In November 2021, we had the opportunity to interview Bruce Morris, Station Manager of KPOV in Bend, OR. We talked about how he came to work in public media, volunteer DJ’s, and what it’s like for a station to receive an unexpected legacy gift. Read the interview below.
Lisa: Tell me about yourself.
Bruce: I’ve been working at KPOV for almost eight years. I started as a development director, and then a year and a half later or so we did a little shuffle and I became development director and programming director. I’ve been station manager since last September. Before I came to KPOV I had been doing social justice work in Bend and in Central Oregon for quite some time. I always really loved and admired KPOV. I applied and got the job and here we are.
Lisa: What was it like for you transitioning into the station manager position at a time when our country was really dealing with a lot of racial justice reckoning?
Bruce: Well, it felt to me like an opportunity to be an important part of the conversation around racial justice…building and rebuilding understanding among different people about the issues involved in racial justice, speaking to it clearly, truthfully, without flinching from controversial topics. It seemed like an opportunity to get the people most effected – people of color, Black people – to get their voices out on public media. It was an opportunity to be a positive force. We’re still finding a surprising level of misunderstanding among people who I would have thought would have a better understanding of these issues than they really do.
Lisa: Tell me about your station.
Bruce: We have some staff but it’s still mostly volunteer run. The main thing that’s up with our station is we have these amazing volunteer DJs who do all of our live programming. They are incredible and produce over 50 local shows.
Lisa: Your station received a pretty significant gift recently. Tell me about that and how it came about.
Bruce: We received a very large gift of $626,000. It was an estate gift of a listener. She was a fan, basically. She had grown up listening to radio, she loved radio and apparently loved KPOV. We didn’t even know about her. Sometime last fall or early winter we received a letter from a law firm with a will in it. She had left us half of some property, along with another organization in town. And then all of a sudden, boom, there’s a check.
Lisa: How did that feel to get that check?
Bruce: It was pretty amazing. We have a responsibility to use this money wisely. It was entrusted to us by this incredible woman. It’s for our community.
Lisa: What is your biggest hope for 2022 for your station?
Bruce: More people listening to the great radio we’re putting out. If we can be that catalyst for healing in our community – the more people tune in, the more likely we’re going to make those connections and build healing in our community.
This interview was edited for brevity.