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Column: Returning to radio roots gives our readers more

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I haven’t been on the radio since my college days, when I was spinning midday tunes from my personal record collection while other campus freshmen or sophomores were eating lunch.

Ours was not a 10,000-watt, clear-channel station. Actually, I don’t think the signal went beyond the lunchroom. Heck, we might not have had any watts — or even known what a watt was.

As a small-college station, we operated out of a small bomb shelter — brick walls on all four sides, acoustic tile on the ceiling. The studio was big enough for two people, as long as one was standing near the door.

Fast-forward an adult lifetime and I find myself on the radio again, although this time in professional surroundings.

Instead of my college handle, “TJ the DJ” (another telltale sign of our amateur status), listeners today are getting to know me as the editor of The Republic, someone who spends a few minutes each week with “the voice of WCSI.”

The host is John Foster, station manager and director of programming for White River Broadcasting. Foster presides over the morning broadcast on News/Talk 1010, WCSI.

He and I take time each Thursday morning to talk about what’s coming up in weekend editions of The Republic.

Pieces of those interviews air during Friday newscasts from morning through afternoon on White River’s four local radio stations: WCSI, AM 1010; WKKJ, FM 101.5; and on 106.1 The River and WIN 104.9, both on the FM dial.

You also can hear the full interview on Foster’s “AM Columbus” program, which airs at 8:45 Friday mornings. On the way to work, I’m told that they sometimes also air at 7:27 a.m. Fridays on WCSI.

Compared to my radio roots, I’ve made quite a jump.

If it weren’t for the fast-paced songs I used to spin in college, I’m pretty sure my deep, monotone voice would have caused those half-dozen college-student listeners of mine to sleep through lunch and miss all of their afternoon classes.

Even with three cups of coffee leading into our weekly interviews today, WCSI listeners also might be at risk of falling back to sleep were it not for the high-octane Foster, who keeps things moving at a fast clip.

The two of us talk about news events and local stories of interest, topics that matter to broadcast listeners and newspaper readers.

During the first three weeks, we have conversed on local sports team heading to tournament competition and issues reporting planned for the Sunday newspaper front page.

It hasn’t been a difficult assignment to get comfortable with, although I quickly realized that now I also need to know how to pronounce difficult names instead of just knowing how to spell them.

This arrangement is one component of a media partnership that’s been relaunched between The Republic and White River Broadcasting.

As part of that deal, White River on-air personalities write a timely Best Bets column that appears each week in ZONE, The Republic’s popular guide to entertainment that publishes each Thursday.

It’s a win-win situation for The Republic and our radio partner, and I hope radio listeners and newspaper readers appreciate the bonus content during the course of the week.

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