Talk to illuminate the role KVOS played in developing Bellingham's identity

KVOS, Bellingham’s first local radio and television station, emerged amidst debates over the role those media were to play in American society.

In a presentation Wednesday, Dec. 3, Western Washington University assistant professor Helen Morgan Parmett will draw from the Rogan Jones and KVOS collections at the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies to illustrate the significant ways in which KVOS’s early radio and television stations helped constitute a sense of “local” Bellingham identify and culture.

“KVOS in the Local, Public Interest” is part of the Western Libraries Heritage Resources Speaker Series. It will take place from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the Goltz-Murray Archives Building at the intersection of Bill McDonald Parkway and 25th Street.

At stake in this history is understanding the role that KVOS played in broader debates over what constitutes “local,” especially within a region whose geographical positioning between two major cities and on an international border complicates any neat or clear definition of what constitutes local culture. Morgan Parmett's talk will thus illustrate how KVOS negotiated and ultimately helped contribute to debates over what it means for media to serve the local, public interest.

Helen Morgan Parmett is a 2014 James W. Scott Research Fellow and Assistant Professor in Western's Department of Communication Studies, where she teaches courses in media studies, critical media literacy, advocacy through media, and communication theory. She received her PhD from the University of Minnesota in 2012. Her research, which works at the intersections of critical media studies, cultural geography, and urban studies, focuses on relationships between media practices, race, and urban space.

The James W. Scott Fellowships are awarded in honor of the late Dr. James W. (Jim) Scott, a founder and first Director of the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, and a noted scholar of the Pacific Northwest region. The awards were established to promote awareness and use of archival collections at Western and to forward scholarly understandings of the Pacific Northwest. Funds are awarded to scholars undertaking significant research using archival holdings at CPNWS.

This is the second event in an annual series of presentations that will feature scholars who have used Heritage Resources’ collections significantly in their research. All programs are free and open to the public. Please email or call 360-650-6621 for more information.