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Producer Profile

By: Joe Bernard

Our pick for this edition of the Producer Profile is Glenn Hauser, producer extraodinaire of World of Radio and Continent of Media. I had the pleasure of "speaking" with Mr. Hauser via e-mail recently and asked him to share a few thoughts with us.

Joe: Glenn, let's begin with some vital statistics. How would you describe yourself?

Glenn: I was born in Berkeley, California, on April 12, 1945, the day FDR died, so I naturally assume some ubicational influence and reincarnation are at work accounting for my liberal views. However, we soon moved to the little town of Santa Rosa, New Mexico, well-known to Route 66 aficionados, and in fact lived right next to the highway for my first nine years, before I-40 existed. Then we moved to Oklahoma City for another seven years, and then to Enid, Oklahoma. A couple of years later it was off to college at Washington University in St. Louis, and I later transferred to UNM in Albuquerque. Hair is receding on top, but I really hate to waste time shaving, so I usually have a full beard except during the hottest months, when I imagine I look a good seven years younger without it. Hearing remains acute, but have been nearsighted and bespectacled since about 11 years old. Average height, and considering typical American excesses, not much beyond average girth, I like to think. Oh, I'm an only child - isn't this obvious? Hi. My father died in 1954 and my mother in 1997.

Joe: How did you come to be interested in shortwave?

Glenn: Started with mediumwave and TV DXing from Santa Rosa, the former with the family's 1941 Philco console, which also had SW bands. Didn't really get into SW until I was in OK and found Radio Australia a real thrill to listen to.

Joe: Tell us about your first radio.

Glenn: Beyond the Philco, it was a Hallicrafters S-38E, which had wider coverage than the Philco, and around the record sunspot peak of 1957-1958 seemed even hotter in retrospect than it merited, with worldwide openings, SWLing 10 meters, etc.

Joe: And today, what equipment is in your shack?

Glenn: In the meantime, I had a trusty HQ-160 which served me well until ruined in a car accident, which fortunately, barely scratched me. Then got an FRG-7, and another FRG-7, which still work fairly well. I keep putting off getting a state-of-the-art DX machine, primary excuse being the high noise level where I am living. But I mainly use an ATS-909 and a YB-400 for general listening and DXing now.

Joe: With the budgets of many governmental shortwave outlets under fire and the move by some of these same institutions into satellite and Internet broadcasting, what is your assessment of the future of shortwave radio?

Glenn: I think it will continue to exist, but evolve along some different tracks simultaneously. Five major broadcasters have just signed an agreement to make digital SW happen in the next few years, which should make it much more attractive to those who demand near-perfect reception. But there are bound to remain many other stations still operating analog for a long time to come. I just hope the digitals can be segregated by frequency, since their interference will be ruinous to analog signals. As they say, no one owns the ionosphere, and as long as governments try to control people's access to uncensored news, even on the internet, nothing else will beat shortwave.

Joe: What would you like the medium to become in the future?

Glenn: I would like to see it provide programming of great informational and entertainment value from all the cultures of the world, in as many languages as possible, with a minimum of interference. Gospel stations would quickly die off or be sold to public-radio-oriented groups who would finally make quality programming the norm on SW. Much of this would be financed by tax money, but not controlled by governments or corporations and would be commercial-free. Of course, I'm dreaming.

Joe: How would you describe yourself politically?

Glenn: Anarchist-pacifist. That's the ideal, but I realize human nature makes such a world unlikely if not impossible. Lacking that, I'll settle for being a "liberal" or "progressive," which do NOT equate to "communist" or "Marxist" as I have been accused of being. People who can't tell the difference are obviously off the deep end of right-wing extremism. Note: I said "anarchist," not "antichrist!"

Joe: Longtime WOR listeners have heard you comment on more than one occasion about "silly ball games," and organized religion, though not necessarily in the same breath. Would you care to expand on those comments here?

Glenn: I am anguished by the amount of time, attention, and money lavished by most people upon these unproductive and totally wasteful activities. Ball games include all spectator sports. Playing games is fine for one's own physical activity and enjoyment, if not done to excess; but wasting the finite hours of one's life watching other people doing it, and caring passionately about who "wins" is a terrible tragedy. Get a life! Or rather, make some productive use of the life you've already got. Read! Study! Invent something! Help other people! Try to make some contribution to humanity; or at least appreciate the fine arts for your own personal growth. Beware, if you learn something, you might begin to appreciate the scientific method. This could lead you, as it has me, to skepticism. Prove it or shut up. Religions are unproved, most likely figments of human imagination. They all claim to be right, and yet contradict each other. The main reason people have a particular religion is that they were indoctrinated as children in the prevailing culture. The odds are, one would have been with some other religion except for an accident of birth. Time to apply reason to the matter. Think for yourself. Don't waste your time or your money to have someone else do it for you. I remain an agnostic, not a full-blown atheist, though they have some excellent ideas, and with an open mind, await a god convincing me some doctrine is the one true. So far, no signs of any visions, and if there were, I, in my present mentality would question if there is any distinction between religion and insanity.

Joe: Of late there has been a growing presence of hate groups, religious fanatics, and political viewpoints on shortwave that can only be described as fascist. Many of these broadcasts emanate from within the borders of the U.S. where the right to free speech is guaranteed under the Constitution. What are your thoughts on the free-speech issue within this context?

Glenn: It's disheartening that our freedom of speech manifests itself in such a way. Since the fascists and fanatics are highly self-motivated, it doesn't matter as much whether they actually reach a significant audience - they'll keep going as long as they can afford it. But SW stations have no obligation to sell time to all-comers, and could just as easily be programmed in a socially responsible manner without violating "free speech". The wackos still have the freedom to shout from the street-corners or go to some other station or medium. We can only fervently hope that, ultimately, thoughtful people are not taken in by them, and will remain in the great majority.

Joe: As this interview takes place the 928th edition of World of Radio is being broadcast. That's almost 18 years of producing what many listeners consider the best program of its kind on shortwave. What plans do you have for the future of WOR?

Glenn: It's really a weekly task and privilege at the same time, to try to keep up with significant developments in the medium. I keep telling myself that I need a break from the grind - perhaps an hiatus, with the possibility open whether I would resume or not.

Joe: Any final comments?

Glenn: It's a pleasure to have been associated with RFPI since the outset, and I wish it the greatest success in the future. There is a critical need for this kind of station.

Joe: Thank you, Glenn.

Glenn Hauser may be reached at Box 1684, Enid, OK 73702 or via e-mail: wghauser@hotmail.com

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