Mike Starling’s farewell in verse to a career in public radio

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When the Public Radio Regional Organizations presented Mike Starling with its annual PRRO Award last month, the former director of NPR Labs shared a poem he’d written for his sendoff. The award recognizes behind-the-scenes “heroes” whose work advances public radio. Starling had worked in NPR’s technology divisions since 1989 until taking a buyout earlier this year. He’s now starting a low-power FM station in Cambridge, Md.

The following are his remarks delivered at the Public Radio Super-Regional conference in Las Vegas Nov. 19.



That was a very nice introduction — I’m so fortunate to have the opportunity to attend my own eulogy.

Somehow when Georgette [Bronfman, executive director of Eastern Region Public Media] called me with the news of the PRRO group’s surprising error this year, I kept waking up hearing Carl Kassel’s voice reading me a poem. It went something like this:

There once was a radio named National Public,
Whose goal was to lift up the republic,
At the left of the band,
She concocted a plan,
Combining news and laughter melodic

Just six years ago, she mired in deep woe,
Learning in five her towers would go,
Such dreadful sorrow —
A radio sans a tomorrow,
But the faithful knew it would not be so

Please tell them, she cried,
From a loudspeaker inside,
“I’ve no certain death,”
So tell Paul — and tell Seth,
This radio is local, this radio is relevant,
It’s a network of stations most elegant

Speaking only for me,
I tell you with glee,
I’ve been pleased to have served
And Doug in the Del,
I Klosely reJoyced
But Frank
ly I Mohn there’s two never known,
Twin pillars of greatness born and here to come

Now I start a new plan,
With a slice of the band,
Through the aether with glee,
I’m saluting you, you see
For nothing inspires,
Like the stations I admire,
Your challenges rebound,
Yet you stay around,
With passion,
For service,
Through sound

I bid you adieu,
But never farewell,
Down the log I’ll see you,
Dressed in finest decibels.

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