Meet The Staff - David Fair

Mar 1, 2016

WEMU's David Fair at the 2015 Jazz Brunch
Credit WEMU

  When you listen to WEMU, you spend time with the great people that work on and off the air.  And, when you support WEMU, you help keep them moving forward.  We will be spending some time with several of the people that make WEMU "go" over the next couple of weeks.  First up is a familiar voice to anyone who wakes up with WEMU - David Fair.  

What is your current position: News Director/ Local host of 'Morning Edition'

What is your hometown: The Center of the Universe, Columbus, Ohio. (Go Buckeyes!) 

Where did you attend college: Oakland Community College and Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts

What was your major: Avoiding all elements of meaningful education.   

What are your favorite WEMU show(s):  So many to choose from! BIG fan of the Roots Music Project with Jeremy Baldwin! Love "From Memphis to Motown" with Wendy Wright, "Big City Blues Cruise" with Joe Tiboni and Michael Jewett is my companion every day at 3pm for "Bluestime!"  I may have an addiction to the blues!  On the news side: I love listening to Lisa Barry host "All Things Considered."  

  Where is your favorite vacation destination: Grand Canyon. I've had the privilege to experience life from the canyon floor. I've been forever changed for having white-water rafted the span of the Colorado River through the canyon, hiked in its caves, and floated in it deep-blue, waterfall-created pools. I've slept at the rivers edge, up all night beneath nature's unprecedented cosmic light show. With beauty in all directions and the comfort of the encompassing quiet, I found my place of true peace. The only regret is having done it but three times. The be all, end all of vacations

What drew you to WEMU: The opportunity to tell stories in a different way. In December of 1993, I was working in commercial radio. The superintendent of a school district in Washtenaw County was shot and killed by a teacher. Two others school officials were wounded. I broke the story and was first on the scene. I did my job and got the news out quickly and accurately. I found the resulting media frenzy and focus on the sensational personally, and professionally, alarming. Everyone had a job to do, but for many, that job included an assignment to disregard reasonable and compassionate boundaries in order to be "first" and "exclusive." It felt exploitative. Worse yet, I was part of it. 

A WEMU reporter was on the scene that day. He gathered information, politely approached those who presented as available. He called in his story and then set about something most of the rest of us didn't do. Because I had been watching, I decided I would listen, too. WEMU's reporter worked with the rest of the staff and began exploring the more substantive issues that may have led to such a tragic outcome. It engaged and interacted with a horror-stricken community, but always with respect to the ongoing hurt and the stages of grief required to begin healing. WEMU did not exploit the situation. It informed. It gave voice to the community conversation. It reflected the story from the community perspective. I came to understand that was only possible because WEMU was invested as a partner in the community. In September of 1994, I became WEMU's host of "Morning Edition" and it's why I'm still here. It is what I aspired to. 

What do you do daily at work: Honestly, no one should care. When I watch a television program it should be good enough I don't concern myself with how it was made. Hopefully, on my better days, I do my job well enough that you're happy with the result and not disengaged enough to spend time wondering what went into putting the show together. I will say, I usually have a blast! 

 

What one album do you think everyone should hear: I'm not so presumptuous to believe what I think should matter to anyone. I do have an entire library of albums I personally consider essential. If I could only take one to the proverbial "desert island," I'd refuse to go on the trip!  I guess if I'm forced to pick, it's "Europe 72"  from the Grateful Dead. 

What is your favorite place to shop: I hate shopping. I even resent online "stores." I do not like to shop anywhere. Did I mention I hate shopping? 

Who do you love to follow on social media: My daughters, Melissa and Jessica. 

  What was the last film you saw:  "The Revenant." Good movie. Good performance from Leonardo DeCaprio. For me, it's not the cinematic tour de force  many find it to be. 

Do you have a favorite place to eat: Anyplace that can serve up quality steak and seafood! I'm not picky, especially if you're buying!

What is one song that's stuck in your head: I am frequently afflicted with this malady. Lately, it has been "Sounds of Silence" by Disturbed (Simon and Garfunkel cover) . Next week I'm sure it will be something entirely different. And, the week after that.....

What is your most memorable WEMU moment so far: So many to choose from! Interviewing Gloria Steinem has to be right at the top of the list. Always the subject of my great admiration, the prospect of actually talking with her was overwhelming. She'll never remember her WEMU moment, but I will always treasure the experience.  

Another life-long memory, though less desirable, involves a simple and innocent mispronunciation of an oft used phrase. In the course of one of our pledge drives, I passionately expressed dismay at the resulting impacts on WEMU of a state-mandated "funding cut." Easy enough, right? Say it with me: "Funding cut."  On that fateful morning, it turned out not to be quite so simple. I mispronounced each of those words, "funding cut," in the most profane and inappropriate of ways. I can now attest there are times when you can very clearly see your career flash before your eyes. 

Why do you have a passion for public radio: Stories. In music and news, I hear the stories of our collective lives. There is depth, passion, excitement, disappointment, laughter and tears. It's all there, told in informative, engaged and entertaining ways. You can hear radio anywhere. When it's public radio, you listen. I will never be able to adequately express the gratitude I have for WEMU's family of listeners for nurturing and inspiring the best in me. The ability to share in our story that way has kept me here for 22-years, so far. If I get my way, we'll keep writing our story for the rest of my working life. 

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— David Fair is the WEMU News Director and host of Morning Edition on WEMU.  You can contact David at 734.487.3363, on twitter @DavidFairWEMU, or email him at dfair@emich.edu