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Community campaign encourages active listening, civil discourse in Central Florida

ORLANDO — Dare to Listen is 90.7 WMFE’s community campaign designed to encourage active listening and civil discourse in the Central Florida community, with 90.7 WMFE acting as the conduit.

Our mission statement: To listen is risky. Because when we truly listen, we just might change our minds. To listen is risky. But not to listen is riskier. We believe it’s time for Central Floridians to consider, think, explore and question. To appreciate our differences, and find our commonalities. To reach across the fence, build the bridge, open our minds. To talk. And most of all, to listen.

“The idea of our Dare to Listen campaign seemed almost too edgy months ago when we started considering it,” 90.7 WMFE President and General Manager LaFontaine E. Oliver said. “But then events locally, nationally and even internationally began to challenge us as a community in some very visceral ways. In some cases, communities came together and began to have tough but cathartic conversations that had never been broached before. In other cases, conversations became divisive, or perhaps even worse, stopped altogether.

“These events underscored for us the all-important role of listening through all forms of communication and pushed us to reaffirm our role as a convener and proceed with a community-based campaign that would challenge us all to truly listen to each other. … It really does start with listening.”

In September 2016, 12 campaign billboards went up around the Orlando area featuring dramatic black-and-white portraits of community leaders and activists bearing the headline “From every side, I dare to listen” followed by the WMFE and NPR logos.The faces of the campaign include:

  • Carlos Carbonell, Echo Interaction Group; LGBT business leader
  • Imam Muhammad Musri, President and Senior Imam, Islamic Society of Central Florida
  • Flora Maria Garcia, President/CEO of United Arts of Central Florida
  • Belvin Perry, Attorney; former judge, Florida’s Ninth Judicial Circuit
  • Reverend Bryan Fulwider, Ordained minister; Founding President/CEO of the nonprofit Building US
  • Rabbi Steven Engel, Leads Central Florida’s largest Reform Jewish congregation
  • Linda Chapin, Former Orange County Mayor and UCF leader
  • Darryl Owens, Beacon College, former columnist, Orlando Sentinel
  • Suneera Madhani, CEO/Founder, Fattmerchant
  • Patrick Kahn, Founder/Director of Snap! Orlando
  • Jahfre Colbert, Content creator, YouTube series “Postmodern Explained”

Orlando photographer Ben Van Hook shot the portraits, and a creative team at &Barr, an Orlando marketing and advertising agency, brought the campaign to life. The photography and design work were both generously donated to 90.7 WMFE. The campaign ad buys were made possible by a generous donation from 90.7 WMFE Trustee Lyn Berelsman and husband David Berelsman.

In addition to the billboards, WMFE is promoting the campaign on wmfe.org, where folks are asked to take the dare, and across WMFE’s social media channels. Here is the deck of social media postcards.

WMFE has posed four challenges to listeners and non-listeners...

  1. LISTEN TO 90.7 WMFE. Make a conscious effort to really listen and have constructive community conversations about tough topics.
  2. TAKE THE DARE. Choose your dare tagline and sign up to receive Dare to Listen curated content in order to follow through on that dare. Visit wmfe.org/DareToListen
  3. SHARE. Tell your friends and family about your dare to encourage them to do the same.
  4. LIVE YOUR DARE. Let it be a perpetual reminder to always and in all ways truly listen intently and openly. Let your example of active listening encourage and inspire others.

For listeners who’d like to get more involved, WMFE has set up a “Become an Ambassador” page (www.wmfe.org/dareambassador) with additional tools to help make the Central Florida community stronger and introduce more people to the station.

WMFE will release a video featuring the faces of the campaign. Listeners will also be invited submit their own audio testimonials to play on the air. Events around the Dare to Listen theme are also being planned. More details to come.

This Dare to Listen campaign is based on a campaign commissioned for NPR of the same name. Learn more about WMFE’s Dare campaign at www.wmfe.org/daretolisten.

ABOUT 90.7 WMFE: 90.7 WMFE is a non-profit, member-supported, community-based public broadcasting company that operates 90.7 WMFE-FM, metro Orlando’s primary provider of NPR programming; and 90.7-2 Classical. Part of the community since 1980, WMFE focuses on providing quality national and local news and programming. Visit wmfe.org to learn more.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Jenny Babcock at 407-273-2300 ext. 112 or email at jbabcock@wmfe.org.

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