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Behind the scenes at a grassroots international daily radio news program

Listeners to Free Speech Radio News may not realize that only two of the producers are in the same location. The rest of the staff–not just reporters and correspondents–are geographically dispersed and work together over the phone and internet. This is due to the grassroots nature of FSRN, but also because the organization’s tight finances don’t allow for a central office and regular staff retreats.

In that way FSRN is a very modern operation, benefitting from the communications tools that the internet offers. Its decentralized nature also means that the staff are not under the singular influence of one city or region, as can be seen with news organizations that are headquartered in places like Washington DC or New York City.

I always knew that FSRN was a decentralized organization, and it’s one of my favorite radio programs. But I never really gave its dispersed structure much consideration until I listened to a half-hour interview with producer Catherine Komp and anchor Dorian Merina, by Hazel Kahan on WPKN’s Tidings program. It was fascinating to listen to Komp and Merina reflect on how FSRN’s structure is both a challenge and an advantage, and discuss the great breadth of reporting experience and expertise the program calls upon, finding reporters in countries and communities that are typically not represented by native, local voices.

I strongly recommend giving this interview a listen.

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