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© Allison Usavage

Radio Praxis

Radio Praxis is a weekly talk show on WRFI, our community owned and operated radio station broadcasting from downtown Ithaca. Yamila Fournier, the host of Radio Praxis, talks to people weekly that are putting their ideas into practice.

I was interviewed on Radio Praxis back in September, a week before the official launch of What’s Good. In my time with Yamila I realized that I was ready… if I could talk about my idea with confidence for an hour, it was time to make it happen!

A Q&A with Yamila, and photographs from the monthly show featuring the Mamas, a group of guests that discuss the challenges of parenting and how to put great parenting ideas into practice. This group includes Aryeal Jackson, Nora Snyder, Eliza Van Cort, and Kimberly Munson-Burke.

 

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What is Radio Praxis?

Radio Praxis is a weekly long-form interview show. We spend one hour with the door closed, no interruptions. I get to talk to people who are looking to make a difference in the world around them.

The name Praxis comes from the Greek ‘taking an idea into practice’, so my loose umbrella for the show is anybody who has an idea in the world and wants to see it being made real. Some weeks we talk to creators… artists, writers, musicians and such… other weeks we talk to scientists, makers, builders, inventors, entrepreneurs, community activists. We talk to the Mamas: people who have an idea of how they want to raise their kids and what the challenges of putting that idea into practice are. So, it’s really about action. It’s about people who are taking their dreams and making them real.

Who is it good for?

It’s good for anybody who needs a little inspiration. It’s good for anybody who has that moment of doubt or is feeling down about the world around them. When you’re talking to people who are putting their ideas into action, you’re talking to people who really believe in something and who have a positive effect on the world.

 

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What kind of change are you trying to make?

I would love to think that the stories of people who are really making an impact gives inspiration and connection and credence to other people who are having some of those thoughts too, because we don’t change in a vacuum. And if you think you’re just working uphill to make the world a better place or to make your dream real, it’s discouraging after a while. But if you can see that there’s other people who are going through that same struggle who are finding ways through, who are finding a community… that right there is what I would like to have happen because of the show.

How did it start?

I actually had a show that I co-hosted with Josh Dolan, another one of the hosts here, and after about 3 or 4 months we split off and we each got our own shows.

 

© Allison Usavage
What impact does this have on our community?

In a world where we’re constantly interrupted by phone calls and smartphones and emails and whatever else, there’s something really special about closing that door and turning everything off and to spend some time giving attention to someone else for that full hour. I can’t think of the last time that I had a conversation that wasn’t behind that radio studio locked door that lasted a full hour without a single interruption.

Anybody who’s a guest on my show gets that gift… the gift of an hour of undivided attention. And then there’s a secondary gift… kind of a ripple effect… because you get that moment of attention it helps to you think about and sharpen your ideas even more.

 

© Allison Usavage
How has the community supported the show?

It’s funny… on the radio, I have no idea how many people I reach on a regular basis but I get reached in unexpected ways. I get stopped at the grocery store or I’ll be talking and someone will bring up “oh yeah, wasn’t that on your show a few weeks ago? That was a really great episode!” So I hear little things like that and when I see people excited about what they heard, it tells me that I’m doing the right thing.

 

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What struggles have you encountered?

Getting a consistent schedule of guests on a regular basis is kind of difficult. We’re all here as volunteers, and I not only have to carve out time for the show itself but I also have to carve out time to research what’s happening on the show that day and to do the scheduling weeks and weeks in advance. Finding the next person to talk to and getting everyone’s schedules to mesh isn’t always easy.

 

© Allison Usavage
What should we be celebrating?

There’s a special place in my heart for the makers and the doers in the world. I was a teenager growing up in Miami when Hurricane Andrew hit. For a few days afterwards nothing could happen. Roads were blocked, trees were down, things were flooded. And I began to see people kind of break down into a couple different groups. There were the people who took advantage of the situation and started looting and selling bottled water for $5 / bottle. There were the people who kind of walked around like zombies and were so shocked that they couldn’t do anything, they just sat, in dispair I guess. And there were the people who just said “OK, let’s fix this.” And they’re the ones who got up and got brooms and got chainsaws and made the roads clear and cleaned up houses and swept up mud and all that stuff. And it was a really clear moment for me where I saw where people fell, into which group. And I thought to myself: I never want to be anything but one of the doers. So, any time I have an opportunity celebrate a doer, then I’m going to do so.

 

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How can we participate?

This is such a great community because there’s so many people who are actually doing things and have great ideas. So, if any of you or anyone you know is somebody who has a dream that you’re putting into action, whether it’s a piece of artwork, music, or writing, whether it’s an invention or some scientific undertaking, whether you’re an entrepreneur or community activist or whether you’re someone who is quietly struggling every day to build your life in the way that you’ve always wanted to be, come my way. I’d love to have a conversation.

And of course, listen in! The show airs live on WRFI every Tuesday from 4-5pm. It’s also available as a podcast on iTunes and as a live stream on the WRFI website.

Or tune in every Tuesday at 88.1 Ithaca or on the online stream at WRFI.org.

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