A California native, Janessa Rogerson remains an ardent advocate for National Public Radio and notes with pride the programs created by UA Little Rock for KUAR-FM.
By Kim Meyer-Webb | Photography by Rett Peek | Hair by Raven Baxter with Face Your Day Salon | Makeup by Cocoa Newton with Face Your Day Salon | Radios from South Main Creative
Licensed to UA Little Rock, KUAR-FM (89.1) is the National Public Radio affiliate in Central Arkansas. For more than three decades, the station has provided timely and topical national news with an emphasis on Arkansas events and culture. Janessa Rogerson, wife of UA Little Rock Chancellor Andrew Rogerson, considers herself a newcomer to the Natural State – but her loyalty for NPR dates back to her days in high school. She remains an ardent advocate for this listener-supported, trusted source of information and the connections it creates for Americans.
Janessa remembers, “I discovered public radio as a student, and have been a supporter and listener in the years since. My life-long quest has been to be well informed about complex issues and political forces affecting our world and future, and NPR is a great resource.”
A California native, Janessa spent most of her life in Santa Rosa – in the heart of Sonoma County Wine Country – where she nurtured “place and family” as heartfelt values. She recalls, “The lifestyle, natural beauty and wine country culture offer a setting for a dynamic, happy, healthy life.” Her passion for nature seems inherent through her love of gardening – her home is filled with well-tended orchids – and adventure. She and Andrew spend time exploring the Natural State and its trails, rivers and plains. She notes, “Nature, being in it and ultimately working to preserve and restore the habitat was the focus of my career for 20 years.”
Janessa’s West Coast vibe is undeniable, with unpretentious hospitality that has transformed her UA Little Rock home into a space of tranquility and ease – surrounded with artwork created by Andrew and photos of their blended family. She has adapted to the Capital City and embraces all the amenities it offers. She recognizes Central Arkansas as one of the South’s “best-kept secrets” and the potential of UA Little Rock “to move the city, region and its people forward – making Little Rock a leader for the nation.” It’s a vision that includes public radio. As Andrew leads UA Little Rock towards a bright future, where quality higher education is accessible for all Arkansans, he notes the imperative role of public radio in any vibrant community, “National Public Radio is a vital partner in helping to fulfill UA Little Rock’s role in the region. Included in our mission as Central Arkansas’ only urban public- metropolitan university, is to promote and inform the region. National Public Radio enhances our work and provides a vital link from the university to the community, connecting us in a myriad of ways.“
Nearly two-thirds of NPR stations are affiliated with a university or college. It’s a pragmatic partnership with a shared mission: a better understanding of the world that enriches individual experiences and lives. KUAR Interim General Manager & Program Director Nathan Vandiver notes, “Our programming elevates human voices and stories to help better understand various perspectives and remind us of our common humanity.”
The Corporation of Public Broadcasting established NPR in 1970 to supplement content to the nation’s noncommercial and educational radio stations. Today, NPR reaches 30 million listeners weekly through more than 1,000 public stations. During this time of increased media fragmentation, relevant and accurate journalism is diminished. Nathan adds, “With so many sources of information, it can be tough to differentiate what’s dependable news and what’s just noise. National Public Radio and KUAR are trusted resources for facts and analysis—not partisanship or hype—listeners can form their own opinions.” He credits a strong sense of community it cultivates and collaborations with UA Little Rock that strengthen the collegiate experience for students as well as civic + business leaders.
Janessa acknowledges her husband’s relentless pursuit of excellence and opportunity for UA Little Rock students and faculty is a constant source of inspiration. “We are both passionate about education and its ability to change lives.” With a tenure approaching two years of service at UA Little Rock, she adds that they are both still settling into a more Southern lifestyle and depend on NPR for reliable coverage of international, national and local news. “I listen daily and I’m very attached to many of the programs. I get so much from Morning Edition, 1A and All Things Considered. I’ve been a Science Friday fan for years.” She notes with pride the programs created by the university and believes KUAR is an invitation to the community for enrichment. “It’s an open door from the university to the region.”
She appreciates NPR as a resource in Central Arkansas, but admits it’s the discovery of new people that continues to delight her, “I find most people fascinating – walking miracles! And the Natural State’s greatest resource is its people. You can search the world and never find the innovation, entrepreneurial spirit and philanthropic focus, loyalty and kindness that are in abundance here.”