Rural radio serves community needs


With the rise of social media and internet accessibility comes the fading away of some traditional forms of media communication. Many of the local television stations including public-access channels have gone away, making local programming on any platform difficult to find. However, one of the last places along with the daily newspaper a rural community can get information about their local day-to-day lives — and by the people who make it up — is on the radio.

That is where 105.1 ReadyFM, London, Ohio’s in-town radio station, lives and breathes. ReadyFM is one of a number of small Ohio radio stations which works to serve the interests of rural communities.

The station operates out of the Comer Building, a former military armory, located at 15 E. Second St. near the London Public Library. The building houses many community-oriented businesses in addition to the station, and even offers rentals for outside events. It functions as a hub for entertainment-related events in the community.

“We are defined as Christian Contemporary,” said Rick Hartman, the station manager, editing engineer and host. “But we try to do much more than that and go beyond just the music.” Aside from playing music, the station’s programming is chock full of secular and non-music shows. The content is family-friendly, and the station tries to focus its efforts more on community information.

“We do a variety of things, but our main focus is the community and interests of Madison County,” Hartman said. They have a number of shows but a few key titles give listeners a look into their goals as a station. “Community Matters,” hosted by George Eades, a member of the station’s board and Madison County native, brings in a figure in the community and interviews them about events and organizations that affect the county.

“The Independent Showcase,” highlights independent musicians and local artists who wish to share their music on the air. The show is hosted by John Darlington, a resident of Mount Sterling and station board member. Darlington also co-hosts “Sports Slam” with Hartman and Mike Hook, which covers everything athletics from preseason to playoffs in the county and beyond. Sporting events in general, specifically high school games, have been a major factor in the station’s growth and success.

“The high school football games are a big part of our programming in the fall,” Hartman said. “We do broadcasts from games and feature games of the week during the season.” Hartman does live broadcasts from the games which can be heard through the station and online. “Since we are online as well, family members out of the county, or even the state, can tune in and listen to their grandchildren or nieces and nephews,” said Hartman.

Another show featured on the station is “Beyond the Barn,” which is hosted by PT Thompson and veterinarian, Dr. Don Sanders. The show presents a “common sense approach to food and farming” by highlighting everything related to Ag. Since the show is part of the station, the focus always comes back to local farmers and their concerns, even if the issues are broad or controversial. The show also works to “confirm the truths and dispel the myths of agriculture.”

Whatever the content of the show, ReadyFM always presents it with a connection to the community. “We do what we can to make it local,” Hartman said. “This station is here for Madison County.”

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ReadyFM board members after a meeting on Aug. 10. From left are: John Darlington, Debra Hay, Rebecca Rickenburg, Dale Thompson, Brian Benedum, Greg Eades, and station manager, Rick Hartman.
http://www.madison-press.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2017/08/web1_RadioBoardpiccol-1.jpgReadyFM board members after a meeting on Aug. 10. From left are: John Darlington, Debra Hay, Rebecca Rickenburg, Dale Thompson, Brian Benedum, Greg Eades, and station manager, Rick Hartman. Michael Williamson | The Madison Press

ReadyFM station manager, Rick Hartman in the radio station.
http://www.madison-press.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2017/08/web1_HartmanBannerpiccol-1.jpgReadyFM station manager, Rick Hartman in the radio station. Michael Williamson | The Madison Press

Rick Hartman, station manager, at the microphone at the ReadyFM headquarters.
http://www.madison-press.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2017/08/web1_HartmanCUpiccol-1.jpgRick Hartman, station manager, at the microphone at the ReadyFM headquarters. Michael Williamson | The Madison Press

By Michael Williamson

mwilliamson@aimmediamidwest.com

Reach Michael Williamson at 740-852-1616, ext. 1619.