Nilufar Movahedi signed off the airwaves April 7, 2013. During the last show she produced for the Saba and Sayeh programs she related her story about KKFI and her connection to the station. KKFI staff, programmers and volunteers are immensely thankful for Nilufar’s long service producing these shows and wishes her the best in her future endeavors. (transcription from audio: Jen Zaman)
This is my last show and I should give a few announcements, and, of course, say a few thank-yous as it’s been more than ten years. It’s been a great time; thanks to all those who have listened, everyone who has supported and contributed, and maybe I should tell you a little bit about at least my story.
In thinking about how to say goodbye and how to spend the last hour of the last show on KKFI, it was kind of difficult to come up with a serious goodbye or farewell to the community, or even to radio, and the more I thought about it and searched for words I realized that my personal involvement in this radio station and in having an Iran-centric, one-woman ‘magazine’ show extends beyond me, beyond the whole idea of the individual. This show, Saba, went on the air in January 1993, and at the time it was hosted by Amir Katouzian, as some of you might remember, and many have been involved over the years.
It’s been a group effort in many ways, many contributions, and when it was on the air in 1993, I was a teenager here in Kansas City, having only lived here 4 years, a transplant from Tehran, Iran to the suburbs of Kansas City. I was incredibly homesick, as you might imagine, and I had a radio show to listen to. I was lucky to have an hour of Iran, an hour of home, an hour of familiarity, an association with safety and stability in my life on the radio.
I started to volunteer; I’m not sure how it began–like most good stories, I don’t remember the beginning of it, but I do remember stuffing envelopes, being at the old location at 900 1/2 Westport Road and sort of walking into this great environment and having such a cultural experience.
My idea of what radio was going to be like was rather stuffy and uptight and sort of exclusive, and then I walked into this incredibly inclusive environment, seeing people from all walks of life, all shapes and sizes, all looks, all cultural and economic backgrounds, and I sort of had my introduction to Kansas City. I felt incredibly lucky to be introduced to Kansas City, its people, and its communities through radio and through KKFI. Seeing everyone come together and be a family in providing on-air programming and shows was really, really significant.
This kind of went on and I was coming and going, and I was given an assignment to write an essay about what Nowruz, or the Persian New Year, meant to me. I think at that point, I was graduating from high school and no one had ever asked me to write anything personal, really, and to read it on the air for people to hear was nerve-wracking, it was incredibly emotional, and I was quite anxious. But to make a long story short, at the end of it I learned something really great–there was an insane amount of relief that I felt, and I realized that this radio station and that particular program at the time is a space–it can be an environment–for a voice to be heard, regardless of what look, ethnicity, or what difficulty is attached to that voice, or, in some cases, because of it. It was a sense of empowerment and it went on from there.
I became involved with Saba, and as older programmers, producers and people involved with the show moved on to pursue other endeavors in their lives or careers and moved away from Kansas City, I was sort of the last one standing. I’ve always felt this show is a legacy of those who started it and ultimately of an open environment provided by KKFI, this wonderful radio station, for this community to have an on-air presence since 1993–that is so significant as a listener and as a radio junkie.
So at the time, I had sort of an elementary understanding of what it meant to be a part of this but as time has gone by, essentially KKFI has been my education, it’s been my integration, it’s been my self-acceptance, and my formed cultural identity. I’m incredibly grateful to you, the listeners, the supporters of this wonderful radio station, for the opportunity, the encouragement, and the support over the years.
I thank you, and hope that we together will continue to provide this great opportunity for many generations and many more programmers and communities in Kansas City to come.