Disclosure: This post is made possible by WBHM 90.3 FM, our media partner for the Bloganista Mini-Con presented by Laura Vincent Printing & Design, but all opinions are my own.
“OH-EM-GEE! Mrs. Bowser, I just heard you on the radio!”
I have to admit that there’s nothing quite like the feeling I get when my students (I’m a teacher by day/ blogger by night) run into my classroom squealing because they’ve just heard me on WBHM 90.3 FM, Birmingham’s NPR affiliate.
I started blogging for WBHM.org about two years ago on race and gender issues. The gig evolved and eventually the folks in charge decided to occasionally put me on air to discuss my essays. At first hearing my own voice made me cringe. “I sound so country!” I’d exclaim. “I sound like I have the I.Q. of a sweet potato,” I once told my husband. Then I realized I wasn’t practicing what I preach. I often tell my students to embrace and adore their Southern accents and to not be ashamed of them. It’s the same philosophy I followed when I went to grad school in California at UC Berkeley. I refused to try to conceal my accent. I refused to stop saying “Y’all” and I boasted about my ability to stretch a one-syllable word into three. Because I was so proud of my accent and of my home the notion to ridicule the way I talked or where I was from seemed silly and so no one did. In fact, instead my classmates were all eager to visit the South.
Hearing my voice on WBHM helped me love my accent again and reminded me that what I was saying was much more important than how I sounded saying it. When people mentioned my WBHM segments to me they weren’t talking about my voice, they were talking about my ideas. My pieces broached topics like feminism, colorism, and my love for Birmingham. I even confessed on air that I hate Christmas! Those are the things people wanted to discuss with me, not my accent.
If you’ve ever thought about pitching a story idea to WBHM, now is your chance!
Currently the bosses at WBHM are seeking to include more listener commentary in the station’s programming. Check out this piece by John Houser on biking in Birmingham for an example of the kinds of pieces they’d like to publish and read the commentary guidelines for more details.
Pieces should present opinion or personal experience but can also be connected to the news or public affairs if they provide food for thought on the issue. Obviously, the pieces should be well-written and should show that you’re a keen observer who can read meaning into the small details of everyday life.
If you’re interested in submitting a piece email Rachel Osier Lindley at firstname.lastname@example.org or Michael Krall at email@example.com for more information.
Be sure to tune in to WBHM 90.3 FM daily. For the next 10 days you could hear a spot announcing the Bloganista Mini-Con presented by Laura Vincent Printing & Design as WBHM is our media partner for the event!
And please remember that WBHM is a listener-supported station. Click here to learn how you can help this station continue the great work it does for our community.