Thursday, May 24, 2007

Small Town Radio

I'm not from a small town, but Denny and I often drive through one or even stop for a few days for a visit. Yesterday as we were driving up Interstate 57 through Illinois we were reminded just how small some towns are when I was scanning stations on the radio looking for some oldies.

Our first clue to what was to come should have been when the radio personalities of the morning announced the Jasper County news segment and it wouldn't come up. When they were finally able to cue the broadcast this warbley little voice came on with the announcement that Mrs. So-and-so had died at the hospital yesterday at such-and-such time and then she followed up with the visitation and funeral details. I have to admit we were a bit taken aback at the abrupt transition from music to a death announcement, but Wanda Green,the local Jasper County new reporter, then continued to entertain us with details about the upcoming Strawberry Festival, the schedule of activities and menus for the senior citizens' center, the winner of the
$20 raffle, the full roster of vacation bible school and bible study classes for the various churches in the area and news of the square dances being held. Wanda stumbled with an announcement as she was reading it, paused, said "I'm sorry!", paused again, regrouped and then went on with her list of local announcements.

The piece de resistance for the broadcast was the rather sad announcement of a
family searching for their missing cat who had been informed of a cat found dead by the roadway. They went to the location to see if it was their pet, only to discover that the body had already been removed. Stricken because they had no way of identifying the animal since their cat had not been wearing its collar, the family was asking for any assistance in either locating their pet or the body of the one removed from the roadway. I have to admit, at this point Denny and I were shaking our heads, but in retrospect it's really kind of neat that there are communities "where everybody knows your name", and people contact the radio station for help in finding a lost pet.

If you ever travel through the area of Effingham, Illinois at 9AM on a weekday morning, turn to 103.5 on your FM dial and listen to the local news with Wanda Green. You might be surprised at what you learn.

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