted my membership 2 years in a row. My circumstances have been so bad, the past 2 years, that my life is, literally, in danger. But, on $700/month, with NO support, it's taking longer than two years to recover; I'm barely surviving.

Last year, I was robbed and stranded, hundreds of miles from my animals and possessions, with only $200 and only 2 weeks to find housing. Many of my animals were killed and I lost most of what I owned, including 30 years' worth of air checks of programs I've done, all over the country, as a volunteer at community radio stations.

I called an AIR member, the only phone number I had memorized, and begged for a ride. I was given the ride, but told not to speak, at all. Once I found this hideous place to "live," I sent that person an email, asking to be treated with respect, explaining that my life was in danger and that I had nobody else to ask for help. The reply was insulting; my note was called a "screed," as though it were just a rant of no significance. I had forgotten my place, I realize now. I was ordered never to call or email that person again, was immediately fired as that production company's transcriber and told never to ask for a professional or personal reference from that person again.

That person was my radio production mentor, access to markets and liaison to NPR. That person is in a position of significant influence with AIR, PRX and NPR.

I had already been branded as a loose cannon and made unwelcome at our state's largest public radio station. My productions were sabotaged by management and I was called "crazy." I was even hit and screamed at by paid staff there. I have lost all privileges as a volunteer there and any staff or volunteers I contact let me know I am not welcome to do so. The person of whom I spoke, above, is closely associated with that station.

I cannot produce radio a mile from the BNSF railroad tracks, in a travel trailer, on a windy prairie; it's too noisy. And I can't drive anywhere to record interviews. I'm trapped and abandoned.

If I had a professional career, credit cards and alphabet soup after my name, that station would fall all over itself to get me to participate. I'm very talented, have a good heart, and a great researcher, good writer and, despite my broken teeth and lisp, a good voice for radio.

But I am branded as a loser, a pariah, an embarrassment, a threat to the status quo of a public media cartel with cozy relationships to very influential politicians, entertainers, business leaders and wealthy donors. My humble documentaries about brain injuries, Native American veterans with Post Traumatic Stress, homeless Queer kids, sustainablity, subsistence living with grace and dignity, poverty, homelessness, disability, etc. are not welcome here. And neither am I.

I know I'm not welcome and never was. I bent over backward to reassure them, to try to build their confidence in me. I worked five times harder than others around me to show that a person in poverty, with brain injuries and post traumatic stress, can make at least as valuable a contribution to society as anybody. It was a wasted effort. They were determined to silence and shun me.

So, I'm not welcome. But I'm too destitute to move, to start over. I'm trapped and I'm alone. And all that talk about nonviolent conflict resolution, tolerance, acceptance and treating people with dignity makes great radio, but I'm not seeing it displayed to me.

Meantime, my neighbors throw beer bottles and rocks at me, threaten to burn me out and kill my animals and call me the most vile and hateful things. They even think I worship the devil, because I have goats.

So, enjoy your career, dude. The least you could have done was give me closing credits for helping, transcribing when I had no access to internet and had to endure the humiliations of the Fort Sumner librarian, as I transferred your transcripts from my thumb drive to their computer, to email them to you. I'm a hard worker. I did my job as well as I could under circumstances that would have killed a weaker person.

I will be back. And you will be ashamed at the way you treated me when my life was so endangered, I lost control of my bowels.



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