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NPR co-founder returns to his WBFO roots

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Daemen College
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Bill Siemering is NPR First Director of Programming. He co-founded NPR's Board of Directors and wrote its mission statement.

Radio remains an essential part of the communications spectrum, offering everything from news to education to culture. That was the message one of the founders of NPR brought to Daemen College Monday evening.

For the first speaker to the college’s new Leadership and Entrepreneurship in the Arts bachelor’s program, Daemen brought Bill Siemering online to talk about his long history at WBFO in the 1960s, the founding of NPR in 1970 and his Developing Radio Partners organization, which works with African stations on issues like climate change and health for women and youth.

Siemering quoted martyred South American Catholic Bishop Oscar Romero on building for the future.

"We plant seeds that will one day grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing they will hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capabilities. We cannot do everything and there is a sense of liberation realizing that. This enables us to something and do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning,” he said.

During a question and answer period, Siemering was asked about misinformation.

"We heard about that yesterday down in Florida. It’s really scary. I think it’s extremely scary," he said. "You can have different opinions about the Vietnam War, that’s a fact. This a different reality and an intentional lie."

Siemering said it remains vital to NPR to remain attached to truth in a time when facts and truth are under attack.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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