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On the final episode of UWO Now Season 1, Michael Ford, an associate public administration professor at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and director of the Whitburn Center for Governance and Policy Research, discusses the impact of partisan politics on local elections.

UWO Now, a biweekly podcast and radio show, is available on AppleGoogleSpotifyAmazon and YouTube. The episodes also air at 5 p.m. every other Thursday on 90.3 WRST-FM.

“In this episode with Dr. Ford, he helped me understand not all local elections require candidates to declare their party,” said UWO Now host and WRST-FM general manager Wendell Ray. “I’m from Chicago by way of Indianapolis and in both of those cities a candidate’s party affiliation is on the ballot. I thought that was how it was in every local election. I didn’t notice it when I voted for the first time in local elections in Wisconsin this year.”


Throughout the first season of the podcast, Ray explored a range of timely topics with members of the UW Oshkosh community.

“I’ve watched news programs and when they discuss an issue they’ll have a subject-matter expert from X organization or X college or X university, and I just remember thinking to myself, I’m sure we have people on this campus who could sit in that chair,” Ray said.

“Season 1 met the goal of discussing issues with people on our campus who have expert-level insight about topics of interest to a broad audience. I think our shows were able to reveal how talented our pool of faculty, staff and alumni is and how intelligent our students are,” he said.

In preparation for each of the 18 episodes, Ray does just enough research to develop a set of questions and guide the discussion. “I never want to know more than the listener might. Most of my questions just come from listening. I try to be like I was when I was 6 years old. I was that ‘why?’ kid, always asking that question until I got to the nub of it.”

Ray said he personally learned something new each time he interviewed UWO sources.

Here are his thoughts on five episodes that were particularly remarkable:

▶︎ Oct. 7:  Discussing the active shooter trainings that Chief Chris Tarmann does across the country. I had no idea we have an expert on our campus in this area. I was so impressed with Chris, I had him come make presentations in two of my courses. His information is so important.”

▶︎ Dec. 2:One of my favorite shows was with Dr. Terri Gee. She helped explain some of the latest technology powering the next phase of space exploration, and she explained some of the images coming back from the new space telescope.”

▶︎ Dec. 30:  “The second show we did with geology professor Dr. Joseph E Peterson, when we discussed how things have changed since Jurassic Park came out 30 years ago. He said if Jurassic Park were made today that big T-Rex would probably have feathers on it to more accurately depict what dinosaurs looked like.”

▶︎ Jan. 13:Our episode on cybersecurity was helpful with alumnus Peter Morgan. He said the most secure device you have is probably your cellphone and that there are some myths out there about how to keep your online activity protected.”

▶︎ May 5:Breaking down critical race theory and the issues surrounding it with African American studies professor Dr. Alphonso Simpson was interesting and enlightening.”

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