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October 7, 2009

A new way to believe

Edward R. Murrow was, without question, the biggest name in broadcasting. It was the mid-1950s, and Murrow decided it was time for more people to have a voice in his medium. He commissioned more than 800 essays from Americans of all walks of life. These essayists would then record their testimonies of personal faith for a national radio program called This I Believe.

Contributors included everyone from convicts to two ex-presidents, Harry Truman and Herbert Hoover — the only two former presidents alive at the time. Eight contributors were fielded from Louisville, including the newspaper magnate Barry Bingham Sr., and Charles H. Parrish Jr., the first African-American appointed to the faculty of a Southern university (University of Louisville).

In 2005, Louisvillian Dan Gediman (the CEO of the nonprofit face of This I Believe) re-initiated the radio program on local NPR affiliate WFPL-FM, keeping true to the original format. However, instead of merely disseminating commissioned work, the new This I Believe used the web and fielded submissions from everyone. (At ThisIBelieve.org, anyone can submit their own testimonies and credos.) Currently there are more than 75,000 posted on the website, along with the 800 original essays from the Murrow era. From this database the new program has run more than 225 broadcasts, including essays by John Updike and Muhammad Ali.

 

On Thursday, Oct. 15, Louisville native and radio personality Bob Edwards will host a live taping of This I Believe in the Amy Cralle Theater at Bellarmine University. The program begins at 7:30 p.m. J. Blaine Hudson, dean of Arts and Sciences at U of L, will speak. The program will also include essays by Carol Besse (co-owner of Carmichael’s Bookstores) and Joe Reagan, CEO of Greater Louisville, Inc.

 

For ticket information or submission information for This I Believe, call 866-468-7630 or visit ThisIBelieve.org.