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Valley Public Radio Staff
Thomas Jefferson Hour
The Thomas Jefferson Hour is a weekly radio program dedicated to the search for truth in the tradition of Thomas Jefferson. Our third president, Thomas Jefferson, was a man of the Enlightenment, a student of human nature and gentlemanly behavior, and he applied this to his personal life as well as to both the national and world wide challenges he faced during the forming of our nation. Nationally acclaimed humanities scholar and award winning first person interpreter of Thomas Jefferson, Clay Jenkinson, portrays Jefferson on the program, and he answers listener questions while in the persona of Jefferson--his answers are grounded in the writings and actions of the great man.
Our mission is to generate one-on-one discourse between friends and family members, then to help broaden it to national discourse (replace the 30 second two position only sound bites) about important, and many times sensitive, topics to our country and to our citizens. We do this in a unique and entertaining way—through the voice of our third president Thomas Jefferson.
Our listeners have encouraged us to sprinkle the program lineup with out-of-character programs. The format is one of Clay Jenkinson, the humanities scholar and social commentator, examining a current or historical event using both a Jeffersonian lens and a modern-day humanities lens. The gift we bring to both program formats is the ability to help people strip through the advertised message and look for the truth of the situation. The truth may be painful and self-revealing, but it is always uplifting to the spirit.
The Thomas Jefferson Hour appeals to Public Radio listeners, not just history buffs. While some of our primary stations are in historical areas (Norfolk and Radford, Virginia) or areas that are Jeffersonian (North Dakota, Kansas, Texas), our largest listening audience occurs in postmodern regions such as Fresno, California and Colorado Springs, Colorado. Our appeal truly is our ability to bring out the truth in a non-dramatic, unthreatening manner then to help our audience think through the complexity of the decision making process, bringing clarity to the steps and the events.
We gauge our success by the number of questions our listeners submit, by the voice mails we receive exclaiming how much better the person feels after listening to our show, and by the growing number of stations that are broadcasting our program.
The host and producer of the program is David Swenson, Grammy nominee, documentary videographer, and owner of Makoché Studios. David is a new addition to the The Thomas Jefferson Hour since its move to Bismarck, North Dakota and brings a fresh and entertaining perspective to the broadcast.