NPR Founding Member to Give Public Lecture on "Radio at the Ends of the Earth"

By Mary Beth Spina

Release Date: May 4, 2001

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- William Siemering, one of National Public Radio's founding members, will give a talk and slide presentation on developing radio in new democracies at 7:30 p.m. on May 11 in the auditorium of Allen Hall on the UB South (Main Street) Campus.

The presentation by Siemering, a former general manager of WBFO 88.7 FM, UB's NPR affiliate, will be free and open to the public.

Siemering will receive a SUNY honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree during UB's general commencement ceremony on May 13.

As a special adviser to the Media Program of the Open Society Institute -- a private operating and grantmaking foundation that promotes the development and maintenance of open societies around the world -- Siemering has assisted in developing local radio, often working with young people who are just discovering the power of the medium to help build community, improve health and entertain.

Since 1997, he has been involved in the Rural Radio Project, which is devoted to expanding and improving media coverage in sparsely populated areas of Mongolia and fostering civil society values in the country.

In his talk, entitled "Radio at the Ends of the Earth," he will show slides from Mongolia, as well as South Africa, Mozambique, Kosovo and Sierra Leone.

While serving as general manager of WBFO, Siemering transformed the station from an informal, student-run organization into a full-time professional broadcast station with a reputation for groundbreaking programming. He went on to lead award-winning, public-radio stations in Minnesota and Philadelphia, creating the network's flagship 90-minute news program, "All Things Considered," and also developing "Fresh Air," a popular, live-interview and arts show. His achievements earned him the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's highest tribute, the Edward R. Murrow Award, and last May he received NPR's top honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award.