The Birth of Good News Good Planet

Photo by Howie Roemer: Mandy Stapleford, creator of Good News Good Planet stands in front of her ceramic artwork at Ennui Gallery in Taos, NM. She holds an award from the NM Broadcasters Assoc. for Best Specialty Program in 2021.

Way back in 2015, I was hanging out with a few of the new owners of KNCE, 93.5 FM, True Taos Radio. I shared with them my distress with the seemingly endless barrage of negative news in the media. I asked them if they could just read a good news story in the morning, because I knew the stories were out there. Co-owner Rita O’Donnell replied, “Why don’t you do it?”

Ha! What? Um, ok?… And thus, Good News for a Good Planet was born (we later shortened the name to Good News Good Planet for social media). KNCE co-owner Max Moulton told me what microphone to buy and showed me how use Garage Band editing software. I began researching, writing, and recording the stories. KNCE began broadcasting them in April of 2015. My little 2-minute audio spots of good news were a welcome respite right off the bat. I supplied two stories weekly and took a few months off the project in the summers, when re-runs were played.

After that first year, I welcomed the help of writer and teacher Gina Gargone. A year later, I hired Rachel Cohen, who brought the technical and organization savvy I needed. I also get incredible writing assistance from Kim Gordon and Marko Schmitt. Cass Orr is managing my social media. And, I now record at Max Moulton’s Taos studio. Today, Good News Good Planet is quite the group effort!

Over the years I’ve been rewarded with so many encounters of people telling me how much they like the program. I’ve experienced people singing the jingle to me in the grocery store, or hugging me upon learning that I’m that Mandy. Once, at a coffee shop, a woman came up to me in soft tears and shared how that morning’s story had lifted her out of a moment of despair.

I am so grateful for those heartfelt affirmations. In 2021, I received even more affirmation when the incredible community non-profit, Arroyo Seco Live funded GNGP. I’m delighted to report that they just funded it again for 2022! Via KNCE, I am humbled to share that we have received a coveted New Mexico Broadcasters Association award for Best Specialty Program in 2021.

I’ve always enjoyed making Good News Good Planet. It’s a feel-good project for me to constantly find stories about the best of humankind. There are plenty of good people, organizations, and corporations doing good things around the world. Our mainstream media just doesn’t report it. Me, I collect those stories and share them because I know just how powerful they can be.

The tagline of Good News Good Planet is “Change your focus, change your world.” And I absolutely know that to be true.