“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” That is certainly true in 2020. At High Plains Public Radio this year, I expected that the presidential election would be the big story of the year. And we had been planning for a big membership drive in March to help sustain the station through the typically lean summer months.
But 2020 isn’t a typical year, and right now our communities across the High Plains—along with billions of others around the globe—find ourselves trying to prepare for a situation we couldn’t even envision a few months ago. COVID-19 has upended our daily lives, with the landscape and the battle plan changing day by day.
But some things haven’t changed. Listeners are still turning to HPPR and HPPR Connect for the latest, most-reliable information about the Coronavirus outbreak and the efforts at the national and local levels to deal with it. Indeed, we have seen a significant spike in the numbers of people turning to our broadcast and on-line reporting. Where we usually might get a few hundred views on a typically online story, this week we’ve seen ten times the web traffic. And as local schools close for the next few months, and businesses work hard to serve their customers even as many of those customers are placing themselves in self-quarantine, High Plains Public Radio is doing its best to provide the most current information on closures and delays.
KEEPING UP WITH THE LATEST NEWS: Our efforts to keep listeners informed have resulted in some program changes you should know about. For example, we’ve been featuring the daily White House press conferences on our website. We have run several COVID-19 specials from NPR, as well as a national call-in show. In addition, starting tonight (Monday, March 21), HPPR Connect will feature a new, hour-long NPR program called The National Conversation with All Things Considered, which will air at 8 p.m. CT on HPPR Connect, focusing on the latest information about the pandemic while answering your questions. (Fresh Air with Terry Gross, which usually runs at 8 p.m. CT, will move to 9 p.m. CT.)
KEEPING SPIRITS HIGH: While it is critical to stay informed at a time like this, it’s just as important NOT to panic or spread alarm. So when you’re ready for a break from the news, HPPR has you covered with the best in music programming. Join HPPR Music Director Jenny Inzerillo weekday mornings for a great mix of folk-Americana on High Plains Morning, or unwind to soothing classical music on Exploring Music, Sinfonia, and New York Philharmonic This Week. While local concerts may be cancelled or postponed across the High Plains, you can always find just the music you need at HPPR.
Whether you turn to High Plains Public Radio for the latest news or the best in music, I hope that we play a role in helping you through the tough times ahead. And I hope that when the situation returns to normal (and it will), that you will consider making an investment in the service your public radio station provides by becoming a sustaining member of HPPR. On behalf of the staff, volunteers, and board members at High Plains Public Radio, thank you for listening to, and supporting, HPPR.
AND ON A LIGHTER NOTE: When faced with challenges, it's often easy to see how connected we all are. Here's an example of how some creative people from our region are making the most of staying home. Last Friday in Dallas, self-quarantined residents belted out Bill Withers' "Lean on Me" from their apartment windows.