I drove to Penn State late this afternoon, getting into town just after 7pm and just in time to sit in with The LION 90.7fm, the campus radio station, for its first staff meeting of the academic year. Ross Michael is the station’s president and general manager this year, and Russ Rockwell continues to serve as adviser and engineer.

While I’ve advocated for and continue to fundraise for a scholarship for The LION 90.7fm, this was the first staff meeting I’ve sat in on in nearly a decade. Great to see so many people from so many backgrounds in life and in terms of academic and professional interests together at the station. That seems to be a constant.

I’ve written before that I think the primary benefit of campus radio at this point is its role as a platform for learning how to think and speak in public; basically how to intelligently participate in the public square in a way that enlivens the community and ennobles the speaker. We’re often disgusted with social media because it doesn’t seem to ennoble us, to bring out the best in us. Platforms like campus radio still can, because they force one to really come to grips with what’s about to come out of one’s mouth when there’s a live mic. And whether you’re sharing great or unusual music, talking Penn State football, or public affairs, your voice can in some meaningful way speak either a better or worse reality into existence—even if just for a few thousand listeners. Striving to do that is part of being human in the fullest sense, and doing it out of a genuine love and enthusiasm rather than as simply on obligation is what can make community life better too, which is part of what citizenship is about.

Phil Schwarz, a friend for many years and former host of The Wake Up Call (the station’s morning show) for three years during our time as students is back at Penn State as of this month to complete an MBA program. It was Phil’s first time seeing the station’s new facilities since moving in 2015 into a newer part of the HUB-Robeson Center.

The fall semester is underway as of last week, and tomorrow morning I plan to sit in on Prof. Michael Milligan’s HIST 197 “History of Penn State” course.