A dual-program featuring Drew Denham with the Mason County High School Future Career and Community Leaders of America and WFTM Station Manager Robert Roe was held at the Maysville Rotary Club Tuesday.
Denham spoke about his work with the Smoke-Free Partnership of Mason County.
“In case you’re unaware of what the Smoke-Free Partnership is – it’s a group of individuals who are concerned with public health. They’re working on trying to get an ordinance passed that would make public buildings smoke-free.”
According to Denham, he became involved with the efforts because he has had family affected by smoking.
“It’s important to me, because I’ve had family members affected,” he said. “I had an aunt who passed away a couple of years ago from lung cancer and other family members have had breathing issues from smoking.”
Denham said some efforts from the partnership and FCCLA have included having people from other communities talk about the positives of having such an ordinance, giving short speeches at games, setting up a booth with information about going smoke-free, holding an in-school assembly to discuss the harmful effects of smoking and presenting information to the Mason County Fiscal Court.
With the FCCLA, Denham worked on a project about the smoke-free ordinance that was presented during competitions.
“We were able to do this through FCCLA,” he said. “Every year, we get to do a project and this year was the Smoke-Free Partnership. You create a 10-minute speech highlighting all the things you’ve done, the leadership qualities you’ve gained and how you’ve positively affected your community.”
According to Denham, his group won first at regionals and state competition. He will be competing at the national level at the end of June.
“I’d like to stress that this is not the end of our involvement with the Smoke-Free Partnership or the community,” he said. “We’d like to keep the conversation going.”
After Denham finished speaking, Roe discussed the history of WFTM and introduced the radio staff.
According to Roe, the recording studio recently received a makeover.
“I like to call it a museum,” he said. “It houses photographs, plaques and swag from the time we went on the air Jan. 1, 1948. Before we could paint the studio, the photos had to be removed. I took pictures to make sure I knew where everything was, but I decided ‘no,’ because history is alive, vibrant and all around us, so I decided to take a chance and I recently went through the pictures and I wanted to share some of the things I saw that is basically our history in pictures and audio.”
Roe said one of the first things a visitor will notice is a picture of the founders, James Mitchell Finch and Charles Clarke.
“We have an actual picture taken by Pat McKay on Jan. 1, 1948 with them standing by the studio just as it started,” he said. “Since the station is built into a tobacco warehouse, the first song played was “Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette.”
Roe went into detail of other pictures on the walls including Chris Lofton and Darius Miller, Heather French Henry, Rosemary Clooney, Tina Rigdon, J. Scott True with Justice Stanley Reed and President Harry S. Truman, Bill Stewart, Chancellor Miller and many others.
After discussing some of the history and what can be seen in the station, Roe introduced Travis Scaggs who will be taking over as sports director for WFTM and Drew Spangler, who is now the sales, promotion and marketing director for the station.
Scaggs said he is a 2007 graduate of Mason County High School and a 2012 graduate of Northern Kentucky University.
“I knew I wanted to go into radio,” he said. “I wanted to follow Danny Weddle’s footsteps. I was able to intern with him in 2007. He asked if I wanted to work part-time putting commercials on the radio. I was running those commercials and about two years later, he asked if I wanted to call games on the radio.”
According to Scaggs, for a few years, he called games for St. Patrick girls games before calling games for the Mason County girls basketball and this year, he will take over Mason County Royals basketball.
“I graduated in 2012 from NKU,” he said. “Robert asked if I’d be interested in working for them. From 2012 to 2016, I was the news director covering city commission meetings, accidents, Rotary Club and then a position came available for account executive and I was given the opportunity to work with all kinds of great businesses. I’ve done that for the last three years and with Danny stepping away, I’m going to take over the news director position.”
Scaggs said there is a lot that goes into covering games for the radio that includes getting permission from athletic directors to broadcast the games, working on rosters before games and rotations with advertisers.”
Spangler is a 2015 graduate of Mason County High School and a 2019 graduate from Morehead State University.
“I worked with Travis my senior year of high school and I knew this was what I wanted to do,” he said. “I’m just getting my feet wet, but it’s a lot of fun.”
Roe said JT Teegarden has also joined the broadcast team for WFTM, but was unavailable on Tuesday.
“We have the new generation in place and I’m looking forward to see where they’re going to take us,” he said. “Both Travis and Drew were a part of the mentorship program at Mason County. I can’t overstate how much of a benefit we have received from it.”
Roe said he believes working is news is the perfect job.
“We have the perfect jobs,” he said. “We are recording Maysville’s history as it happens. How much more blessed can you be? We have everything from the tragedy in the river and Moyer – but it’s not all bad news – we have lots of good news like when Heather won and we’ll be reporting on Rotary getting into the new clubhouse – to boil water advisories. Not everything we broadcast is major news, but everything we broadcast is news to somebody and that is what we’re here for.”
Ellen Cartmell, left, and Drew Denham, middle, spoke to the Rotary Club about the Smoke-Free Partnership on Tuesday. Robert Roe, right, also spoke to the Rotary Club about WFTM.