On March 7, 1968 Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, died in the crash of a MiG 15 training jet. Also on that day, BBC broadcast the news in color for the first time. US forces in Vietnam launched Operation Coronado XII, a sweep of the Mekong Delta. Cream played the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco, but “Love is Blue” by Paul Mauriat topped the Billboard Hot 100. “The Confessions of Nat Turner” by William Stryon led the New York Times Best Seller list. And, of course, North Country Public Radio went on the air for the first time, broadcasting as WSLU from a single fm transmitter in St. Lawrence County.
There’s been a lot of water under the bridge since then. Forty-five is thought to be an awkward time in life. Kids are getting ready to leave the nest, if they haven’t already. In many professions, the most creative years may be behind, leaving one to supervise the work of fresher faces. There is an expectation of predictability and stability. And it can happen with institutions and organizations, too. Middle-aged–it rhymes with stale, with dull.
It doesn’t have to be that way. I was 45 in 1998, twenty years into a career in printing and publication design. But for the previous year or two, I’d been fooling around with something called the worldwide web–just a couple of phone modem boings and a very long page-load away from anyone in the world. Now I’m fifteen years into a new career as one of the world’s oldest web geeks (and still listening to Cream). There’s time to start over in life, sometimes a number of times. And that can also be true for organizations, like NCPR.
I joined NCPR at one of those start-over points, in 2001. The “new media” of that day has in many ways become the “old hat” of today. But I take that to mean that NCPR is reaching another inflection point in its history. Something new is about to happen, again. I can hardly wait.
Thanks to everyone for their birthday wishes today. Whatever is next on the agenda, I know you will be there with us.