In 1981, Arlen Diamond, General Manager of Springfield’s KSMU, a fledgling public radio station at the time, asked the question “We need help covering topics relating to local government, civic engagement and public services. Would the League be able to help us with this weekly program?” And so began a now 40-year partnership between the NPR station and the League of Women Voters of Southwest Missouri as they embodied the public affairs mission before the university had the official mission.
During these decades, KSMU and League volunteers have recorded more than 2050 episodes for the “Making Democracy Work” program, airing every Monday morning at 9:45am during the local segment of the national program Morning Edition. The program was first titled “Issues of the ’80’s” and then “Issues of the ’90’s.” As 2000 neared, the name changed to the current “Making Democracy Work.” The goal of the program is to help citizens understand the role and services of government, what it means to be an engaged citizen, and how other organizations help fill a void not provided by public service. Through this partnership, this program highlights guests and topics covering local politics, civic issues, city/county updates, nonprofit resources, and programs and organizations that enhance the quality of life for our citizens and community.
Congratulations to KSMU and the League of Women voters for 40 years of supporting public affairs through their partnership!