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UNDER THE RADAR with Host Frank Fear

UNDER THE RADAR with Host Frank Fear

By Frank Fear
Important issues and interesting people fly under the radar. Let's explore them together.
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UNDER THE RADAR: 'Democracy Working as It Should' with guest Dr. Bill Rizzo, Part I

UNDER THE RADAR with Host Frank Fear

UNDER THE RADAR: 'Democracy Working as It Should' with guest Dr. Bill Rizzo, Part I

UNDER THE RADAR with Host Frank Fear

Reclaiming Education from Corporate Capture
Politically motivated donors are exerting undue influence on K-12 and higher education. UnKochMyCampus is responding by seeking to protect education from those who seek to privilege private interests over public good. Learn about how and what with Jasmine Banks, Executive Director, and collaborator Professor Sharon J. Kirsch, Arizona State U. and Save our Schools AZ. Professors Nathan Rousseau and Zach Kaiser join the conversation. Today’s program, co-hosted by Frank A. Fear and Rubén Martinez, is an educational offering of FutureU, Conversations about Values and Change in Higher Education. 
October 8, 2021
Want To Be College Football's #1 Team? (Think Again)
Playing to be 'the best' in college football is a futile game because only a few schools (and, I would argue, only one conference, the Southeastern Conference) are primed to win. The SEC's acquisition of Oklahoma and Texas, and the decision to form a 'football alliance' among the PAC-12, Big Ten, and Atlantic Coast conferences (leaving out the Big 12), illustrate why.    
September 27, 2021
Politically Engaged Scholars: Focus on Industrial-Scale Agriculture in California
Listen to co-authors Daniel J. O'Connell and Scott J. Peters discuss their new book, In the Struggle: Scholars and the Fight Against Industrial Agriculture in California. O'Connell and Peters are joined by discussants Raymond A. Jussaume, Jr. and Adalberto Aguirre, Jr. Jim Bingen and Joe Scrimger also offer comments. (This audio was produced by FutureU and was hosted by Ruben Martinez and Frank Fear. Cover photo Ernesto Galarza courtesy of AFL-CIO.)
September 18, 2021
In Netflix's, "The Chair," There's a Moral To The Story
Chairperson Kim (Sandra Oh) and Professor Dobson (Bill Duplass) are faculty members, first and foremost, even when that choice comes with personal and professional costs. Neoliberalism loses in The Chair. The Collegium triumphs. 
August 27, 2021
The Bobby Bowden I Knew
Whenever Bobby Bowden’s name comes up, you often hear a Bobby Bowden story. Here’s mine. (The text version of this recording is available at The Sports Column.)
August 13, 2021
America's Struggle with Truth-Telling & Critical Race Theory
Recent condemnation of Critical Race Theory, including imposing restrictions about what can be taught in schools about America’s history, represents a major obstacle to truth-telling, an infringement of free speech, and an insult to academic freedom. It is another signal that democracy is in peril. Thankfully, many Americans seek truth and justice, including today's guests. MARK MCCORMICK is Director of Strategic Communications, ACLU of Kansas. A New York Times best-selling author, Mark has 20-plus years of experience as a reporter, editor, and columnist. His books include "Some Were Paupers, Some Were Kings: Dispatches from Kansas." MARTHA BIREDA directs the Blanchard House Museum of African American History and Culture in Punta Gorda, FL. Her most recent book, "A Time for Change: How White Supremacy Ideology Harms All Americans," was published in June 2021. RUBEN MARTINEZ is professor and director of The Julian Samora Research Institute, Michigan State University. His extensive publication record on circumstances/issues affecting Latinos includes a recent essay, "Divisive Concepts and the Problem of Racism."  This video was produced and hosted by Frank Fear for FutureU FutureU, (Cover art, courtesy CNN)
July 25, 2021
John & Jim Magee: "It's Not About the Deal."
Michigan St. U. peeps may remember John Magee. John held several positions at the U, including Exec Staff Assistant, College of Arts and Letters, and staff assistant in Ag & Nat Resources. Today, John serves as Assistant VP & Chief International Officer at Madonna University, Lavonia, MI. John and I continue to get together (he introduced me to his brother Jim along the way), and we talk about a range of issues. One issue (the focus here) is what John and Jim (also an internationalist) have learned about working internationally. "It's not about the deal," they argue, and it's certainly not about mining other countries for money and students. Rather, it's about establishing meaningful relationships and creating partnerships that benefit all parties involved. Not earth-shattering, you say? Well...ego, hubris, arrogance, and institutional self-centeredness (what another colleague calls "The Organization First" syndrome) make it more difficult (than easier) to put into practice. So here are John and Jim on "It's Not About the Deal."
July 18, 2021
In Higher Education, It's 'Follow the Money,' Too
Politically motivated philanthropy can influence who gets hired, who is awarded tenure/promoted, and what is taught/researched. Subject-matter priorities include promoting the primacy of free-market capitalism and safeguarding the ethic of American Exceptionalism. Recent efforts have focused on restricting teaching the legacy of racism in America, including rejecting Critical Race Theory as a legitimate framework for interpreting U.S. history.  Thankfully, academics across the country are responding to these pernicious activities. We feature two of those colleagues in today's program--ISAAC KAMOLA, Trinity College, and BETHANY LETIECQ, George Mason University. Kamola’s recent article in Inside Higher Education, "Where Does the Bizarre Hysteria About CRT Come From? Follow the Money!," has received nationwide acclaim. Kamola’s new book (out in November), "Free Speech and Koch Money: Manufacturing a Campus Culture War" (with Ralph Wilson), examines how the Koch donor network funds the student groups, campus provocateurs, think tanks, litigation organizations, and the right-wing media outlets responsible for manufacturing the so-called ‘campus free speech crisis.’ Letiecq is a faculty activist at one of America’s most infiltrated universities. She serves on the GMU Faculty Senate and is president of the campus chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). In her GMU-AAUP role, she partnered with student leaders and worked to expose undue donor influence at GMU, and she has also challenged the privatization of presidential searches and working conditions of contracted workers during COVID. Letiecq wrote about GMU and donor influence in "George Mason University’s Donor Problem and the Fight for Transparency," which was published in AAUP’s Academe. (This podcast was produced by Frank Fear for FutureU, July 2021, and was transcribed for transmission here.)
July 15, 2021
Elevating Eulogy Virtues in Today's Resume-Driven World
There is a lot of pressure in leadership circles these days to beat the competition and score 'big wins.' Because of that emphasis, we can sometimes set aside the importance of what author David Brooks calls Eulogy Virtues, things like doing the right thing, being courageous in the face of political pressure, and figuring out ways to balance performance and integrity. In this program, James Votruba (president emeritus, Northern Kentucky Univesity) joins me in celebrating the life of one of Jim's mentors, Paul Miller, a person who embodied Eulogy Virtues in spirit and practice. Our conversation is more than a remembrance. It is a plea for emphasizing the importance of Eulogy Virtues when we use the word 'leadership.' To learn more about Paul Miller's life and work, read Remembering Paul A. Miller: Leadership for the Public Good. (Today's program is brought to you by FutureU and LA Progressive.) 
June 24, 2021
Politically Divided America Is Likely to Stay That Way … Unless
Nobody defends America's political divide, and most call it out emphatically. And yet, it not only persists, but it is arguably getting wider, deeper, and hotter. One reason is that millions of Americas make a habit of contributing to the divide. Dysfunctional? ‘Understandable’ is another way of looking at it. Here's why and what we can do to heal America--before it is too late.
June 9, 2021
Stupid Is as Stupid Does? “There Is More to It Than That.”
What are they thinking? How many times have we heard ourselves or others speak those words? A lot, I'm sure. But what we don't say or hear as much is this: “I’m not sure why they believe and act as they do. I need to understand.” An exploration of the phenomenon 'stupidity' says that would be a good idea.    
June 4, 2021
Neoliberalism in Higher Education in the Age of Trump
The five-decade-long evolution from institution to industry widened and accelerated during the Age of Trump–an era that persists–and the outcome has changed what higher education represents, how it operates, and what it offers. Drawing on their book, Neoliberalism and Academic Repression, co-editors Erik Juergensmeyer and Anthony J. Nocella II discuss the impact and consequences of higher education in the Age of Trump and comment on what can be done to reverse this pernicious shift. Erik and Anthony are joined by discussants Jason Del Gandio and Amy Jamison. Co-hosted by Frank Fear and Ruben Martinez. This audio brought to you by FutureU: Conversations about Values and Change. 
May 28, 2021
REBROADCAST (5/30/20): As Eyes Are on Minneapolis, Tulsa’s Experience Is Instructive
America's indefensible storyline includes mass killings of African Americans—not by police, but by fellow Americans. One such event--in Tulsa, OK--took place a century ago this week. The story didn't end there; it continues, and very differently from how it started. What happened in Tulsa a century ago was disgraceful. What’s happening today in Tulsa gives hope.
May 26, 2021
Affiliation's Blind Eye
We all devote time and attention to affiliations, and there is great joy and fulfillment to be experienced that way. By the same token, there are times when it is important to step back, raise questions, and take counter-positions to prevailing choices. “It's harder to do than it sounds,” wrote Jennifer Finney Boyton recently. Here's why. 
May 22, 2021
What Can We Learn From Agatha Christie?
Agatha Christie observed human nature in its various forms and proclivities. She wrote using an unpretentious platform—the mystery novel--too easily viewed for its entertainment value and too easily sold short as a portrait of human behavior and society. Today, I'll focus on the portrait.
May 5, 2021
Major College Athletics Today: Pay the Head Football Coach $4 Million, Build an Addition to the Basketball Arena, and Eliminate Track & Field Because "We Don’t Have Enough Money"
That distorted picture, which mocks the purpose of athletics in higher education, privileges intercollegiate athletics in commercialized and quasi-professionalized forms. It's time to put an upside-down system right-side up. 
April 22, 2021
The Story Behind 'One Shining Moment'
Episodes with music are only available on Spotify.
One Shining Moment ranks as one of the most iconic songs in sports history. Nearly every April since 1987, CBS-TV has played it immediately after a national collegiate basketball champion has been crowned. Surprisingly, though, the song wasn't inspired by college basketball (or any sport, for that matter). And if not for a quirk of fate, it wouldn't have been linked with college basketball. Sound strange? It is. Here's the backstory. 
April 13, 2021
'My Dinner with Andre': As Relevant Today as it Was Back in the Day
The year is 1981 and two colleagues—Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory—play themselves in a loosely based autobiographical enactment. The film’s theme is basic but elusive: a person can benefit from spending time with a fundamentally different person. That theme is as relevant today as it was four decades ago.  
April 2, 2021
Mid-Majors Are Primed for First Round NCAA Upsets
Each year I wager a guess at which mid-major men's college basketball teams might surprise during the opening weekend of March Madness. Here are teams to watch this year. (Cover photo, Grand Canyon's Asbjorn Midgaard as published in the Arizona Republic)
March 15, 2021
Could David Jolly Change the Landscape of Florida’s Politics?
A viable Independent candidate may enter Florida's 2022 gubernatorial race. He is David Jolly, formerly elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, who left the Republican Party with fanfare. While an Independent running for statewide office rarely makes headline news, this time it is. Here's why and what it could mean for Florida and beyond.
March 13, 2021
'Under the Radar' College Basketball Teams that Could Spring a March Madness Surprise
Each year I wager a guess at which 'mid-majors' might surprise during the opening weekend of March Madness. Here are teams to watch this year.
March 12, 2021
What My Facebook Newsfeed is Saying About Andrew Cuomo
Nothing. Silence from the public Left about Cuomo is no different from silence from the public Right re Trump's transgressions.
March 8, 2021
Omar H. Ali's "In the Balance of Power" is a Great Read for Black History Month
Omar H. Ali’s, In the Balance of Power: Independent Black Politics and Third-Party Movements in the United States, could carry the title, “What We Should Have Learned in High School, But Didn’t.” And you can engage Professor Ali virtually on Sunday, February 21, 7 p.m. ET, when he talks about his book at The Politics for People Book Club. Register here to participate (no-cost). 
February 5, 2021
America's Falling International Standing
It’s easy to get carried away with rankings, but I don’t think that posture applies this time. I’m talking about America’s international standing in 2020 as measured by The Social Progress Index. We’re ranked #28 in the world. Why are we falling in the rankings? What can be done to reverse it? Here's what I think.
January 28, 2021
The Scholars Speak: The Edgewood Village Scholars Program (Part 2)
It's not a government program, and it's not a non-profit offering either. It's the product of citizen resolve--The Edgewood Village Scholars Program. Starting in elementary school, students living in resource-limited households are prepped for college. Launched in 2008, the program is yielding college graduates. Located in the Lansing, MI area, the program is assisted by Michigan State University and funded by various means, including local philanthropy. In Part 1, you met founder John Duley and three other program principals--Donna Kaplowitz, John Melcher, and Judy Gardi. Today, get to know Makela Rodgers (University of Southern California), Audriyana Jaber (Michigan State University), and Mohammed Fattah (University of Michigan) as they talk about the program. Learn more about The Edgewood Village Scholars program.
January 16, 2021
From the Grassroots: The Edgewood Village Scholars Program (Part 1)
It's not a government program, and it's not a non-profit offering either. It's the product of citizen resolve--The Edgewood Village Scholars Program. Starting in elementary school, students living in resource-limited households are prepped for college. Launched in 2008, the program is yielding college graduates. Located in the Lansing, MI area, the program is assisted by Michigan State University and funded by various means, including local philanthropy. Today, founder John Duley joins three other program principals--Donna Kaplowitz, John Melcher, and Judy Gardi--in talking about this very important program.
January 2, 2021
What a Year! Reflections on 2020
Kadin McElwain of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, joins me in reflecting on 2020 and what we might do to make 2021 a better year for ourselves and others. We draw on thoughts authored by somebody famous--Charles Dickens--and somebody not, Vera Hogan of Fenton, MI.  Both offer wise observations, indeed.
December 31, 2020
Neoliberalism Unmasked in Caryl Churchill's "Top Girls"
Caryl Churchill’s play, Top Girls, was written in the early 1980s and first performed in 1982. An outstanding piece of socio-cultural satire, it was also a timely response to Neoliberalism. When Churchill wrote the play, Neoliberalism was being foisted full-stop on Britain by its enthusiastic practitioner, Margaret Thatcher. That was then. Today, her critique continues to stand tall.  
December 27, 2020
A Review of J.B. Priestly's, "An Inspector Calls," dedicated to Barbara Sawyer-Koch
In today's podcast, I draw on the work of 20th Century dramaturgist J.B. Priestly in his mid-century play, An Inspector Calls. Published in 1945 and set in 1912 Britain, it’s one of Priestley’s best-known works. As a social commentator, Priestley puts a mirror before us and asks, “What do you see?” Although written during a very different era, Priestley’s portrait applies today. It’s one reason why the BBC adapted it in the 2015 eponymously titled screenplay written by Helen Edmonson. Priestly gives us much to think about and, perhaps more so, tells us why it's so important to serve the public good--as Barbara Sawyer-Koch has done throughout her life.
December 25, 2020
Shared University Governance and Faculty Voice
Shared governance and faculty voice--then, now, and for the future--is a panel presentation/discussion hosted by Ruben Martinez. Topics and panelists are: 'History Erased' with Frank Fear, professor emeritus; 'Faculty Voice in Shared Governance” with Andaluna Borcila, associate professor; and '“Rebuilding Shared Governance” with Stephen Gasteyer, associate professor. Drs. Martinez. Fear, Borcila, and Gasteyer are all affiliated with Michigan State University. The video includes commentary by Anna Pegler-Gordon and Janice Beecher, who are also MSU affiliated. The audio was produced by Future U, and it's also available for viewing on YouTube.
December 17, 2020
Neoliberalism in Higher Education with Professor Nathan Rousseau
What began with economic liberalism--rooted in Adam Smith’s 18th Century classic book, The Wealth of Nations--has evolved and morphed well beyond economics, first to public policy and, today, to the socio-cultural sphere. Berkeley’s Wendy Brown asserts that Neoliberalism has become a 'saturating reality principle in society.’ Much has been written about the impact of Neoliberalism on higher education, and a recent example is Professor Rousseau's article, The Sociological Imagination, Neoliberalism, and Higher Education (published in Social Currents, 2020). Today, we'll hear from Nathan, discussants Ruben Martinez and Amy Jamison, and other colleagues, as they explore this important subject. (Today's program was produced by FutureU and is also available in audiovisual form on YouTube, "Neoliberalism in Higher Education with Professor Nathan Rousseau.")  
December 13, 2020
Music and Social Change
Music is entertainment and more. For social activists, music is an anthem for change. It also inspires, stimulates, educates, galvanizes/connects people, celebrates, agitates, truth-tells, and does much more. In this video, Paul Babladelis and Jennifer HudsonPrenkert join Frank Fear to discuss music as change agent. They illustrate the discussion with four of Paul's performances: My Own Two Hands (written by Ben Harper), and three songs that Paul composed, What They Do Best, When We Gonna' Wake Up?, and The Not So Pure Michigan Blues. NOTE: This audiocast is an introduction to the full discussion and music presentation, which is available on YouTube either by clicking the link or by searching "Music as Change Agent" at YouTube. Enjoy!
December 8, 2020
Neoliberalism: The Clunky Word with Teeth that Bite
It’s a force that few in the general public recognize and even fewer call it by name. But the 'it,' Neoliberalism, has changed society. And as Neoliberalism keeps evolving and morphing, it becomes increasingly destructive, encroaching on democracy and on many other issues/matters that progressives hold dear. I make the case drawing on Wendy Brown's recent book, In the Ruins of Neoliberalism
December 4, 2020
Anthony Trollope Never Met Donald Trump, But Knew Him Well
Times change. Human behavior? That’s another story. Never seen anybody like Donald J. Trump? Well, there have been others. In 1875, British novelist Anthony Trollope wrote about one of them in his classic, The Way We Live Now. The character’s name was Augustus Melmotte.
November 16, 2020
"Bailey at Twenty"
Welcome everyone to “Bailey at 20,” celebrating the 20th anniversary of the launch of the Liberty Hyde Bailey Scholars Program at Michigan State University. In the mid-1990s, Dean Fred Poston asked faculty to design a program that would complement and supplement students' undergraduate majors. What emerged was the Bailey Scholars Program. In this podcast, you'll hear multiple reflections about the program. Thank you, Monica Glysson Craven, Emma Albrecht, Marquita Chamblee, Howard Person, the Halsted family (alumna Kristen Halsted Marks, her mother Lois and father Lee Halsted, and grandfather George Greenleaf), Carl Schwartzkopf, Kent Workman, John Duley, Angelica Forde, Paty Jaimes, Glenn Sterner, Fred Poston, and Kelly Millenbah. We close with thoughts from the current director, Jeno Rivera, and current academic adviser, Dustin Petty, about Bailey present and future. I hope you enjoy listening to 'Bailey at 20' as much as I enjoyed producing it.   
November 10, 2020
Vilify or Sanctify? Why 'Snark' Has Emerged as a Form of Political Engagement
Have I snarked? Mea culpa! It's one reason I decided to write this essay, which is an attempt to elevate understanding of what has become a ubiquitous but poorly understood phenomenon. America isn’t divided when it comes to 'snark.' Right, Center, Left ... Republican, Democrat, Independent, Other ... Urban, Suburban. Rural .... East, West, North, South ... Profession or trade... It doesn’t matter. All education levels, too. There is snark. And snark exacerbates the political divide. #NoMoreSnark  
November 8, 2020
On Populism's Relevance
With the global rise in Populist activity, it's a good time to get a better handle on what Populism means, including who Populists are, what they believe, and what they do.
October 19, 2020
Another Look at Democratic Socialism
Stimulated by a new book authored by John. B. Judis, The Socialist Awakening.
October 11, 2020
In America, Just About Everything is an Industry, Including Politics
Review of a new book: Katherine M. Gehl and Michael E. Porter, The Politics Industry (Boston: Harvard Business Review Press, 2020).
October 4, 2020
Book Review: "Armies of Enablers: Survivor Stories of Complicity and Betrayals in Sexual Assaults"
Authored by Professor Amos N. Guiora and published by American Bar Association Publishing (2020).
September 29, 2020
"The Enablers," Institutional Actors in Sexual Assaults
For years, storylines about sexual assaults have focused on perpetrators and victims/survivors--and for very good reasons. There's a related storyline, too. It's about institutional affiliates who either observe or know about sexual assaults but do not take appropriate action on the victims' behalf. Omissions make it easier for perpetrators to get away with assaults, for assaults to continue, and for institutions to cover up what happened. Joining me today to discuss this important issue are Professor Amos Guiora (University of Utah), whose new book, Armies of Enablers, is a major contribution to the field, and Elizabeth Abdnour, Lansing, MI-area attorney, who is an advocate for survivors and outspoken on the issue of institutional enablement. (NOTE: This program is sponsored by FutureU, a network of colleagues concerned about the status and future of higher education.) 
September 24, 2020
Tom and Diane Emling: Happy 100th Birthday, John Duley. We Love You Dearly.
Tom and Diane have speaking roles on 'Duley Acknowledged,' but it only seemed right to offer them extended time so that they could express their admiration and thanks to John Duley, whom they've known for 50 years. Here are Tom and Diane Emling. 
September 21, 2020
'Duley Acknowledged,' Voices of Affirmation on John Duley's 100th Birthday
Welcome to a special recording,  ‘Duley Acknowledged,” acknowledging John Duley on his 100th birthday. You'll hear a variety of voices talking about John's life and work. You'll hear expressions of admiration and respect for what John has meant to them and how he has served the public good. Thank you, Ann Kammerer, Judy Gardi, Lynn Jondahl, David Hollister, Bob Green, Elaine Davis, Diane & Tom Emling, Kent Workman, Donna Kaplowitz, Steve Esquith, Mary Edens, and Dwight Giles. Well done! Know that ‘Duley Acknowledged” is part of a two-part recording. ‘Duley Noted’ is John talking about his life’s journey—his values, convictions, and various engagements over the years. 'Duley Noted' is available here. 
September 13, 2020
"Duley Noted," Celebrating John Duley's 100th Birthday
In the 2 hours that follow, John Duley shares thoughts about his lifelong commitment to serving the public good. John's work spans his formative years as an Ohio State student, seminary education in NYC, sabbatical at Cambridge University, campus ministry work in Kalamazoo, Columbus, State College, and East Lansing. student development work at MSU & nationally, and in a variety of efforts undertaken over nearly 40 years since retiring from full-time employment. Among other things, John fought for open housing, participated actively in the Civil Rights Movement, and lead national efforts in student field experiential education and service-learning. Today, John continues to have an impact. An example is The Edgewood Scholars Program, which John describes in this recording. Framed beautifully in an overview delivered by East Lansing's Ann Kammerer, 'Duley Noted' bears witness to the power of civic engagement. (cover photo courtesy of ELi, East Lansing Info)
September 10, 2020
A Cautionary Tale for 2020: The Election of 1876 & The Compromise of 1877
Nearly a century and a half ago, the major parties put partisan interests before country and, in the exchange, dealt African Americans a vicious blow.  Because hyperactive party politics and racial intolerance are as alive today as they were back then, could America revisit history later this year? Here's what happened nearly 150 years ago, what might happen this year, and what we can do in counter-response. 
September 1, 2020
The Importance of 'Democratic Professionalism,' Especially in Times of Crisis
It's rare to see public stakeholders/constituents involved in the decision-making process these days. Instead, executives announce decisions and then turn to public relations to ‘spin it’ in a positive direction. Engaging stakeholders has become a leadership exception rather than a leadership rule. Democratic Professionalism is a much-needed alternative.
August 25, 2020
Election 2020 in the Land of Oz
1939 and 2020 seem so far apart, but they aren't when it comes to living in the Land of Oz. "Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my!"
August 17, 2020
'Life is Worth Living' and 'Life is Worth Losing': The United States of Plutocacy
The literature has helped me better understand the political realities of living in 21st Century America. I've already discussed two books in this podcast series, Anand Giridharadas' 'Winners Take All' and Joseph Stiglitz's, 'People, Power, and Profits.' I'll discuss another book in this podcast, Isabel Wilkerson's recently released, 'Caste.' But as I read books like those I'm also struck by how similar messages have been in the public domain for years. I pick two for discussion in this podcast: Rev. Fulton Sheen's popular network TV program of the 1950s, "Life is Worth Living,' and George Carlin's 2006 comedy album/special, 'Life is Worth Losing.' What do Sheen and Carlin have to say? Why did they say it? And what does it mean for today? Listen on as I talk about 'The United States of Plutocracy.'  
August 11, 2020
Dr. Fauci Meet Dr. Wiley
Every time I think something is new, it isn’t. Sure, the characters change, and the plot twists aren’t the same, but there’s thematic similarity. Today’s back and forth is about public health in the face of a pandemic, but more than a century ago it was about government inaction to ensure food safety. Dr. Anthony Fauci meet Dr. Wiley—Dr. Harvey Washington Wiley, that is—a government scientist who took on America’s food industry and its sundry political backers.
July 24, 2020
Lucy Burns and the 19th Amendment: How Activists Changed the Course of Democracy in America
Two of my favorite historical figures--Lucy Burns and Alice Paul--were protagonists in one of my favorite stories in politics--how women activists pushed and pushed to secure women's right to vote. 70+ years it took, from start to finish. Burns and Paul weren't involved at the beginning, but they sealed the deal at the end. Along the way, they took on a sitting president...and won. In today's podcast, we'll focus on Lucy Burns--an incredibly gifted citizen-activist who has flown under the radar far too long. (Recorded in honor of my spouse, Kathleen Lucille Burns Fear)
July 19, 2020
What MLK Might Say to DJT
2020 and 1963 aren't far apart. (Excerpts from Dr. Martin Luther King's 'Letter from a Birmingham Jail,' April 1963)
July 7, 2020
On Independence Day 2020, America's Spirit Rings True in "Worth Fighting For"
You’ve heard it said hundreds of times, ‘It’s worth fighting for.’ It's a reference to something that's really important—deep and personal—and something from which you can’t turn away. A cause is also worth fighting for--like hunger, which you can see; intolerance which you can taste; and sexism, or homophobia, or racism which you can feel. Some causes require valor, including the possibility of giving your life for the greater good. And that's what happened in the two stories I share here.   
July 5, 2020
It's Time for a New 'TINA'
I prepared this podcast for three reasons. First, Neoliberal is a cumbersome/dense concept. So I look at Neoliberalism in a way that's easier to understand—Margaret Thatcher’s TINA (‘There is No Alternative’). Second, I describe an alternative to Neoliberalism/TINA/-Progressive Capitalism—an approach advanced by Columbia University professor and Nobel Prize-winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz. Using market and other reforms, PC makes Capitalism work for all people, not just for a few. Finally, PC is relevant in this year’s national election. Elizabeth Warren embraces its tenants (not all candidates do). For those familiar with her work, it’s easy to see why.
July 2, 2020
State of Sports in a State of Uncertainty with Guests Jason Feirman and Bill Rizzo
Jason Feirman (co-host of '3rd & 3' podcast) and Bill Rizzo (prof emeritus, U. of Wisconsin) join Frank to talk about the uncertain state of America's sports. From COVID-19 to systemic racism in sports/society to whether there should be sports this year, it's a conversation you won't want to miss.
June 30, 2020
UNDER THE RADAR: America's Two Pandemics
Browsing through my library collection the other day, I came across Malcolm Gladwell’s 2000 book, The Tipping Point. Back then, Gladwell used an epidemiological model to describe and explain social change. It dawned on me that America is currently experiencing two pandemics--one is disease-related and the other is a people’s movement—and both are being spread by person-to-person contact. The natural and social worlds share characteristics. 
June 24, 2020
UNDER THE RADAR with Guest Kadin McElwain
"Positivity" is a word Kadin likes to use. "My purpose in life is to spread positivity in a negative world," he wrote recently. Kadin uses writing and music as tools to build that world. I Kadin through his writing. He writes just about every day, and he always has something important to say--about drug use, violence, responsibility, and doing the right thing. Today it's your turn to meet 16-year-old Kadin McElwain. 
June 20, 2020
UNDER THE RADAR: Change Across America is Opportunity and Challenge
America has awakened! But it's only the first step in the long road of change. Citizen protests--as important as they are--only go so far. Institutions need to change, too, and that’s no easy matter. And change is especially difficult when circumstances have become hardened--socio-culturally and institutionally--where longstanding demographics and institutional lethargy come into play. There's a way through the maze, of course. At issue is how to get through it. John Lewis has advice about how. 
June 15, 2020
Remembering Tom Edens
Tom Edens of Bellaire, Michigan died March 15 2020 at the age of 80 after a courageous battle with Lewy Body Dementia. Professor Emeritus, Michigan State University, Tom was a true north compass to his spouse, children, grandchildren, and lifelong friends. He was a brilliant collaborator, thoughtful listener, resourceful problem solver, and tinkerer. His subtle and dry sense of humor was everpresent, even in the most challenging of times. People gravitated to him.  Modest and understated, we celebrate Tom and the impact he had on us. This audio remembrance is an expression of our love--Mary Edens, Norm Sauer, Richard Bawden, Jim Bingen, Rich Merritt, David Wright, Russ Edens, and Chris Le Pottier with Frank Fear Sr. (producer) and Frank Fear Jr. (host). 
June 13, 2020
UNDER THE RADAR with Guests Roger Barbee & Seth Isenberg: Will the Winds of Change Bring Major Reforms in College Athletics?
Roger Barbee's recent article, "Systemic Racism in College Sports is Only Part of the Story," is the point of departure for a panel discussion with Seth Isenberg, owner/publisher of The Journal-Herald (White Haven, PA), Roger, and me on the status and future of big-time college sports--football and men's basketball, specifically. 
June 11, 2020
UNDER THE RADAR with Author and Screenwriter, Matthew Paris
Screenwriter and author Matthew Paris is also a film producer, director, and actor. His award-winning The Last Catch nabbed the Orsen Wells Award for Best Screenplay at the California Film Awards, and the Golden Reel Award for Best Short Film at the Canadian International Film Festival. As an author, Matthew's resume includes Eight Lanes to Glory, The Eyes on Me, and Two Hearts as One.  
June 8, 2020
UNDER THE RADAR: Anand Giridharadas Issues Wake-Up Call in “Winners Take All”
We're living a New Gilded Age, not unlike America of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when people like Carnegie, Morgan, and Rockefeller held sway. With public funding in distress today, we look increasingly to elites to support programs and initiatives. Anand Giridharadas argues for an alternative--for citizen-engaged democratic work undertaken in egalitarian public institutions that serve the public good. In this podcast, I summarize Giridharadas' critique and offer recommendations for achieving the vision he prefers.
June 3, 2020
UNDER THE RADAR: America Needs Its Own 'Miracle of Deliverance'
In times of crisis, leaders need to act truthfully, decisively, and rapidly. That happened 80 years ago Tuesday. Called 'The Miracle of Deliverance,' bold action saved thousands of lives. Today, America needs its own brand of 'deliverance.' Here's why and how'
May 25, 2020
UNDER THE RADAR: Conversation with 'Renaissance Man," Samuel H. Johnson
Sam Johnson has done so many meaningful things during this life--becoming an Emmy-winning local TV producer, engaging in public outreach work with the Federal government, appearing in Hollywood films, and writing historical and children's books, among many other things. You'll enjoy meeting Sam and learning more about his work and life.
May 16, 2020
UNDER THE RADAR: Review of David Daley's New Book, "Unrigged: How Americans are Battling Back to Save Democracy"
Unrigged is a timely and relevant book, one that electoral reformers and democracy activists/scholars will enjoy reading. David Daley documents the work of everyday Americans who were unwilling to accept the status quo--and then worked to change it.
May 11, 2020
UNDER THE RADAR: 'The Learning Paradigm' with guest Dr. Robert Barr
In 1995, Robert Barr and John Tagg published an article that launched a sea change in undergraduate education. Bob Barr reflects on the experience in this edition of 'Under the Radar.'
May 2, 2020
UNDER THE RADAR: Do Conservatives Have a Political Blueprint? If So, When Was It Conceived? The Answers Are 'Yes' and 'Unbelievable!"
Written in 1971 by soon-to-be Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell, it's called The Powell Memo (sometimes referred to as The Powell Manifesto). Powell created a Conservative call to arms. Decades later, you can see Powell's influence in enterprises like Fox News, in the work of the Koch Brothers, in ideas like 'Citizen United,' and in political initiatives like gerrymandering. 
May 1, 2020
UNDER THE RADAR: "Institutional Racism and Restorative Justice" with Author Dr. Diane Emling
In an important book for America, Institutional Racism and Restorative Justice (Routledge, 2020), Professor Emling helps us understand one of America's longstanding problems—institutional racism. She also recommends ways to achieve restorative justice.
April 27, 2020
UNDER THE RADAR: America Loses When Performance Politics Trumps Fireside Chats
Performance politics gets plenty of media attention, and it is a form of entertainment, too. But it replaces serious political discourse with a politically-infused game. What matters—always matters—is substance. FDR knew that.   
April 24, 2020
UNDER THE RADAR: What Is the Coronavirus Pandemic Telling Us about America? with guests Michael Fiorito, Monica Craven, and Steve Chupack
We're going through an extraordinary, collective experience--a national emergency caused by COVID-19. Thousands have fallen ill and died, and America has shut down. What is this shared experience telling us about America? Listen as three of my colleagues--Michael, Monica, and Steve--talk about this important question. 
April 15, 2020
UNDER THE RADAR: 'Pre-existing Health Conditions'? America Has Those, Too
Medical authorities tell us that people with pre-existing health conditions are more likely than healthier persons to succumb to COVID-19.  But just as those conditions challenge physical viability, sociological and cultural pre-conditions affect a society's socio-cultural health. Frank identifies/describes five pre-conditions that affect America negatively.
April 10, 2020
UNDER THE RADAR: Nurturing Spirit, Interpersonal Connections, and Community with Special Guest Maureen Lally
I’ve worked over the years with many outstanding community development practitioners. Sister Maureen Lally is the 'best of the best.' She is what Professor Albert W. Dzur calls 'a democratic professional.' See what I mean as you listen to her talk about people and her work in County Mayo, Ireland. 
April 7, 2020
UNDER THE RADAR: Civic Activism with guest Susan McGuire
Civic activist Susan McGuire works for the public good. An excellent organizer, she has created and led numerous initiatives, and never shies away from doing the heavy lifting.  Susan talks about her civic experiences, shares her thoughts about America today, and expresses her hope for America's future.  
April 1, 2020
UNDER THE RADAR: Fiscal Crunch Looms in Major College Athletics
The NCAA's budget is connected inextricably to revenues it receives from March Madness. The Association then passes on a significant chunk of those revenues to Division 1 conferences and schools. Because March Madness was canceled this year, the NCAA will allocate fewer resources this spring, and the fiscal situation will get worse if college football is affected in the fall. While there are many ways to address an athletic budget crunch, one way--an approach that is already out of hand--shouldn't be the used. What is it? I explain.  
March 28, 2020
UNDER THE RADAR: How Many College Presidents/Trustees View College Costs/Student Debt
Everybody knows how expensive it is to go to college these days. College debt is growing, too. It's no surprise, then, that national surveys show that a significant percentage of American adults endorse policies that reduce public tuition costs and relieve college debt. But the majority of public college/university public presidents and trustees aren't similarly inclined.   
March 26, 2020
UNDER THE RADAR: Citizen Journalism with guest Roger Barbee
The internet has opened up opportunities for citizens to write and share their thoughts with the broader public--beyond writing comments about pieces that others have written. Roger Barbee, my guest today, is what I call a 'citizen journalist.'  I'll share a few thoughts about citizen journalism and how it has evolved, and then we'll hear from Roger about why he writes, what he writes, and some of the issues he faces as a citizen journalist. 
March 24, 2020
UNDER THE RADAR: Joe Needs a Progressive VP
As Joe Biden was beating Bernie Sanders on Super Tuesday I-III, Biden struggled with one swath of primary voters—Very Liberal, Progressive, and Independent voters, Those votes stuck largely with Sanders. To send a strong message to millions of voters who lean Left and who aren’t leaning his way currently--voters he needs to win in November-Joe Biden needs to name a Progressive VP.
March 20, 2020
UNDER THE RADAR: ''From Leadership to 'Leader-ful,' Part III, with guest Buddy Campbell
Buddy Campbell retired recently as president and CEO of a large, regional, nonprofit organization, YMCA Buffalo/Niagara. The Buffalo News credited him with leading ‘a remarkable organizational resurgence’ at that Western New York-based organization. Here's why. 
March 20, 2020
UNDER THE RADAR: ''From Leadership to 'Leader-ful,' Part II, with guest Terry Link
In his activist and professional roles, Terry Link values and enables broadly shared leadership. Today, Terry talks about the importance of 'spark' and its connection to enabling leaderful-environments. 
March 20, 2020
UNDER THE RADAR: 'From Leadership to Leader-ful,' Part I
Let’s shift the word ‘leadership’ to the word ‘leader-ful.’ If we do that, then we can talk about places, spaces, and circumstances where leadership is shared widely and a group moves forward collaboratively. It's not about he/she, it’s about ‘we.’
March 20, 2020
UNDER THE RADAR: 'Democracy Working as it Should'' with guest Dr. Bill Rizzo, Part II
Bill is back to give more examples of local residents who worked together to make democracy work as it should. He'll also share guidelines to you can use in your community.  (Contact Dr. Rizzo at
March 18, 2020
UNDER THE RADAR: 'Democracy Working as It Should' with guest Dr. Bill Rizzo, Part I
There's so much talk these days about democracy in jeopardy and America's political divide. But there are also many examples of democracy working as it should. Guest Bill Rizzo will talk about that today, drawing on decades of experience working with citizens and government officials across the State of Wisconsin. Tune in! (Contact Dr. Rizzo at
March 17, 2020
UNDER THE RADAR: Democrat-Leaning Independents Aren't Sold on Joe Biden
Frank bases that assertion on Exit Interviews conducted March 3 and 10 in 16 primary states. Listen to what he found and what it means. 
March 12, 2020
UNDER THE RADAR: Being a Customs Officer with guest Pat Burns
Today’s Under the Radar topic is ‘the professions’—with a twist. It’s about professionals with whom we come in contact regularly, but professionals we really don’t know much about. I can’t think of a job that has been more in the spotlight since 9/11 than U.S. Customs. My guest, Pat Burns, demystifies what's involved in being a Customs Officer, including talking about the many challenges associated with the job.
March 10, 2020
UNDER THE RADAR: Closed Primaries
Did you know that millions of America's voters can't cast ballots in primaries this year? Frank talks about why and what one state is doing to change the way it conducts statewide primaries. 
March 9, 2020
Hi, everyone, and thanks for listening to this opening episode of UNDER THE RADAR. I’m your host, Frank Fear. UNDER THE RADAR isn’t about business as usual. It’s about issues that don’t get discussed enough, if at all; and it’s about people from whom we don’t hear enough, if at all. WeLcome to UNDER THE RADAR.
March 8, 2020