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volume 3
august 2000

"This is University Forum ..."


  An interview with Jean Moore
by Thomas Völkner
  Jean Moore, emerita professor at Temple University (Philadelphia, USA), has worked for a long time as a social worker and as an administrator for social welfare. Nowadays, she is host and executive producer of the weekly radio program "University Forum" that is aired on the stations of Temple University Public Radio (TUPR) and — since 1999 — for an international audience on Radio For Peace International (RFPI). Her programs address issues such as health, discrimination, violence, history and women's issues. As a member of RFPI's International Board of Advisors, Jean Moore visited Costa Rica in January 2000 where Thomas Volkner seized the oppertunity to talk with her about her work in the field of radio communication.
1 Thomas: Jean, would you please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your background in radio broadcasting.
  Jean: Curiously enough, I took a course in radio when I was an undergraduate at Hunter College in New York in my senior year. But then I did not do anything more with it. I graduated with my bachelor's degree (Phi Beta Kappa) from Hunter, and then completed a master's from Bryn Mawr College in Social Work, and then I went on to work in various fields of social work. Let me skip over then to how I got back to radio. I went as a Vice President for Institutional Advancement to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. While there, the University's radio station manager asked me if I would do a program that might involve many of the people and professors who actually worked at the university.
  We called it "University Forum" and so I had the opportunity of interviewing people like Dr. Lamin Mbye who had been the ambassador to the United Nations as well as the ambassador to the United States from The Gambia and who was at that time a professor at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. I provided weekly programs (aired twice-weekly) along with the other primary duties of that the office of the university vice president carries. I had a wonderful time talking with different people in that particular section of the country, from other parts of the United States and also in other countries.
2 Thomas: And then you moved to Temple University in Philadelphia ...
  Jean: When I left Maryland, I came back to Temple University where I am an emerita professor in the School of Social Administration, and where I had worked for many years before going to Maryland. I decided to get involved again in radio. I was asked by the General Manager of the Temple University Public Radio network to be host and executive producer of my show, "University Forum." Temple University Public Radio is a large station airing on some 12 stations in three states. (Call letters in the Philadelphia area are WRTI - 90.1 FM) At this time it has been running number one in public radio stations in the Philadelphia area. It changed recently from an all-jazz format to classical music during the day and jazz at night. The news programs were being aired between the classics and the jazz, and that's where I began my University Forum programs. I open my show saying: "This is University Forum. I'm Jean Moore bringing you conversations with outstanding personalities on issues of interest to local, national and international communities."
  Jean Moore's was host to a group of students who were on Temple University's International Masters in Business Administration program. From left to right: Ms. Saule Segizbaeva of Kazakhstan, who had an undergraduate degree in International Banking and Finance from Kazak State Academy of Management; Dr. Jean E. Moore; Ms. Louise Nield of New Zealand, who holds a BA in Economics and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Otago, New Zealand; Mr. Martin Vogl, with a BA in Business Administration and Finance from Berufsakademie Heidenheim in Germany
3 Thomas: When did you start producing the University Forum show at WRTI?
  Jean: In September of 1997, that's when I started there. And I've been doing that continuously. I did a show that was repeated twice a week, but now that we are on a Saturday morning format, it's every Saturday morning.
4 Thomas: Do you still remember the first guest you interviewed on University Forum?
  Jean: Yes, my first guest actually was Dr. Thaddeus Mathis who is a professor in the school of Social Administration. He actually did not become the first one who was aired, because I tape in advance. The person I aired was one of the vice president, because we had a new facility at Temple and it seemed appropriate at that time to talk a bit about what this would mean and the impact it would have on the community and the role the community could play using this new facility at Temple University.
  I've had some very interesting and some very controversial topics that we have aired. One of them had to do with race relations. I have occasions to be involved with other activities, including being the president of the Fair Housing Council of suburban Philadelphia. This is a small non-profit agency, the oldest Fair Housing Council in the United States, established in 1956, that promotes open housing, encouraging adherence to the sales and rental of housing in accordance with laws that protect against discrimination based on race, sex, ethnic origin, disability or family composition. I've had a show on fair housing in which we talked about the different discriminatory practices that people encounter in trying to rent or to purchase housing. I've had shows on AIDS. My show "Living with AIDS" won a first prize Jade Crystal Award of Excellence in a national competition from The Communicators Awards.
  I've had shows on the Tuskegee Airmen who were the outstanding African-American pilots and aircraft people who served during World War II. As you know, during the time of WW II, there was extensive racial segregation in the United States, and as the airmen said to me during one of their programs — and I've done three with them ( and these shows also have won a national award), integration and relationship among the races began in the skies during the war. One of my guests was a combat WW II pilot who flew 133 missions and on his 133rd mission became a prisoner of war.
  Dr. Jean Moore with three veterans of the famed World War II "Tuskegee Airmen." Her programs with them recently received a national award as a three part Documentary, from the Broadcast Educational Association 2000 Juried Faculty Production Competition. From left to right: Capt. (retired) Luther Smith, former combat pilot and prisoner of war; Mr. Adolphus Lewis, former Flight Officer; Mr. Henry Moore, former Crew Chief; Dr. Jean E. Moore stands behind Captain Smith
5 Thomas: Jean, your show is also broadcast internationally via Radio For Peace International in Costa Rica. How did that come about?
  Jean: Very interestingly. I was helping to coordinate and chair a workshop for Dr. George Gerbner, Bell Atlantic Professor of Telecommunications at Temple University, that dealt with the importance of the digital age and how that will affect what happens in communication. Dr. Gerbner also is Director of the Cultural Environmental Movement.(I have interviewed him on the lack of diversity in radio and television.) Well, one of the members of the International Board of Advisors for RFPI and her husband were there and she was interested in something I mentioned about my radio programs. I sent her a copy of my interview with Dr. John Hope Franklin, prominent African American historian who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the highest award a civilian can get in the USA.
  And I also sent her a tape on "Fighting Blindness" which included four legally blind adults. She sent those tapes down to Radio For Peace International, in Costa Rica, and they asked whether I'd be interested in sharing my shows on RFPI, and I'm so glad RFPI accepted them and airs them twice each week. (I now also am a member of the International Board of Advisors for RFPI.)
6 Thomas: I remember, after I came to Costa Rica in November, one of the first programs I was listening to was "University Forum" where you were talking about Latin American music and rhythms. That was an excellent program.
  Jean: Oh yes, that was a fun show, because we dubbed all the different music along with the interview with professor Maria del Pico Taylor. I've done some shows, incidentally, with international students — especially one show with students from Germany, Kazakhstan, and New Zealand who were in Temple's International Masters in Business Administration program. They travel first from Paris, then they come to our Temple University main campus (in Philadelphia) and then they go to our campus in Tokyo, and so they complete the MBA on an international basis. And I was just delighted to have them on the program to talk about their work.
7 Thomas: Do you get feedback from your listeners?
  Jean: The Philadelphia area is quite expansive. We cover a multitude of cities in three states. And so I do get telephone calls and letters from quite a distance from people who hear the show, who ask for copies of the shows, and in one instance asked whether I would bring my show about the Tuskegee Airmen and meet with them.
8 Thomas: Can you give a short outlook? What are your future plans? Do you have some specific ideas about the future of University Forum?
  Jean: Yes, I want to be sure that I interview more than just one person on certain shows. I usually try to get two or three if I interview on a controversial or critical topic. I've just done a show on Alzheimer's disease and was pleased to have two women who are caretakers for their mother who has the disease, an agency person who gave information on how to secure help, and a psychiatrist with medical information concerning this very serious condition. I want to make sure to have a balance of what's going on so we have all sides on important issues. I think that makes for an exciting and informative program. I also like to dub music or other sounds that can make the show and the promos increasingly interesting for listeners.
  "University Forum" can be heard via RFPI: Tuesday, 04.00 - 04.30 UTC, 6970 and 15050 kHz Friday, 02.00 - 02.30 UTC, 6970 and 15050 kHz. The show is aired on WRTI - Temple University Public Radio: 10.30 - 11.00 a.m. local time. WRTI offers a live audio stream on their website at www.wrti.org.
  A German language version of this interview was published in: Radio Journal — Das Medien-Magazin, no. 7 / 2000 (July 2000) (www.radiojournal.de). An audio version was broadcasted as a part of RFPI's German service "Blickwinkel" on February 12, 2000.
  2000 © Soundscapes