Jack Mitchell is pretty cool. He was National Public Radio’s first hire, co-creator of All Things Considered, and rose from there to chair NPR’s Board of Directors. He’s now at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and just wrote a book on the history of public radio.
I have yet to read Listener Supported but Jack just did an hour-long interview on our local public radio station (MP3 link / RA link) and he gave a colorful description of the political origins of NPR, at one point comparing the initial work environment to a commune (check stereotypes at the door, please). He also honestly and deftly handled some critical calls about the state of public broadcasting today.
At Madison I had a chance to take Jack’s class on “public, community and alternative media,” and it was pretty good – he’s got a nice, dry wit. He even let me take half a period to spell everyone about the days I had missed class for the Seattle Mosquito Fleet operation. Knowing public radio has roots in folks like Jack gives me a semblance of hope for its future.