Speed Dating with Community Information- Cramming Two Weeks of Radio Programming into One Afternoon

KYOS Audio Engineer Casey Stead checks microphones for two guests on Community Conversations. Photo- Steve Newvine

KYOS Audio Engineer Casey Stead checks microphones for two guests on Community Conversations. Photo- Steve Newvine

I welcomed the opportunity to fill in again for host Roger Wood for the KYOS public affairs program Community Conversations.

It was my hope that interviewing local people for a couple of hours might help me develop an idea or two for future Our Community story columns.

The segments were recorded at such a fast pace, that it felt like speed dating.

Eight segments, each running about nine minutes, are recorded at the KYOS studios during an afternoon session.

The segments are stacked to make two full-hour programs. With commercials and station announcements added to the stack, we walk out of the studio knowing that two hour-long shows are “in the can”. In broadcasting, that phrase means the shows are done.

The purpose of Community Conversations is to hear from local non-profits, government, and others about fund raising events, issues of concern, and services available to people.

The audience gets informed through listening to the weekly broadcast (7:00-8:00 AM Saturday).

As the fill-in host, I got my information first hand and crammed into a two-hour window as we recorded the interviews.

Community Conversations is public service program of KYOS, AM 1480, in Merced.

Community Conversations is public service program of KYOS, AM 1480, in Merced.

The person heading up the Atwater Fourth of July celebrations stopped by to tell us what’s new and different about this year’s event.

Atwater has been doing this since 1962, so there’s not much new. But the reminder was still worth the effort.

By the way, Fourth of July fireworks begin at Castle at dusk.

Admission is ten-dollars a carload.

(Details at Atwater4thofJuly.com)

Merced’s Police Chief once again sat behind the guest microphone.

He offered an update on how the City’s illegal fireworks enforcement will roll out this year.

Two representatives from the Merced County Historical Society described the upcoming exhibit Shaping Justice: A century of Great Crimes in Merced County.

The exhibits are always interesting, and this one sounds like it will be in that same category.

Three of the guests touched on the importance of STEM or science, technology, engineering, and math curricula.

Each interviewee came from different organizations and each highlighted summer enrichment events. But as the interviews unfolded, I couldn’t help but see the connection as they described how these programs continue in the direction of more science, technology, engineering, and math for our students.

One guest, from the Merced County Office of Education, added an “A” to form the acronym STEAM.

The “A” is for arts. The other guests were from Merced City School District and Merced Union High School District.

A photo from my first guest host radio stint in early 2019.

A photo from my first guest host radio stint in early 2019.

Two UC Merced professors chatted about the Extension Program teacher training offerings available to local educators.

The pair, now in their third decade as a married couple, brought some variety to the usual format of host talking to guest.

It was a refreshing mix of guest talking to guest and then talking to host. Speaking of variety, we broke with the regular format again with a monologue by yours truly. I spoke to the audience about my writing of this column and the ten books I’ve written over the past decade.

I read from California Back Roads and Stand By, Camera One.

The City of Merced’s Assistant to the City Manager discussed upgrades to Applegate Park, and a local band leader rounded out the interviews to tell listeners about a big band concert soon coming to the Merced Theatre stage.

It was a jam packed afternoon as KYOS audio engineer Casey Stead recorded my interviews with these local folks.

The content for Community Conversations is assembled with the help of the public information departments of the City of Merced, County of Merced, County Office of Education, and host/producer Roger Wood.

I just happened to be the lucky fellow who spoke behind the microphone on a warm summer afternoon.

Steve Newvine lives in Merced.

His new book Stand By, Camera One is available on Lulu.com and Amazon