Seated at a make-shift desk where a spool of solder, a solitary double-A battery and an ohm meter are readily evident, Ed McGuire’s surroundings certainly validate his reputation as the MacGyver of Campbellsville University television.
McGuire is legend at the TV-4 facility where a co-worker quipped that he could build a station with a handful of paper clips and some duct tape.
So the guy with a 50-year career path that saw him plucked from a physics classroom to become an instructional supervisor in the Taylor County School System and then on to a 25-year career at Kentucky Educational Television, danced right into a job for which he actually has no title.
“I don’t really have a title,” said McGuire. “I just do whatever I’m asked to do.”
Which is just about anything, by the way.
McGuire manufactured a love for media (both print and electronic) over the years, and his new retirement surroundings allow him to continue to tackle the mental gymnastics that is required by a barrage of technological advances. While at KET, McGuire said his job was to inspire and instruct teachers in the effective use of instructional TV. He’s never stepped off his soapbox.
He retired from KET in 1999 and was walking in the parking lot at Taylor Regional Hospital when he struck up a conversation with Dr. Frank Cheatham, vice president for academic affairs.
“He told me to come on in for a talk,” McGuire recalls the conversation. “Once together he simply asked what I was doing and the next thing I know I was teaching introductory level courses in broadcasting.”
But before his KET retirement, as fate would have it, McGuire also occupied a KET office in the rear of the building the university designated for the station’s first home address.
“He volunteered numerous hours and provided incredible expertise in the technology,” said Ginny Flanagan, then director of public relations and the person placed in charge of CU TV.
“Thinking back, the thought that we could have done what we did without his assistance ... well it simply would not have happened.”
It wasn’t long after that that McGuire was hired part time to work at TV-4 and assist Flanagan in developing a mission statement for the TV station that had been gifted to the university by George Owen, then owner of Campbellsville radio station WCKQ.
McGuire had long held an association with WCKQ’s AM affiliate (WTCO) where he did some announcing and played Sunday host to an evening program called “Gospel Showcase.”
“Basically all we did was review the Sunday School lesson for folks who may not have been able to attend church that morning,” said McGuire. “A lot of people like that sort of thing.”
You think? McGuire is still providing his weekly radio gospel message well into its 30th year. An eastern Kentucky radio friend, who created five Internet stations as a hobby, beams McGuire’s program over the World Wide Web each week. That outreach has initiated calls from as far away as a soldier in Iraq.
In 1999, TV-4 (now known as WLCU) was debating its programming options when McGuire came up with the idea for “What’s Cooking, Neighbor?” — a show he claims was only developed to fill a time slot while they brainstormed more meaningful stuff. The more meaningful stuff came along in the form of live voter forums, “People Places & Things,” “Prescription for Good Health,” coaches’ shows and “Dialogue on Public Issues,” moderated by John Chowning, vice president for church and external relations and executive assistant to the president.
“What’s Cooking, Neighbor?” is still the recipe for success, according to McGuire, as the show continues to be one of the more popular things on which he spends time. It also allows him to satisfy an insatiable sweet tooth.
You might say McGuire has covered everything from apple pie to zucchini bread, but what he’s really done is open a community forum for the projects and pursuits of the celebrity cooks.
“By inviting people in from churches and other organizations, it affords just enough time in the 28-minute show to pass along information about what’s going on at their church or club.”
So, what Philo Taylor Farnsworth may have been to television, McGuire has been to Campbellsville University TV. He’s not about to turn in his paper clips and duct tape.
“I just love what I do here,” McGuire, a 1961 graduate of CU, said.
Ed McGuire, who has worked with WLCU about 30 years, cooks with Al Hardy, dean of academic support, at the Office of Broadcast Services for McGuire’s “What’s Cooking, Neighbor."
Wed, March 30, 2011
by Richard RoBards