Senator David Pearce’s Capitol Report for the Week of July 18

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The Importance of Local Media

Friday, July 22 will mark the 700th consecutive weekly radio show I have been a guest on 1450 AM KOKO’s morning radio show in Warrensburg. Throughout the past 13 ½ years, since the time I was first sworn in as a state representative, I have appeared almost every week on KOKO at the 8:30 a.m. time slot with host Marion “Woody” Woods. Over the years, both of us have missed a show here and there due to illness, vacation or work-related issues, but regardless of either of our absences, the show continued.

Over the years we have had to conduct the show from locations other than the Warrensburg radio studio, and many times I have worked remotely and had to call in to our show over the phone.  Obviously, I have called in from around the 21st District from places such as Chillicothe, Marshall, Carrollton and Hamilton – and prior to my most recent term, from Nevada, Butler, Harrisonville and Belton.

I have also called in from outside the district, from Washington, D.C., Chicago, Minneapolis, Kansas City and St. Louis. I have particularly enjoyed calling in from the front lawn of state capitols in Austin, Boston, Denver and St. Paul.  One memorable show from the St. Louis Gateway Multimodal Transportation Center almost got me arrested. I was told I was loitering on the sidewalk during the show, and was ordered to keep moving or I would be in violation – all while talking to Woody live on the air!

Several times I have had fellow senators fill in my seat on the show during an absence.  Those lawmakers have included senators Charlie Shields, Jolie Justus, Paul LeVota, Gary Romine and Kevin Engler. I have also brought fellow guest senators into the studio, including senators Mike Parson, Jill Schupp and Eric Schmitt.

How much time does 700 individual, 15-minute-long shows amount to? It comes to around 10,500 minutes, or 175 hours – more than a week total!  That’s a lot of talking.  I would like to thank Woody and KOKO Radio for allowing us to provide such a wonderful show over the years for all our many local listeners.

In celebrating this milestone event, it also got me thinking how much our local media provides its listeners and readers.  In our particular case, the morning radio show offered a great source of information on our state government and political news.

The local media is the lifeblood of any community. Not only do the inform us of what is going on around our hometowns, but they serve as a working historical archive of a community. It is always a shame when a newspaper shuts down.  It is like losing a good friend.

In the 21st District, we have 20 newspapers, 12 radio stations and two local TV stations, according to the Missouri Press and Missouri Broadcasters associations. These media outlets are the voice of our local communities, and they keep all our district’s residents informed on pertinent local, state and national issues. It is our responsibility to help support these local treasures. That support can come in the form of donations or subscriptions, or even just by tuning in to listen, read and watch. Our local stations and papers can only survive if we are willing to support them.

As we complete our 700th show in July and work toward the next 20 or so shows left in my term, I am grateful to Woody, KOKO radio and all the other news outlets in District 21 that do such a wonderful community service in providing the local news.

As always, please feel free to contact me or my staff with any questions or concerns at any time. We look forward to hearing your comments and suggestions and trying to answer any questions you may have. You can reach us by phone at 866-277-0882 (toll-free) or
(573) 751-2272, or by fax at (573) 526-7381.

Senator David Pearce serves Caldwell, Carroll, Howard, Johnson, Lafayette, Livingston, Ray and Saline counties in the 21st State Senatorial District.