NPR co-founder returns to his WBFO roots

Mar 2, 2021

Radio remains an essential part of the communications spectrum, offering everything from news to education to culture. That was the message one of the founders of NPR brought to Daemen College Monday evening.

For the first speaker to the college’s new Leadership and Entrepreneurship in the Arts bachelor’s program, Daemen brought Bill Siemering online to talk about his long history at WBFO in the 1960s, the founding of NPR in 1970 and his Developing Radio Partners organization, which works with African stations on issues like climate change and health for women and youth.

Siemering quoted martyred South American Catholic Bishop Oscar Romero on building for the future.

"We plant seeds that will one day grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing they will hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capabilities. We cannot do everything and there is a sense of liberation realizing that. This enables us to something and do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning,” he said.

During a question and answer period, Siemering was asked about misinformation.

"We heard about that yesterday down in Florida. It’s really scary. I think it’s extremely scary," he said. "You can have different opinions about the Vietnam War, that’s a fact. This a different reality and an intentional lie."

Siemering said it remains vital to NPR to remain attached to truth in a time when facts and truth are under attack.