News

Liz Ross hosts The Sex Ed Show, serves on KOOP’s Board of Directors, and is involved with the effort to enhance the station’s News/Public Affairs (N/PA) programming. We spoke on April 28.

Michael A. Brown: How did you and KOOP originally get together and what sorts of things were you involved in early-on?

Liz Ross: I started in 2019 as a guest on Katie Vitale’s show, “Issues for Your Tissues.” She knew me as an activist for reproductive rights and violence prevention. I was a guest again when I was directing The Vagina Monologues as a fund-raising project for abuse victims.

MAB: Your show is called The Sex Ed Show … tell us about it.

LR: After programmer training and certification, I launched Sex Ed primarily to educate adults, because most had received poor sex education if they got any at all, and could really use accurate, solid information. For example, we explained why what used to be STD … Sexually Transmitted Disease … is now called STI … Sexually Transmitted Infection. That’s important because when you say “infection,” people are more willing to get treatment, whereas “disease” sounds incurable. We’ve also explored the many types of birth control. We have addressed erectile disfunction. And on a recent show, guest Carol Brown spoke about the importance of LGBTQ hair styles in communicating one’s sexual orientation … showing confidence and reflecting one’s identity.

MAB: What are you hearing from listeners about your show?

LR: People seem to like the content. It’s very nice to hear compliments like “good episode,” or “she was a great guest.” It’s also cool when fellow programmers tell me they learned a lot, such as from a guest who is a sex worker explaining what draws people to that realm. I think the positive comments are because our content is based on research and clinical articles … it’s not just pop culture stuff.

MAB: Talk about your experiences on KOOP’s Board of Directors.

LR: Katie Vitale, who was Board president at the time, invited me to apply to be on the Board also … so I did and eventually became Vice President. I was off the Board for a while but now I’m back as Secretary. One of the big challenges was the transition from live radio to pre-recorded remote because of the pandemic. There was the technical part, of course, but also how to enable programmers to do broadcast-quality radio from home. But we did it! My own show was remote for two years. Now that we’re coming back live, I want to make sure we communicate more … and more effectively … with the community.

MAB: What are the top two or three things the Board is attending to nowadays?

LR: The big one is the Strategic Plan … what are the long-term goals for the station and how do we get there? We’re also emphasizing the station’s physical return into the community, with more events, for example.

MAB: You’re spearheading the effort to energize and promote KOOP’s news and public affairs programming. What’s happening and how’s it going?

LR: The individual News/Public Affairs programmers are coming together as a N/PA team to bring cohesion to our N/PA offerings. Two N/PA programmers are collaborating on a N/PA mission statement and charter. Those documents will spell out what N/PA programming at KOOP is and is not, and what it does and does not do. Then we’ll focus on a couple specific goals for the rest of 2022 and into 2023, possibly producing and conducting training for new N/PA programmers and creating an information-sharing system about N/PA topics and guests.

You can hear The Sex Ed Show with Liz Ross every Tuesday at 1pm. In Austin, tune to 91.7FM. Worldwide at www.KOOP.org

Interview by Michael A. Brown