Dan Easley was born just outside of Cincinnati, Ohio–and into radio. Dan grew up actively engaged in his father’s livelihood–public broadcasting–which meant traveling distances ranging from Ohio to Virginia, Pennsylvania to Alaska. His firsthand radio experience came at age 17 in the Last Frontier. He volunteered
at his father’s weekly music show for KRBD, Southern Alaska’s community radio station. A few years and states into the future, Dan began working for WVPT, the Harrisonburg-based PBS station. With a firm desire to explore all that public media had to offer, Dan worked as an engineer, camera operator, producer, and director. Along the way, he learned where his skills, passions and curiosities aligned.
Dan’s ability to recognize opportunity, coupled with an appreciation for community culture, led him to WMRA in 2005. His skill with broadcast equipment established him as a successful operations manager and computer technician for his first three years with WMRA. However, as Dan grew into his position, he recognized other ways he wanted to grow. Although he continued to volunteer at WMRA, Dan left his position at the station and embarked on a five-year sabbatical.
Over the course of those five years, he learned to play the banjo; built a 250 square foot home with his own two hands, where he currently lives; discovered a passion for gardening; freelanced as an audio engineer for Rosetta Stone and local historians; and produced fifteen records.
Dan officially rejoined WMRA in 2013 as the Assistant Producer of Virginia Insight and quickly took on the role of Operations Coordinator. Dan’s new perspective on his place in the station–and on life–is one he calls “people-focused, more aware of interpersonal relations.” He relates his new perspective to a quote from Kurt Vonnegut’s son and author, Mark Vonnegut, “We’re here to get each other through this thing, whatever it is.” He strives to highlight the local culture of the community. Dan hopes to collaborate with more journalists, both professional and amateur. He wants to use listener contributions in local news and, most importantly, to forge WMRA into a technologically available, useful resource.
Reminiscing on his childhood, Dan explains radio’s ever-changing landscape. “I watched the news as a kid, and the news was different then. Broadcasters were required to cover and present contrasting views on controversial matters. It’s not legally required anymore, but NPR still does it out of a moral responsibility.” Dan believes it is the broadcaster’s job to present the facts, not opinions; to uncover analyses from experts for the sake of journalism, not shock value. He adds, “Growing up with public broadcasting gave me a healthy dose of cynicism, a fearless approach to public figures, and an old-school appreciation for the facts.” It is radio’s ability to be honest, fearless and fair that he loves.
Dan is motivated to match the work ethic of his colleagues, and loves community involvement. He enjoys working at WMRA, an experience he calls inspiring. Always seizing opportunity, Dan is ready for his next chance to inspire others and continue to grow.
Easley's musical works are at Shake A Leg Records.