by Tom Christopher
As someone who came up through the world of traditional print media – magazines, newspapers, and books – I have found the last few years professionally challenging. Opportunities in those older media have shrunk, even as I became ever more passionate about gardening. For me, gardening is not just as a means to self expression but also a way to initiate the public into a greater environmental literacy. I strongly believe that you can’t garden without becoming aware of the natural systems that underlie both success and failure in that craft. Gardening, because it is intrinsically enjoyable, is an ideal way to reach strangers with a message of greater environmental responsibility.
Casting around for new outlets, I turned to radio. The couple of contacts I had at local radio programs were both discouraging about my prospects of breaking in. It wasn’t until I contacted two fellow members in GardenComm, people whom I knew had successful radio programs, that I received any encouragement. Armed with these veterans’ advice, I pitched my services to two radio stations: an internet radio station whose studio is in a neighboring town, and the local public radio station, whose broadcast area covers much of central Connecticut.
Both stations’ studio managers were receptive. An initial spot as a guest on the internet radio station turned into a weekly gardening program. At first I served as a co-host, but within weeks I was hosting the program by myself. Meanwhile, the public radio station had accepted my proposal to supply weekly short radio spots about “greener” gardening – the studio manager there said that often programs came in a couple of minutes short and that my spots would be ideal for filling the resulting gaps.
Thanks to my years of reporting on the gardening scene, I have had little trouble finding interesting guests to feature on my internet radio program. I’ve also connected with the Connecticut Horticultural Society, working out an arrangement by which I interview its guest speakers each month on the day before they address the membership. And once a month I go downtown to the public radio station’s studio with the scripts I have written to record four two-minute spots focusing on some aspect of environmentally informed gardening.
Instead of watching my audience shrink, I am now reaching new markets. Many thanks to my generous colleagues at GardenComm.
I am GardenComm.
About the Author
Thomas Christopher is the author of more than a dozen gardening books, and of a syndicated weekly newspaper column. He is also, now, the host of a weekly radio program, and contributes short spots to a public radio station, WESU in Middletown, CT.