Rob Sachs: We are connectors

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Current is marking the 50th anniversary of the Public Broadcasting Act by illuminating the experiences that inspired people to choose to work in public media. Every week, we are sharing their stories using the hashtag #IAmPublicMedia. Current is also collecting longer contributions, like this one. If you’d like us to feature your story, submit it here.

I wasn’t always a public radio guy. Growing up outside of Philly, the only news I heard in the back of mom’s blue Toyota station wagon was from KYW 1060; short rip-and-reads, traffic on the 8s, and a news ticker constantly running in the background.

It wasn’t until I started driving myself that I happened upon WHYY as I fiddled along the dial on a weekend trip down to the Jersey Shore. I tuned into Talk of the Nation with Ray Suarez hosting. While the topic of the conversation escapes me, I clearly remember shouting back at my radio — feeling like I was participating in the debate as well. By the time I made it to Ocean City, I was hooked.

In my 18 years in public radio, I’ve worn just about every hat, from intern to host to my current role as EP of a foreign policy program. But through it all, I try to keep that first experience I had with TOTN as a guiding principle: Make sure to keep listeners both informed and engaged.

I choose to work in public media because I believe in the work I do and the work of my colleagues. We are connectors for people from different places and backgrounds, giving news depth and context. We are also artists and craftspeople. We pioneer new ways to tell stories and to bring people together for honest conversations. This is what makes me proud to be in public media.

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