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Radio vet lends voice to schools

March 27, 2007|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN - Near the end of a recent radio program that he was hosting, a caller asked Will Kauffman, "Do I know you?"

The caller recognized Kauffman from his more than 30 years working at area radio stations.

Kauffman is school communications/web coordinator for Washington County Public Schools and hosts a monthly radio show on WJEJ 1240 AM called "Lunchtime Live."

The interview program runs nearly 30 minutes and starts at 1:06 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month.

"I have the ability to do what I did before and tie it to my current employer," Kauffman said.

The first "Lunchtime Live" aired in early 2004, and Kauffman's first guest was Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan.

Guests during the most recent broadcast, including Assistant Superintendent for School Operations Boyd Michael, discussed new school construction and redistricting.

"The guest list is endless," Kauffman said.

"Lunchtime Live" covers tough topics by going straight to the source, and accomplishments of staff and students are highlighted on the program, Kauffman said.

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"It's information the community wants to know," he said. "And we make every effort to be timely with our topics."

February's guests were Chief Financial Officer Chris South and Washington County Board of Education Member Paul W. Bailey, who discussed the draft fiscal year 2008 operating budget. Past shows are available on the school system's Web site at www.wcboe.k12.md.us.

Several sponsors of "Lunchtime Live" have helped offset the cost of airtime for the radio program, which Kauffman said is about $115 per show.

This month's sponsor was Hagerstown Trust. Like all sponsors, the bank received brief on-air promotions in exchange for its contribution.

Kauffman also interviews people for a weekly podcast called "WCPS One on One" that is accessible at www.antpod.com.

"We're always exploring new ways to communicate with the community," Kauffman said.

Since the school system began offering podcasts in November 2006, guests have included Washington County Board of Education members, students and staff. Guests are interviewed for five minutes by Kauffman.

"We thought the timing was right to add a medium like this to our arsenal of communication tools to get information directly to stakeholders," he said.

Kauffman said downloads of the school system's podcasts more than doubled from November 2006 to January.




To listen ...



Washington County Public Schools "Lunchtime Live" airs the third Thursday of the month at 1:06 p.m. on WJEJ 1240 AM. To access archived shows, go to www.wcboe.k12.md.us.

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