Interview with Universal Pantry Radio Show Host and Activist, Jane Allen
“The show is named Universal Pantry because it is in our pantries that we tuck wholesomeness for our families and loved ones. Our pantries hold the sustenance for our kitchens and our kitchens give rise to the best conversations and actions. We sing, dance, celebrate and grieve in the kitchen. It is around the table we learn about the world and how to solve problems with critical thinking. At the moment, the Universal Pantry show is preparing for a new season with broadcasts to begin soon.”
Q: Jane Allen, thanks for taking the time to talk to us about Universal Pantry Radio on Red Sky Stage Community Radio. So, let me make sure I have this correct: Red Sky Stage is a coffee house style performing arts venue that hosts Red Sky Stage Community Radio? And where is this located?
Jane: Yes. It’s a wonderful idea developed by Marty Scott. The downtown Petoskey, Michigan stage offers an affordable community performance venue and the community internet radio station further supports the artists by airing their music.
Q: I was listening to Red Sky Stage Radio while preparing this interview, and I have to say, I really like the music and added the station to my favorites. A fun, indie rock, folky-kind of song called ‘Dragon’ played while I was working, and I fell in love. I looked up the band, Breathe Owl Breathe, and they’re from Michigan. Is all the music on Red Sky Stage Radio by local talent?
Jane: “Dragon” Love to sing and dance along with it when it plays! Breathe Owl Breathe is a local and regional favorite and will be performing soon again on Red Sky Stage. All of the featured artists on Red Sky Stage Community Radio have performed on the Red Sky Stage, from the ‘next door’ bluegrass band to the Italian guitarist. We specialize in talent from what we consider our area – local, state or region – but as we like to say, with an occasional universal voice.
Q: What is Universal Pantry Radio? And what is your show’s mission?
Jane: Originally, Universal Pantry Radio was the dream of my ‘perfect world’ radio station. Radio as art. It’s the dream of an old broadcaster who understands the power of radio! It’s all on paper, mission statement, properly formatted along with sample playlists (giggles), but no dollars to make it a reality.
However, Marty Scott’s Red Sky Stage came along and presented a lovely opportunity to play with my beloved radio and to promote bio-regional based eating and economies. Currently, I program and produce Red Sky Stage Community Radio which has included the show ‘Universal Pantry.’
The show is named Universal Pantry because it is in our pantries that we tuck wholesomeness for our families and loved ones. Our pantries hold the sustenance for our kitchens and our kitchens give rise to the best conversations and actions. We sing, dance, celebrate and grieve in the kitchen. It is around the table we learn about the world and how to solve problems with critical thinking. At the moment, the Universal Pantry show is preparing for a new season with broadcasts to begin soon.
Q: What time does your show air?
Jane: The new season will air at 12:30 and 9 p.m. beginning the first week of February.
Q: Is it geographically targeted or can anyone, from anywhere get something out of the show? Who is your target audience?
Janie: Oh yes: anyone/anywhere! One of the foundations of Universal Pantry is multi-generational and for all voices. In fact, there’s something for everyone on the whole of Red Sky Stage Community Radio. Similar to the Universal Pantry concept, the station supports local businesses, a clean earth and waters, social justice, civil rights and the arts.
Q: How did you get into radio? (Maybe add a little about your background.)
Jane: Oh my, how to make a long story short?! Always a radio girl, I began my career on FM radio in the early 70’s with innocence and altruism. Radio seemed to be the perfect vehicle for supporting the common good, that is, the earth and all its critters – including us, so I worked, learned and had success in every department from news to d.j. and writing to producing. But I was a tiny woman who was asked to promote the “Shop till You Drop” theme of the ‘80s and worse. I was out. The beautiful radio medium had begun to prostitute its audience, our people, and I was not going to be a part of it.
Of course, once radio is in your blood, it never leaves. Because good radio skills are like those of a good restaurant server (with which one can always find a job when necessary for survival), I was able to dabble from time to time without sacrificing my ethics. Outside of radio, I have earned my living by working with children and young adults in schools and libraries, with an occasional break to work as an organic gardener/garden designer.
Q: You also host an informative and engaging public group on Facebook called Universal Pantry Radio: Saving the Stories of Women’s Lives, can you tell us more about that?
Much of my work, outside the paying jobs, has been with women – whether with a lady in the grocery line along side of me or a woman who has come for counseling. I have learned that telling our stories is crucial to our growth and healing. Patriarchy and all of its ills are real. “Saving the Stories” comes from a past theme of National Women’s History Month. It was the year we hosted a multi-generational women’s event with shared stories and conversations among the generations. It was so happily successful for all the participants, I thought a casual FB group might have some value, as well.
Q: Would you encourage others with a mission like yours to start their own radio show in their area? How would someone wanting to start their own show get started?
Jane: Oh my gosh – yes!! Please, do! We need voices of reason and music that speaks to the whole of our human experience to help our world out of this mess caused by greed and political corruption. But how do we start? Find an operating station (digital or otherwise) and start inquiring. Make sure you have something other than an abstract idea. Put together a solid presentation with samples. (Right now I am working to develop a show with a young woman who did exactly that for her idea of a musician interview program. We welcomed her with open arms!)
Q: Where can people go to find your radio show or join your Facebook group?
Jane: Please find us at: http://redskystage.com/internet-radio-5/ There are all sorts of listening options for any device including a one click player on the page.
On Facebook, we’d love to have you hang out with us at https://www.facebook.com/RedSkyStage/
Melanie: Jane, thanks for sharing with us. Come back again!
Jane: Thank you! Like Grandpa would say “See ya on the radio!”