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David Ruth at his desk.

David Ruth produces the new University of Minnesota Moments radio features every week in University Relations on the Twin Cities campus in Minneapolis.

It only takes a moment

By Pauline Oo

Published on October 25, 2005

If it's a hot topic in the news, you can bet David Ruth is on it. Ruth, who produces the University of Minnesota Moment radio features, has taken polio, avian flu, bankruptcy laws, and hybrid vehicles, for instance, and made them more meaningful to us.

Did you know that pandemic influenza has been with us since antiquity? Or that airlines still in the red long after filing for bankruptcy were the impetus for the recent change in bankruptcy laws? And regarding hybrid vehicles, did you know they're on the rise even though they cost on average about $6,000 more than a regular car?

Each week, Ruth or one of his U of M Moment partners--in the Academic Health Center; Carlson School of Management; College of Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Sciences; College of Liberal Arts; College of Natural Resources; and the University of Minnesota Extension Service--talks to at least five University experts about timely or relevant topics. Ruth is responsible for reviewing the recorded interviews and compiling the best sound bites, along with added voice-over if necessary (University Relations colleague Rick Moore serves as the regular talent), and sends the end result to local and regional radio stations. Although only 90 seconds each, the Minnesota Moment vignettes are packed with information.

The U of M Moment is distributed free to radio stations. Thus far, you may catch it regularly on radio stations in Grand Rapids, Albert Lea, and Duluth, and the Minnesota News Network (MNN) makes the features available to its 80 affiliates statewide via satellite.

You can also listen to the features online or download them from the U of M Moment Web site to your iPod at the beginning or end of each week.

Tune in

This week (October 24-28) on Minnesota Moment:

* Rural Internet access

* Polio in Minnesota

* Apples

* Grilled Meat and Cancer

* Whole Grains

For a complete month-to-month listing of features, see University of Minnesota Moment.

Ruth, a public relations representative with the University News Service, came up with the idea to produce the U of M Moment this summer as a way for the University to extend its reach across greater Minnesota. With 15 years of experience in the radio industry before joining the U, it's no wonder that Ruth came up with the idea. The U of M Moment was launched in September.

"These vignettes let us share stories about the education, research, and public service that the University does every day on behalf of all Minnesotans," says Linda Thrane, vice president for University Relations. "This work is important to our lives and livelihoods, and it makes for some darn good radio."

When asked what he most enjoys about working on U of M Moment, Ruth replies without hesitation: the personal interviews.

"I get that chance to talk to a lot of people who are very knowledgeable about so many topics that affect us," Ruth says.

If you walk away from the radio with one new nugget of information, then you're getting the message: The University of Minnesota is full of people who change lives and make research contributions to the state.

"The U of M is one of the leading research and educational institutions in the country, and we are proud to be a vehicle to help educate people across the state on how the University is improving the quality of life of all Minnesotans," says Penny Meier, director of network services at MNN.

If your local radio station hasn't yet aired a U of M Moment, maybe it's time to ask for them. Tell your radio station to call Ruth at 612-626-1720.