Alabaster native recreating golden age of radio

EMCC cast members of the live radio drama “Search for Happiness” tell listeners of the college’s radio station, WGTC 92.7 FM, about the first episode of the show, which aired on June 1. Among the cast members is Alabaster native Kathleen Pohl, second from left. (Contributed)

EMCC cast members of the live radio drama “Search for Happiness” tell listeners of the college’s radio station, WGTC 92.7 FM, about the first episode of the show, which aired on June 1. Among the cast members is Alabaster native Kathleen Pohl, second from left. (Contributed)

FROM STAFF REPORTS

MAYHEW, Miss. — An Alabaster native is playing a major role in helping to recreate the golden age of radio by serving as a cast member for a new live radio drama at her college.

Since its first broadcast nearly a year ago, East Mississippi Community College’s radio station has grown its listenership through content such as an original live radio drama harkening back to the 1940s and early 1950s

On Wednesday, June 1, EMCC’s WGTC 92.7 FM debuted the first episode of “Search for Happiness.” The storyline revolves around a fictional Bartlesville, Okla., oil tycoon by the name of J.D. Gray whose three grown daughters discover he has eloped with a woman not much older than they are.

The characters in the script written by EMCC Drama and Speech instructor Don Vaughan are portrayed on air by an all-female cast comprised of students in Vaughan’s speech class. The cast members are: Kathleen Pohl of Alabaster, Taylor Corder of Columbus, Miss., Chelsea Harrison of Starkville, Miss., Kaliyah Loggan of West Point, Miss., and Ashton Smith of Columbus, Miss.

“I would think EMCC has to be the first college ever that has a speech class that will produce a live radio drama,” said Vaughan, who is also the station manager for WGTC. “Probably nobody has beaten us to that.”

For Pohl, rehearsing her part in “Search for Happiness” has helped her hone her skills in speech class.

“It has been a learning process for me,” Pohl said. “It is not like anything I have done before.”

The 100-watt station transmits north to West Point, Miss., south to Brooksville, Miss., west to Starkville, Miss., and east to Columbus, Miss. The station is seeking approval from the Federal Communications Commission to boost the station’s power enough to extend the transmission out another 10 miles.

The station, which is commercial free, now boasts a newscast six minutes before each hour that features local, national and international news. Playlists include Mainstream Top 40, which is popular with students and features all the latest artists.

A TuneIn Radio app for the station has also been added.

There is also an educational component. Journalism students write the newscasts and read them on air. In each episode of the radio dramas, Vaughan will throw in a bit of history and at least three words not commonly used.