[Nfbwv-talk] Newspaper Story from the Keyser News Tribune

Ed McDonald ed at eioproductions.com
Sun Aug 20 18:25:46 UTC 2017

Thanks to all of you for your congratulations and kind words over the past week in response to the recognition and the subsequent newspaper story, and thanks to my dear wife for being such a good unpaid publicity agent. (Many of us who are close to such stories know that reporters do not always get every little detail correct, but for the most part it was accurate.)

The whole experience has triggered a variety of observations and reflections, and so I hope you will forgive (or delete) this bit of self indulgence:

As blind people, I am sure all of us have struggled at times with being accepted and trying to find a role for ourselves in our communities. A plaque from a small-town Rotary club may seem insignificant to some, but being recognized in this small town by the people with whom I live and work everyday was indeed significant to me. Perhaps it was notable that the newspaper story did not take the all-too-common approach of focusing upon how "amazing" it is that this blind guy does the things he does. The only mention of blindness per se was the passing reference to my involvement in the "Federation of the Blind."

I might also note that in order to insure my presence at the awards dinner, the director of the Chamber of Commerce asked me in advance to make a ten-minute presentation concerning the radio station, without telling me about any award. When it came time for me to speak, she virtually dragged me by the arm up to the front of the room, while recounting the story of once having run me into a tree during an outdoor event some years ago. I tried to break her grip and make the ten-foot walk from my table to the podium with a bit more grace and independence, but she was determined to hold on tight. All of that suggests that even in our finest moments, we blind folks can sometimes encounter a slightly embarrassing situation. I hope, however, that I was able to rise above it. I did not consciously plan my remarks to be a teaching opportunity about blindness, but I had my cane in my hand and read my notes from a BrailleNote. There was thus a room full of people--including legislators and other community leaders---who observed those "tools of blindness" being used.

Apart from the blindness aspects of the experience, however, it's no exaggeration to say that getting this radio station started is indeed the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. When I was a kid, my answer to the question, "What do you want to do when you grow up?" was always, "I want to build a radio station." I am sure there are those who would suggest that I have not yet managed to grow up. Otherwise, I would not still be pursuing such a misguided dream. Nevertheless, I am gratified that it is indeed on the air, that people in the community are listening and saying nice things about it, and that it is playing in the background as I write this. It is true--for whatever it's worth--that the dinner occurred just three days after the sixtieth anniversary of my first visit to a radio station. It was also just two days after our 21st wedding anniversary, and Karen has certainly played an important part in all of this.

Ironically, it is also true that just this week the public radio station at Northern Kentucky University where I worked for four years left the air because the university chose to sell the station and get out of the radio business. I was part of the original staff when WNKU went on the air back in 1985, calling itself "Kentucky Folk Radio." Thus, as one station fades into history, I find myself building a similar station in the town--in fact, in the very building--where I was born. (The station is housed in a Potomac State College residence hall, which was once Potomac Valley Hospital.)

So whether it's a story about "living the lives we want" as blind people or coming "full circle" in small-town West Virginia, it's also a story about being truly blessed.

Thanks again for your friendship and good wishes.



PS: In addition to posting this to the National Federation of the Blind of West Virginia's discussion list, I am sharing it with a few friends and colleagues who I thought might be interested.

----Original Message-----
From: NFBWV-talk [mailto:nfbwv-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Karen McDonald via NFBWV-talk
Sent: Saturday, August 19, 2017 6:53 PM
To: NFB of WV Discussion List <nfbwv-talk at nfbnet.org>
Cc: Karen McDonald <karen at eioproductions.com>
Subject: [Nfbwv-talk] Newspaper Story from the Keyser News Tribune

Hello, everyone.
I thought you all would like to see the story that was recently 
in the newspaper about Ed's Service Above Self award.
The text is below my signature.

 HONORED: Rotary gives Ed McDonald "Service Above Self" award

  Aug 15, 2017 at 4:55 PM

KEYSER - Three individuals and four businesses were honored 
during the 2017 Business and Community Awards dinner held Friday 
evening at the Davis Center, Potomac State College.

By Jean Braithwaite
  Tribune Correspondent
  KEYSER - Three individuals and four businesses were honored 
during the 2017 Business and Community Awards dinner held Friday 
evening at the Davis Center, Potomac State College.
  The names of two of the recipients to be recognized remained 
unannounced throughout the evening until the time their 
recognition was given.
  The first of these was the 2017 Rotary Service Above Self Award 
and Ed McDonald was given this tribute.
  On behalf of the Rotary Club of Keyser, Dinah Courrier 
presented the award for the "tireless effort" that McDonald spent 
in bringing a radio station to the community, in addition to his 
work with the Mineral County Historical Society, the Federation 
of the Blind, and many additional endeavors.
  A graduate of Bethany College and Ohio University with a degree 
in broadcast journalism, McDonald taught communications at 
Bethany and worked at radio stations in Kanawha and Putnam 
counties, as well as in Kentucky.
  He has been a member of the Mineral County Historical Society 
for almost 25 years, and was instrumental in launching WKYW, 
Mountain Streams Radio.
  Earlier in the program, he gave information on the Mountain 
Streams radio station, saying, "At age 7 was the first time I was 
in a radio station," and now he proclaims to be a lifelong radio 
  He said that the process began in 2013 for the local radio 
station, when a construction permit was applied for, followed by 
a testing process, and finally in late February, "regular 
broadcasting began."
  Mentioning the station is at 102.9 on the dial, McDonald said 
it is licensed through the Mineral County Historical Society, 
with the transmitting antenna being located at Catamount Place, a 
residence hall at PSC.
  "There is a unique music format," he said, involving the sounds 
of West Virginia and the Appalachian area that features "old time 
string, bluegrass, and gospel," all presented with acoustic 
  McDonald said in the future improvements will be made at the 
Keyser radio station, as adding more music and having a real 
studio, where now everything is produced in the basement of his 
  He is also planning to expand the air time to include "all of 
Mineral County," develop an advisory group, and make welcome 
volunteers and ideas for the radio station.

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