‘Stick in a Streetlight’: an audio essay celebrating one year of the Southern Colorado Public Media Center

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15min 00sec
Dan Boyce/CPR
A twig is stuck in a streetlamp in front of the Southern Colorado Public Media Center in Colorado Springs.

You know, it’s a funny thing; I’ve been a professional public radio journalist since 2011 and it wasn’t until a year ago that I worked physically at a radio station. I had always been a bureau guy, working from the likes of a basement office in Montana’s state capitol building or (most recently) a coworking space in downtown Colorado Springs. It required a lot of huddling under blankets and pillows in janitors’ closets to record narration.

That all changed in September 2021 with the opening of the Southern Colorado Public Media Center. The SCPMC had been a long-held dream of KRCC (the state’s oldest non-commercial radio station, if you weren’t aware) finally brought to fruition through its recent partnership with Colorado Public Radio.

As CPR’s Southern Colorado reporter, that also meant the state-of-the-art SCPMC became my home as well and I couldn’t be happier. We have really just begun to imagine the potential of this space, but it’s already allowed us to host a well-attended panel exploring lessons from the first six months of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. We’ve been lucky enough to work with two journalism interns from Colorado College, with more to come. We’ve held fundraisers here, put together jigsaw puzzles to build our team spirit (engineer Joel Belik is undoubtedly the best puzzler) and we have brought you meaningful stories about the communities where you live.

Ha, and then there’s this audio essay you’re about to hear (because you’re moments away from hitting that play button, yeah?) You’ll immediately notice that it’s…well…um…different. It centers on something about the SCPMC property which has been vexing me since day one; it’s a small piece of nature decidedly out of place. 

The project gave me the chance to work with CPR producer Jon Pinnow, whom I deeply respect. I think his work assembling this piece is a wonderful representation of his creative instincts and especially his fabulous sense of comedic timing.

It’s about the least original thing for a public radio fan to say that I have long loved “The Santaland Diaries,” by David Sedaris. Nevertheless, let’s call this essay my attempt to pay homage to Mr. Sedaris, while also infusing some of the other influences that drew me to public radio in the first place, from the narrative style of This American Life to the frenetic composition of Radiolab. 

We hope you’ll find “Stick in a Streetlight” to be a nice bit of levity. 

From all of us at the Southern Colorado Public Media Center, thank you for supporting the work we do. We can’t wait to get started on year two.