Amanda was a KOOP listener for several years but wasn’t involved at the station. Then a couple KOOPers who knew her as a smart and community-oriented person recruited Amanda to run for the Board. She did … and was elected! I spoke with her on Jan. 18.
Michael A. Brown: What’s happening on the Board nowadays and what is your role?
Amanda Jasso: We are shifting directions with a new and comprehensive strategic plan to involve more of our KOOP community. We especially want to be sure all our efforts express the station’s priorities and values. For example, the Board has put out a statement endorsing Black Lives Matter. Regarding my own role, I want to ensure that KOOP embeds anti-racism by increasing diversity in our volunteer corps, our programming, and our station membership.
MAB: Regarding strategies and plans for 2022 and beyond … what has the Board ruled out, ruled in, and still is considering?
AJ: We’ve kind of ruled out being a top-down organization. We’ve ruled in our intention to become a more cooperative structure. We want to make sure we have people with “lived experience” throughout the station, where we can incorporate their skills and knowledge to implement the strategic plan. We also have ruled in transparency and accountability. What we’re still considering? Everyone’s ideas and suggestions!
MAB: When volunteers, programmers, or station members want to pitch an idea or suggestion or register a complaint with the Board, what are the main “do’s and don’ts”?
AJ: A definite “do” is to interact with the Board … reach out to us! You can e-mail us at Board@KOOP.org. We also have a member advocate, Pedro Gatos, who represents the Community Council at Board meetings. firstname.lastname@example.org So you can choose how you’d like to approach the Board and it’s easy to do. We promise to listen and respond. One thing you don’t want to do is to be abrasive or abusive.
MAB: What has been the funniest experience you’ve had on the Board?
AJ: Hah! I think with all the new Board members, we have opportunities to be funnier. In fact, a couple new members made us laugh when they spoke the station name as “coop” rather than KO-OP. They’ve not heard the end of that.
MAB: What other KOOP activities are you involved in?
AJ: As a liaison to the Community Council, I helped facilitate creation of the Subcommittee on Systemic Racism and Racial Justice. We are looking at KOOP’s strategies and policies and procedures to assure they’re in line with the station’s mission and with commitments to the community. We’re also forming collectives with Austin Community College and other organizations to develop stronger connections with our community partners.
MAB: Any plans to become a programmer … and if so, what sort of show might you like to do?
AJ: I’ve thought about it, but time is an issue. I’d love to have a little collective where we could produce a show. I love punk, I love metal, jazz, and blues. So maybe something that was all people-of-color focused across all different genres … and with a little social justice commentary thrown in.
Interview by Michael A. Brown