Mark Manning serves as Host and Producer of Wednesday MidDay Medley heard from 10 to Noon, every Wednesday on 90.1 FM KKFI – Kansas City Community Radio, streaming live at kkfi.org. In December 2009, Tim Finn Music Editor of The Kansas City Star wrote that Wednesday MidDay Medley was one of the three best places to hear local music on Kansas City’s airwaves. Mark has volunteered at 90.1 FM since 2001. He served as Secretary on 90.1 FM’s Board of Directors for 5 years from 2004 to 2009. Mark also served as Host, Writer and Producer of The Tenth Voice from 2001 through 2009. The Tenth Voice, has been on KKFI’s airwaves continuously since 1990. The program was created for the LGBT communities of metro KC. While producing The Tenth Voice Mark revitalized and coordinated the Youth Radio Edition each month, inviting youth from Kansas City, Liberty, Raytown, Overland Park and Lawrence area high schools and middle schools, to produce and host their own programs. Mark received a Silver Reel Award from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters for “The AIDS Radio Show” a special broadcast he created with performers Lisa Cordes and Jon “Piggy” Cupit and Greg Hansen who served as producer of The Tenth Voice from 1990 through 1999. While at KKFI Mark has had the opportunity to interview hundreds of guests including: Judy Shepard, Cris Williamson, Tim Miller, Kate Clinton, Tommy Ramone, Thomas Frank, Amy Goodman, Jill Sobule, Jim Hightower and many members of Kansas City’s, Music, Art and Theatre communities.
For 17 years Mark Manning has served as Coordinator of the KCK Organic Teaching Gardens, an Initiative of The University of Kansas School of Medicine, Office of Cultural Enhancement and Diversity, Health Careers Pathways Program, K-12. Each year Mark works with 1000 to 2000 students, between K through 8th grades, with organic, “raised bed” gardens built directly on the school grounds of three Middle Schools and four Elementary Schools in the inner city of the Kansas City, Kansas school district. Mark conducts over 300 workshops annually in classrooms at these schools. He started the project under the guidance of Marcia Pomeroy, in 1999, after working in a literacy program. The KCK Organic Teaching Gardens has been financially supported through grants from The Kauffman Foundation, and The University of Kansas Medical Center. The project has been recognized locally and nationally by The National Gardening Association, The Kansas City Star, The Kansas City Community Gardens, The Green Bliss Festival, The Urban Farm & Garden Tour, and on the PBS television program America’s Harvest. Mark learned about gardening from his grandmother Edna Jacobsen on the family’s McCool Junction, Nebraska farm. His grandmother raised a huge garden, chickens, sheep and cattle. She preserved apples, wild berry jams, and beets and virtually everything she grew was canned for consumption in winter months. Edna raised seven children with no running water and as a child lived in a sod house. His passion for the school gardening program has been fueled by the fact that he doesn’t see the lessons he learned from his grandmother passed down to kids today. Kids need to know where their food comes from, especially with the rise of diabetes, and over weight Americans. We can all learn from our gardens how to treat ourselves and the world better.
Mark is also the co-founder of Big Bang Buffet a not-for-profit collective that since 1990 has created over 100 different productions presenting original and controversial performance art, theatre, art, spoken word, music, film and dance. With Big Bang Buffet Mark wrote and produced plays and performance works including: “Every Gay People,” “Anti-Gone in Kansas,” “It’s A Man’s World” and “Straight Marriage.” With his good friend Sandra K Davies, Mark created “The Children of Karen Carpenter” for The Kansas City Fringe Festival. Mark also produced and coordinated the shows “Slightly Effeminate Men,” and “SheBang” at Quality Hill Playhouse and “Birmingham’s Book Burnin’ Barbeque” and “The Fired Up Fruitcake Bake-Off” at the Club Cabaret for Culture Under Fire Week. Mark has worked in Kansas City Theatre for over 25 years as an actor, stage manager and designer. Mark has worked at many Kansas City Theatres, including: The Unicorn Theater, Kansas City Rep and Quality Hill Playhouse. Mark served on the Board of CrossCurrents Culture Inc., Big Fragile Stage, and The KC Free Speech Coalition. With Big Bang Buffet Mark was the recipient of a Best of KC Theatre Award, a Rainbow Award and The Kip Weiner Award. As an actor Mark has played roles as diverse as Jesse Helms, Andy Warhol and Barbara Bush. Recently Mark has appeared on stage in One Time Productions: “Arts or Crafts” produced in October, 2009 at the Bloch Art Building of The Kansas City Art Institute. Mark also has played roles this year in productions at the Fishtank Performance Studio, including: “Discernment” a new play written by Damian Torres Botello, and “Prop 8 On Trial” written by Lisa Cordes. Mark also coordinated and engineered the live broadcast of “Prop 8 On Trial” on 90.1 FM KKFI with 13 Actors playing the real life witnesses, lawyers, and testimony from The California Prop 8 Trial.