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Bill Siemering (Image courtesy of Daemen College)
Bill Siemering (Image courtesy of Daemen College)

NPR's first director of programming headlines Daemen College virtual event

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Mon, Feb 15th 2021 03:55 pm

Daemen College will host a virtual lecture and discussion with Bill Siemering, National Public Radio’s first director of programming, at 6 p.m. Monday, March 1. 

Siemering, who co-founded NPR’s board of directors and wrote its mission statement, will share insights based on 30 years of experience in public radio program development and station management, including his history with a medium that now reaches 60 million listeners across all platforms weekly. 

The moderated event format will also include a Q&A opportunity where virtual attendees can pose questions and engage in conversation. 

Daemen's own student-run Wildcat Media and Entertainment will provide coverage of the event, which will allow for students to engage and interact with Siemering.

The virtual event, in association with the Nancy Haberman Gacioch Entrepreneurship Lecture Series, will serve as the inaugural lecture of the college’s new Bachelor of Science in Leadership and Entrepreneurship in the Arts (LEA) program, slated to launch in the fall semester. The program has been designed to prepare students for careers as working artists and/or as highly qualified candidates for jobs within arts organizations, and was crafted with the help of 30 leading arts managers and other arts professionals with whom faculty members enjoy close working relationships. 

“As an entrepreneur, as a distinguished leader of the arts sector, and as a voice of wisdom in turbulent times, Bill is the ideal inaugural speaker to help us roll out the new LEA program, and we could not be happier,” said Dr. Robert Waterhouse, chair of the Daemen College department of visual and performing arts. “Bill has been called ‘the father of public radio.’ He and his staff developed ‘All Things Considered’ and ‘Fresh Air with Terry Gross’ into national programs. The calming, curious, informative voice of NPR, as well as NPR’s dedication to the arts and the sounds of on-the-ground reporting, are all due to Bill Siemering.” 

Siemering has a unique connection to Buffalo. As a former manager of WBFO at SUNY Buffalo in the 1960s, Siemering transformed a student activity into a full service professional radio station and created a storefront broadcast studio in the heart of the Black community, enabling residents to plan and produce 25 hours a week of their own public affairs and cultural programming. He has since worked in countries all over the world, most notably in Africa. In 2004, he founded Developing Radio Partners (DRP), an organization that enriches the programming of local stations in Africa on climate change and health for women and youth.

"It is an honor to talk with students at Daemen College as part of the inauguration of a new B.S. in Leadership and Entrepreneurship in the Arts," he said. 

Siemering quoted Lewis Hyde in his book, “The Gift,” which states, “That art that matters to us ... is received by us as a gift is received. … It is the cardinal difference between gift and commodity exchange that a gift establishes a feeling bond between two people, while the sale of commodity leaves no necessary connection.”

For more information, or to register for the event, visit daemen.edu/alumni/alumni-events.

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