‘Here & Now’ in Yuma and Boston:
Npr program broadcast live Friday from KAWC studio
‘It’s hard to explain to the country what’s going on if you don’t go there and do it there,” said Peter O’dowd, senior editor for NPR program Here & Now. “I think that’s the benefit of leaving my office in Phoenix coming here and talking firsthand to the people who are experiencing your story.”
O’dowd explained he and one of his editors in Boston decided it would be a good idea to end a series he’d been working on by coming down to the heart of the matter, “which is here in Yuma and in the Imperial Valley in California. I’ve been tracking what’s going on with the Colorado River, the extreme shortage there and how it’s impacting farmers and if it’s impacting farmers now, what it will look like in the future if things like climate change and overallocation of the river don’t change.”
KAWC General Manager Dave Riek explained that it took some special equipment to make hosting O’dowd possible but on Friday morning from 10 a.m. to noon, KAWC 88.9 FM broadcast live and was heard on NPR stations across the U.S. and the world.
Riek stated that the the equipment “creates a situation where (O’dowd) can sit at our studio but he sounds like he’s in Boston with the other hosts, the program gets assembled in Boston and then goes out over satellite to 450 NPR stations all around the world.”
One focus of the show concerned Arizona’s border issues and KAWC Host/reporter Lisa C. Sturgis’ coverage of the congressional hearing in Yuma on Thursday turned out to be her network debut as she shared tapes with O’dowd and remarked on her observations of the situation. Sturgis said she considered the moment fulfilling for herself but also found the ordeal as a whole a big positive for the station.
“It is a big deal,” she said. “It’s a big deal especially for a radio station like KAWC where we basically are a public radio station, we basically operate on the kindness of the college and the generosity of the general public. We have a very small staff, there’s a news director and one reporter and three hosts and so to get this kind of recognition, it’s kind of special. And it’s big that they recognize that Yuma has events that are newsworthy but it’s even more special when they turn to local journalists to say, ‘Give us your perspective.’”
“I’m really proud that they’re here,” KAWC News and Operations Manager Lou Gum said. “I feel like the station has worked really hard to be a part of this network and show them that we could contribute good news stories and good news effort and I’m just really proud that that was noticed by our major network partner and that they’re here. And I hope that means more partnerships in the future for us … I’m just really pleased and I’m really proud of my team for the work that they did this week.”
While the show won’t broadcast again on KAWC, content from the show will be available online. Folks can visit both https://www.kawc.org/ and https://www.wbur. org/radio/programs/ hereandnow.