Ah, radio. My first love. Sigh.
Early in my young life I really loved radio and secretly had ambitions to work in radio one day and become a popular host.
Well, I had my opportunities in radio but I never became popular or a radio host.
But I had no idea how, um, problematic radio would become for me later in my career.
Without getting into too many details, we were dealing with a crisis at work, one that would last several months and potentially affect the health of many of our residents (and visitors).
Suddenly, our use of a specific substance, one we’d been using for decades, became “controversial” (certain people didn’t want us to use it and in many cases, they were misinformed about the substance). It didn’t help that there were numerous junk science websites with false and misleading information about it.
A Spanish-language radio station called, wanting to put someone on the air, live, to talk about our use of the substance. Me, being the Spanish speaker in our group, did the interview.
At first, the hosts were nice. Then the knives came out.
They threw out all kinds of issues at me–a so-called ban of the substance in other jurisdictions (never mind it was ok’d by the EPA for use in the US), a couple of scientists (in non-relevant fields) who condemned our use of the substance, etc.
Fortunately, I was prepared for most, but not all of these attacks.
As the summer wore on, they’d call for me to go on air with them several times. Each time I was more ready and better prepared than the last time.
Once, they started to ask me where I lived, if I had children, etc. I was ready and I cut them off before they could play the “child card” on me (and yes, by the way, I do have a child).
At the end of the day, the crisis came, and it went. Our organization dealt with it effectively, thanks to our leadership and all of our staff. I’ll never forget the work we did.
And I’ll never forget my time doing battle against ambush radio.