It’s hard to believe, but at one time, we did not have a KBOO Youth Program. Volunteer Judy Fiestal changed that. She helped create “The Underground” youth-radio show and secured funding for the first year of our Youth Advocate position. Judy has now taken a leadership position as a board member where she is heading up several important projects.
Like so many volunteers, Judy heard the call to “come on down and get involved.” “I couldn’t believe that they would really let me do something like run the air-room control board. I engineered labor radio, did some reporting: It gave me skills that I didn’t have before.”oo
Along with on-air work, Judy got involved with youth at KBOO. “I wanted to do something more adult oriented, but I realized there wasn’t any real outlet for kids. My son Jacob put in a proposal for the youth show, The Underground, in 2002. I engineered the board, he got his friends involved, and that segued into The Youth Collective.” She had the idea to write a grant for a paid staff position, and through the Radio & Television News Directors Foundation, we hired Andrew Stelzer as our first Youth Advocate.
Judy has parlayed her KBOO experience into additional professional and volunteer opportunities. “When I volunteered for American Jewish World Service, they (delete: initially) said that they had no positions in my field. But based on my work with youth at KBOO, they offered to send me to Mexico to help start a youth radio program on sexual health and reproductive rights. I jumped at the chance.” She is currently working on a grant project with Renaissance Arts Academy at Marshall High School in Lents. She and music teacher Judy Rose have set up a Mac lab where students are taught to produce audio pieces that are aired on KBOO, based on interviews of local musicians who come and perform in their classroom.
Judy has served on our board since 2006. She has taken an active role in our strategic-planning process, coordinating our survey efforts and helping to create community meetings. “I’m also engineering for Carmen on ‘Buscando America’ and Mariane on ‘Africa on Fire, as well as the news.’ I meet all sorts of people here, and it’s very exciting to me.”
Judy moved to Oregon from the east coast in 1971. “I felt a strong affinity here, and I enjoy the natural areas—hiking, kayaking, cross-country skiing. The Cascades, the coast and the high desert are all so close.”
Beyond the technical skills of audio editing and organizational development, what has Judy learned at KBOO? “Hearing people express what’s important to them, giving them the time and space and being open in that regard…I was a lot shier, and I wasn’t willing to give myself much of a voice, but KBOO helped me to learn how to share how I feel about things…It’s been fun watching people who started with no skills develop into professional broadcasters.” What else has she learned at the station? “If I do something with a good heart and a good intention, even if someone is critical, I can move forward in a positive way.”