To Karen Everhart, recently appointed interim managing editor of Current:
The announcement that the March 12 issue of Current is the last to be published under the editorship of Steve Behrens brought back so many memories for me from the last 35 years.
In 1977, Steve and I were colleagues and he was the editor of the in-house publication of the nonprofit where we both worked when I introduced him to my good friend Jim Fellows.
Jim loved smart and talented people, and he soon became a fan of Steve’s many journalistic talents. So, it wasn’t too surprising for me when, a couple of years later, Jim persuaded Steve to join him at the National Association of Educational Broadcasters to design and launch a new newspaper covering exclusively the field of public broadcasting. We greatly missed Steve’s talents on our staff, but I understood how persuasive Jim could be.
Jim was enormously proud of his honorary title as founder of Current. He believed deeply in the importance of Current‘s contribution to the development of public broadcasting as a profession and to the field as a whole. I think it’s fair to say that Jim was as strong a champion for Current as anyone in public broadcasting for decades. He certainly felt it to be one of the most important legacies of his own long career in educational and later public broadcasting.
If he were with us today, Jim would be the first to rise to sing Steve’s praises up one side and down the other, the first to express not only his profound personal gratitude but also the gratitude of public broadcasting nationwide for the success of Current over more than 30 years, thanks to Steve’s creativity, hard work, stamina and dedication as well as the excellent staff of the paper. Jim understood that Steve was every bit as much the founder of Current as he was, if not more so.
Jim would also say that the very best way to congratulate you on succeeding Steve as editor would be for all public radio and TV stations not only to renew but also to strengthen their support for Current, precisely at this time when the field faces so many financial, journalistic, and political challenges at the local, state, regional and national levels. Now more than ever public broadcasting needs Current’s independent news perspective and the public forum it offers for sharing and debating opinion and commentary about the future of public media.
Peters D. Willson
Executor of the Estate of James A. Fellows
E-mail: p.willson623 [at] comcast.com