SMG Group revives Dr. Dirk Ballendorf’s ‘Island Insights’

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Dr. Dirk Ballendorf was a specialist in Micronesian culture and history. His knowledge of this region dates back to the early '60s when he served as a peace corps volunteer in the Philippines.

The Sorensen Media Group is honored to announce the revival of Dr. Dirk Ballendorf’s historical series on Micronesia that he called “Island Insights.”

This much-loved series ran for more than 15 years on K-57 radio from the late ’80s up until 2005.

This Wednesday, with the blessing of the Ballendorf family, we’ll launch the revival of “Island Insights” which we will share on all our broadcast and social media platforms.

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The voice was distinctive and the stories always poignant. Dr. Dirk Ballendorf was a specialist in Micronesian culture and history. His knowledge of this region dates back to the early ’60s when he served as a peace corps volunteer in the Philippines.

He later went on to become the president of the College of Micronesia in Pohnpei where his daughter Heidi Ballendorf was born.

“He developed them as scripts. When you see them, he developed them, he wrote them but I think he really obviously went there and researched and found these little known facts and he would write it in such a way and present it in such a way that you were like wow, that’s a really cool story,” Heidi Ballendorf said.

Dr. Ballendorf came to Guam in 1979 to become the director of the Micronesia Area Research Center at the University of Guam. For more than 30 years, he taught Micronesian Studies at the University of Guam

“He was very good at writing grants to bring the story of Micronesia to places in Asia that didn’t know the history of what went on here. So he taught at a university in Japan that specializes in the Pacific island. He taught several times there and he taught in Australia. He was a Fulbright Scholar down there,” Heidi said.

Dr. Ballendorf wrote 11 books and more than 200 articles on the history of Micronesia. But Dr. Dirk is best remembered for the hundreds of historical vignettes about the life and history of Micronesia which he called Island Insights.

“One of my favorites is about the China Clipper being hijacked off the Philippine Sea. And I’m hoping I’ll get to find that one and read that one and tell the story in 1938 it was believed to be hijacked. But the way dad does it, it’s very suspenseful,” Heidi said.

She added: “Hopefully it will reach a whole other group of kids, because it went off the air in 2005. So that’s 15 years and hopefully, people will embrace it and learn some new things and continue the legacy of understanding our history here and how important the Pacific really is.”

Dr. Ballendorf passed away on February 4, 2013.

His legacy, Island Insights, resumes this Wednesday, July 1st, spoken by voices in our community who knew him and remember him well.

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