November 15, 2009 / 2009 Fall JEA/NSPA / Walsworth Live

Putting a face to the voice

Written by Tim Shedor

Today’s last session literally ended the week on a high note.

The convention officially concluded with the last session and an awards ceremony this afternoon, but I left Lincoln 5’s conference room with a huge grin.

Most of the Harbinger staff was attending a session on adding musical elements and research into online publications and multi-media, and I tagged along. The local National Public Radio station’s Laura Soto-Barra, a senior librarian in charge of fact-checking and researching stories, and Robert Goldstein, a music librarian whose job was to perfectly match music to the latest story, led the class.

It was captivating to listen to Goldstein’s stories. He usually has less than an hour to do it, or even less than two minutes, and his CD library clears the 70,000 mark. It sounded like a despicable job, but somehow Goldstein made the best of it. It’s rare to find someone who still believes in radio, and I admire anyone who has enough perseverance and passion to keep working in the electromagnetic spectrum despite the woes of their colleagues. And he’s a part of the NPR, the greatest broadcast network to grace transistors. They’re audible gold.

Background: I was raised on the AM airwaves of NPR Chicago. My mom would play it in the kitchen, in the car on the way to kindercare and in the office down the hall from my bedroom. For a long time the lull and drone of non-stop talk filled with big words and unpronounceable places was boredom incarnate. I hated it.

But in middle school, I began to appreciate the silky smooth voices and the oddballs that came onto “All Things Considered.” And after I recently found the iTunes Podcast from the NPR network, I’ve permanently cured my boredom with fandom.

When the speakers concluded their lectures, I walked straight to Goldstein and asked him to sign the bumper stickers Soto-Barra passed out earlier. I just so happened to have my lucky blue Sharpie, and he happily obliged. He even gave me a full page in my notebook, autographed and dedicated to my momma. No doubt that’ll stay on the fridge for months.

I’m Tim Shedor and this is Walsworth Live. Thanks for reading.

Tim Shedor