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NFCB’s Sally Kane reflects on longtime community radio attorney John Crigler, who retires Oct. 1.

Sixteen years ago, I made a decision to volunteer for board service at KVNF Community Radio in my hometown. Within two years, I had resigned from the board and was hired on as Station Manager.  Over the years that followed, I have had the privilege of meeting colleagues from around the country who share my commitment to grassroots media as a voice for the citizenry, a laboratory for democracy, and a powerful medium for centering art and culture in our daily lives.  John Crigler is a giant in that array of talented people. For someone who usually finds the words easily; words fail me to express how much his presence has meant to me and how much he will be missed.

Though John has made clear in his predictably witty retirement letter that he is still going to be there when we reach out, I would be remiss in not saying that community radio has lost an epic champion in matters of broadcasting law. Over the years, John has given literally hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of dollars in pro bono work to assist community stations in their time of need. Every leader of NFCB has been able to rely on him for strategic insight, accurate advice, literary education, and unfailing humor. The Public Radio Legal Handbook and the belly laughter in the room whenever he explains the FCC’s indecency rules are just two examples of his enduring legacy.

Human beings who consistently place the greater good above their own ambition and ego have always been a source of inspiration to me. Even more rare are those who manage to do that with compassion and grace. Thank you John Crigler for the inspiration, grace, compassion, and wondrous intelligence that you have showered upon us. May there be thousands of satisfied smiles that cross your face when you think back on your career and the positive impact you have had in helping community media work to secure the blessings of liberty that our country calls us to champion.

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