“I knew I wanted to be in radio when I was 6 years old,” said Dayle Ohlau, now 59 and soon to take over as general manager of KDPI, the local nonprofit community radio station based in Ketchum.
Ohlau, who had previously earned a master’s degree in human behavior, decided to return to academia. She enrolled at the California Institute for Integral Studies in San Francisco to pursue a Ph.D. in the School of Transformative Studies.
Two and half years later, she has completed her coursework and is preparing an 80-page thesis proposal titled “Homo-Spiritus: Radical Compassion, a New Paradigm for Spirit-Based Journalism.”
“My work is theoretical rather than quantitative,” Ohlau said. “It traces our history from the end of World War I to today, and studies media biases that led us to where we are now, with a distrust of the media and a weakening of the Fourth Estate [journalism]. We have become so tribal. Due to our confirmation biases we only listen to or read what we already believe.”
A recent $11,000 donation from 100 Men Who Care, a local philanthropic group, drew Ohlau back to the nonprofit station that she had helped General Manager Mike Scullion get started in 2013. She will be able to draw a small salary putting together new ideas for the station.
“For me this will be a synergy between my studies and my radio career,” she said. ‘It’s an opportunity to generate compassionate and ethical communication in our community. I think of it as harkening back to the days of the town square.”