Normally, this daily commentary is about current events, what’s happening in Charleston or Washington that has an impact on our lives.
But as I prepare for these pieces, researching and thinking, sometimes other events take over, events that have nothing to do with traditional news, yet are enormously significant.
Two weeks ago, we at West Virginia Radio Corporation learned that one of our long-time employees, Lacy Neff, had been diagnosed with amyloidosis. It’s a rare, serious disease where abnormal proteins build up in vital organs. In Lacy’s case, the disease has attacked his heart.
He faces chemotherapy, a bone marrow transplant and possibly a heart transplant.
Lacy, who is the program director of WVAQ in Morgantown, is a talented, positive and energetic guy, so when he stopped by the station last week to visit, he displayed his usual optimism.
“I had an eight-in-a-million shot of getting this messed up disease. My odds have got to be better of beating it,” he said. Lacy’s positive approach is inspiring to his many friends and loyal listeners who have been stunned and saddened by the diagnosis.
Lacy admits he has a “long road ahead.” Indeed he does, but he will not travel it alone.
Meanwhile, there is also reason for celebration in our company’s family. Saturday night, Kay Murray was inducted into the West Virginia Broadcasting Hall of Fame. For the last 35 years, Kay has hosted “Morgantown AM,” a popular morning talk show heard on AM 1440 WAJR.
Kay had a non-traditional career route. She was hired as a receptionist and never had a thought of being on the air. However, when the talk show position opened, station General Manager Dale Miller convinced Kay to give it a try.
More than 8,000 shows later, Kay is still at it, proving daily that the best radio is live and local. In these days of anger and conflict on talk radio and television, Kay is a firm, but gentle hand that reaches out to the community each day with compassion and empathy.
Kay also works with me on “Metronews Talkline” as my producer. She plays an important role in making sure guests are lined up and calls are screened.
Kay was thinking about retiring, but she changed her mind, and we at West Virginia Radio are thankful. She still enjoys “Morgantown AM”—as do her many listeners—so why stop now?
So today, even though I’m keeping up with events that will shape the discussion on “Talkline” later this morning, I’m thinking about Lacy and Kay, and the news about them, which strikes me as more important.