FIRST PERSON RADIO's Bill Parker Walks On

Bill Parker began volunteering for FPR's organization, MIGIZI Communications in late 1978. He came to the Indian community looking for organizations to volunteer for and someone directed him to us. He plowed right in, doing things like carrying sacks of potatoes for a community feast or quietly standing in the back of the room, ready to help. When he found out we would be training college students from the Journalism school at the University of Minnesota in radio skills, Bill said he could teach voice for radio. Once our studios were built and we had a number of students enrolled in our classes, we began taking students from the general public, and the first student we had was David Larsen, who had a pronounced stutter. Bill said he could help him and teach microphone skills as well. Bill did as promised and for the rest of his life, David remembered his training as he became a sought-after speaker in the Indian community. Another trainee came from the circus world. He wanted to learn how to narrate live events. His first assignment was an American Indian boxing event and he succeeded very well. Bill seemed to understand well the voice abilities of his students and enough of their personalities to emphasize their strengths.

Bill volunteered for FIRST PERSON RADIO for about twelve years, bringing in other talent to help the growing organization. His voice can be heard on the weekly distributed programs. The programs were produced from nationally gathered stories sent by independent producers and then produced and narrated by Bill. A number of engineers worked for FIRST PERSON RADIO over those years, working with Bill as the weekly show was produced overnight. Then copies were made for subscribers and mailed in the morning. The master went to Minnesota Public Radio for uploading to the satellite system and distribution to those stations that could download. The mailed copies were for the majority of stations that had no satellite capacity. 

Bill also helped in any other area of MIGIZI that needed work. In later years, he would bring his dog "Louie" to the office to keep him company as he worked at night.

KFAI received and played weekly programs until subscribership could not support the program and it ceased until mid 2009 when it began again as a live one-hour program.

Bill took the time to write Building A Classical Music Library in 1994. His enormous stores of tapes and CDs gave him broad access to the classical world. Bill died on January 15, 2018. He will be missed by all in FIRST PERSON RADIO and many in the Indian community whom he personally helped with gifts and loans.


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