The radio program “Your Humanities Half-Hour” has been on the air on Power 99 Saipan every Sunday for about a decade now and has already managed to run the gamut of everything that the humanities stands for, whether that is history, contemporary culture, literature, jurisprudence, and even religion.
In short, the humanities basically cover all subjects except math and science, according to the program’s director and host Catherine Perry, who has been a mainstay with the program when it started 10 years ago.
For those who are not in the know, “Your Humanities Half-Hour” is a radio program of the Northern Marianas Humanities Council that airs for half an hour every Sunday at 11am. It features conversations that aim to advance humanities-based projects in the CNMI and life stories that draw you into someone you may or may not know that has done meaningful things.
NMHC executive director Leo Pangelinan said that the radio program to engage the community in humanities-based topics and people knowledgeable about these topics. “The humanities is a broad field, however, we try to touch on topics that are relevant or salient at any given moment. The show also gives us the opportunity to showcase the projects funded through our Community Grant Program or other projects through the perspective of a leader, participant, scholar or expert,” he said. “The show also provides a platform for individuals or groups in our community to share their accounts of important events, opinions on issues, and personal experiences.”
One of the facets of the program that the show’s host, Perry, loves is when people she features in her program talks about things that are close to their hearts. “The fact that people are willing to open up means a lot,” Perry said. “…Sometimes the conversation is personal,…sometimes people share things that are close to their hearts and I feel very humbled when they do that because it shows I’ve helped make a place for them to do that and to open their heart to the community and I think those shows are very powerful.”
Personally, Perry really enjoys talking about indigenous culture because “any way that we can document facts, truths, and knowledge about it will only help us protect and perpetuate the culture…”
“Your Humanities Half-Hour” airs on Power 99 and is heard all over Saipan, Tinian, and Rota. The show also airs in Guam via The Shark Marianas radio and the show is archived on NMHC’s You Tube Channel. “Our communities have a lot in common and there has been an increase in collaborative projects between our islands. In that regard, we see our show as an important medium for promoting an awareness of our common history, issues, and interests,” Pangelinan said.
He attributes much of the show’s appeal and success to the effort and commitment that Perry has put into it from the start. “She has a knack for bringing out the best in people and developing high quality content that matters. We are looking at other ways to feature interviews through internet-based social media platforms, however, as long as our community tune in to radio on Sundays and feedback suggests that the show adds value to their lives, we will continue to keep this program on the air,” Pangelinan added.
Perry herself enjoys connecting with people “and I think the show works for me also because I love asking questions. …Listening to people share their stories is something I will always be doing in some capacity. The show this Sunday will celebrate Father’s Day, which is going to be really powerful and I don’t say that lightly as everyone can relate to having a father.”
The show has kept airing though the COVID-19 pandemic but Perry said that they had to modify the production a bit. “The production room that we usually use doesn’t allow for social distancing so I do interview now either at the lobby of the station or outside the station.
For topic or conversations ideas you want featured in the radio program, email Perry at firstname.lastname@example.org.