The Story of Kitchen Table Conversations

The SUNY College at Oneonta founded a FM, NPR-affiliated radio station in 2007 called WUOW.  SUNY Oneonta began planning WUOW after the regional floods of 2006 with the primary goal of developing a community radio station with emergency broadcast capabilities. Carol Blazina, then Vice President of Community Relations at the college, ably aided by Gary Wickham and Brian Levis, was responsible for seeing to it that WUOW even existed.  Senator James Seward lent his usual generous support to such endeavors by way of a $50,000 legislative grant. Gary and Brian were joined by Rebecca Hoey, and then, on a part time basis, by city historian Mark Simonson. Other local radio pros such as Mark Drnek, Doug Decker, and the late Terry Doyle also lent their time and expertise.

The station aimed at offering a variety of programming, including interviews with local individuals of note and interest. One such program is “Kitchen Table Conversations” (KTC), hosted by Alan Donovan, former college president, and produced by Mark Simonson. (Brian Levis was the producer from June to December 2011.)  KTC was a live segment of the Sunday Review, hosted by Gary Wickham. The title of KTC was the suggestion of Brian Levis. During the duration of the program, the host of KTC  volunteered his services.

Along with a live broadcast, the purpose of the program has been to create an oral archive of those interviewed, which to date have numbered over 100, with over 100 hours recorded. Not strictly speaking oral histories, the notion was to capture individuals telling their own stories, recording their personal, professional and community accomplishments -- with the personalization of their own voices. Interviewees have included business and political leaders, medical professionals, artists, educators, and other individuals of interest both from Otsego and Delaware Counties. Several of the programs, including Memories of the Railroad and Broad Street were recorded at the Greater Oneonta Historical Society (GOHS), thanks to the sponsorship of Bob Brzozowski, GOHS Executive Director. All these interviews should be of interest to those living in this area for years to come: they capture the sense of an individual’s life in a way which vitally preserves his/her experiences and contributions.

WUOW was officially closed in early May 2013. But thanks again to the sponsorship of the Milne Library, Nancy Cannon, Andy Perry, Lyndsie Robinson, and GOHS, all the KTC recordings will continue to be available. What follows is an index to the interviews. The interviewees/programs are listed alphabetically with the initial date of each broadcast. The length of each segment varies: in most cases the interviews last two-three segments.

Prev Next