When KUAC FM volunteers were no longer allowed access to the studio for safety’s sake, most didn’t give up hosting their programs; they quickly got tech savvy and continued as best they could.
KUAC FM’s Volunteer Coordinator Lori Neufeld said, “I have volunteers who are in their closets or in couch cushion forts and using DIY pop filters. They’re opening up podcasting kits they haven’t had time to figure out for a decade. It’s heartwarming and awesome. I didn’t realize how complex it would be to do this but it’s totally worth it to keep them engaged.”
Substitute host Cathy Hanks said she was initially working at her kitchen table. “Then Lori suggested the sound quality might be better if I went into a smaller space and hid under a blanket, so I retreated into my bedroom closet. I set up my computer on an overturned laundry basket covered with a blanket, hung another blanket over the door, made a pop filter from some old nylons and a canning lid and Voila! I was one with Ari Shapiro and other NPR hosts.”
Since retiring, Cathy has been practicing getting outside of her comfort zone. “Whenever Lori asks me to try something new, I give it a go.” Luckily, she’d just taken an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute class on podcasting. “This introduced me to some basics of GarageBand, which turned out to be quite fortuitous just a month later,” she said.
Sunday evening’s “Postcards” host Leone Hatch is working at her kitchen table. “I have to ask my husband to be quiet,” she said. Technical challenges abound but Leone has persisted and gotten by with the help of friends on the phone. She said when Lori asked her to try volunteering at home it never occurred to her not to do it. “Nothing seems to work like it should but it’s wonderful to have the challenge; it’s good for my mental health.”
Mark Rippy, who hosts whenever needed, said he agreed to volunteer from home because it’s important to keep the connection KUAC has with the community and volunteers. He already had a large collection of music and a microphone at home and quickly converted the guest bedroom into a studio. “I have to make sure everyone is quiet in the house but then the dog barks,” he said.
KUAC volunteer Logan Imus records the birthday greetings for KUAC Kids Club, from the safety of his home. If your children would like to hear their birthday greeting on KUAC TV/FM, join the Kids Club by clicking here. Thank you, Logan!
Ray Funk, host of “Funk Roots,” said it was either volunteer at home or nothing. “I didn’t want to give up being a volunteer,” he said. “I’m addicted to it.” He misses going to the studio on Sunday nights but has made do in a home office filled with thousands of records and books. “Old dogs are trying to adapt to new techniques,” he said.
He credited Lori Neufeld for assisting all the volunteers. “Lori is our hero,” he said. “She makes sure there is no dead time and works with each person figuring out what they can do and can’t do.”