A Centenarian and Frog Hollow

Author: Molly Swift
August 21, 2018

I just posted on Facebook and Instagram. A rather nondescript image and accompanying post about one of our featured locations – this time, Beasley Broadcasting Group, which operates stations in roughly 40 towns/cities throughout the U.S. ranging from urban and country, to contemporary hits and rock. For us, that means much loved stations like WGAC, Kicks 99, and HD 98.3.

In my posts I mentioned the Moolah Madness promotion on 98.3. Listeners can win $1000. That’s pretty cool. But, it’s actually a truly vapid post considering what’s at the heart of this station, which is a group of people who work ridiculously hard for our hometown.

When I moved to Augusta, it was a Beasley station that made me feel more at home. From the music – alternative and rock – to the presenters (everybody loves Chuck Williams!), I felt like I was among friends. Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to get to know a bunch of the people who worked at Beasley, including sales people, radio personalities and broadcasters, and some of the execs. Everyone has been pretty awesome.

But, there’s one station in particular that has had a huge impact on me, and that is HD 98.3. And trust me, that’s not because it plays pop music. In fact, I was so not a fan of pop music that I successfully avoided hearing what I knew was a Justin Bieber song until 2015.

But, in 2015 my youngest discovered Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, and the rest of the world of sugary pop. I was mortified. My oldest girls had gone through middle and high school listening to 98.3, but they were also fans of other genres and we didn’t really get too attached to any one station.

Not so with the eight year old. She became an avid fan and that station was pretty much our only option – especially if Kris Fisher was on. She thought he was so funny, and that he chose the best music. For many years she said she wanted to meet him, but shyness prevented her from doing so until a few weeks ago. The smile on her face and the sheer delight in her eyes when she finally did get a chance to hang out with him will never leave my mind.

So that’s the reason that station is so important to me – because of the happiness it brings her. We still listen to it daily. Everyone on the air has a great sense of humor, an awareness of what’s going on around Augusta, and they get involved in local causes in a big way. It’s amazing, and it’s helping me teach my kid the importance of being a part of change and helping others. They’ve addressed issues that are relevant to her – safety, charity, and even bullying. When she hears them say something funny or goofy, she files it away in her little head and out it pops at another time. She’s really listening.

Using hit music to reach out to others is one thing, but using it to improve the quality of life of thousands is quite another. HD 98.3 takes part in Fake it to Make It, a lip-synch competition that benefits SafeHomes of Augusta, a non-profit program and shelter for people dealing with and recovering from domestic abuse. They also champion a variety of other local initiatives, like the Jingle Jam, First Friday, and The Art of Chocolate. All of this touches my heart and endears me to them, big time. It’s why I wanted them to be in the Little Guide Augusta, and why I am so thrilled they said yes.

It’s not that other stations don’t do these things. They do, and they do them well, too. It’s just that these people are part of my crew. I love that they act on their values, and I appreciate everything they do for each person in the CSRA while actually delivering the best hits around. I know an eight year old who would agree with me, and frankly, that’s all that matters to me.