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Periodic posts from Shawn Turner, WKAR general manager

Exploring our heritage this month and year-round


Dear friend of WKAR,

At WKAR, we serve a community of people from all walks of life – rich in culture, creativity and a hunger for content that informs, educates, and inspires. Recognizing the many characteristics and qualities that make our community special is a core value at the heart of the WKAR mission, and something we are proud to celebrate year-round.

Each February, National Black History Month provides us with opportunities to explore more deeply the historic contributions that have helped shape the lives of every American.

I hope you had a chance to watch “Gospel” earlier this week. The latest history series from Henry Louis Gates, Jr., digs deep into the origin story of Black spirituality through sermon and song. As someone who grew up surrounded by gospel music, I felt a deep connection to this series. My strong belief in the power of music and my love of a wide array of genres all started with gospel. If you missed it, or wish to watch it again, all four episodes are streaming free now in the PBS app and at video.wkar.org.

Also airing this month on WKAR-TV and WKAR Create: “Great Performances: The Magic of Spirituals,” “American Masters: How It Feels to Be Free,” and the “Eyes on the Prize” series. Visit WKAR TV Black History Month Specials 2024 for a complete list of programs. Many of the featured shows are streaming now in the free PBS app.

Throughout February, our classical hosts Linda Kernohan, Jody Knol, and Jamie Paisley are featuring a rich tapestry of musical contributions made by Black musicians. Their 90.5 Classical playlists showcase masterpieces crafted by Black composers, honor the remarkable talents of Black performers, and recognize the influential role of Black conductors.

And while we celebrate and explore Black history this month, we also celebrate the broad diversity of our community. This month, we were honored to be invited to take part in the 38th Annual Powwow of Love hosted by the MSU chapter of the North American Indigenous Student Organization. Recently, Megan Schellong shared her perspective as a transracial adoptee on Lunar New Year celebrations. And I hope you can join our campus colleagues Feb. 15-18 as they present The MSU Latinx Film Festival (LxFF), the largest festival of its type in Michigan. The festival program highlights the intersections of film, music, and cultural politics.

WKAR’s commitment to recognizing and celebrating the many and varied heritage threads that make up our mid-Michigan community is not limited to any particular month. We embrace every opportunity to celebrate and explore diverse cultures year-round through our programming, partnerships, and engagement events.

signature: Shawn Turner

Shawn Turner
WKAR General Manager

Michigan State University

Shawn Turner is general manager at WKAR Public Media at Michigan State University.
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