The Value of a Voice, your voice

It’s taken me every bit of the first few years on this news-reporting job to begin to understand the value of a voice.  Live, recorded, synthesized, accompanied by music, friendly, obnoxious, they all come together to make up the sound that comes your way, Mountain Magic.  While we celebrate our listeners in the week ahead, reflect a little on what you may hear, and consider sharing some of your voice too.

Just a few sample voices are included here, and even if they don’t inspire you to share yours, may they remind of some one you know, or something you’re glad to hear. Please note a disclaimer; all of the following are out of context, anonymous, even if recognizable, and soundbites with just a little meaning because they are friends and neighbors.

Reflecting on musical taste:

“To be honest with you, I’m kind of stuck in the eighties; and I try to venture outside of that circle, and there are a few bands I listen to, that may have came and went in the 90’s such as Stone Temple Pilots, Rage against the machine, but the few that I listened to, they dissolved somewhat quickly, and I seem to hover around the1970s and 1980s for some reason.”

Another voice is from some one working in the area for a while.

“We’ve become so close to so any people in Bath, and we have this real affinity for those folks but also Bath County.  It’s just gorgeous. And now we carry it around with us living here in the city.”

And the music- there are always the voices of instruments, whether it’s through regular programming, with familiar voices of hosts you know, and the genres you choose, or local up and coming talent getting air time, singing and song keep on coming.

(Musical insert)

We also value the voices delivering information, weather, or providing reminders about the huge variety of events filling days in the mountains.

“On February 5th, Jessa Fowler of the Allegheny Mountain Institute will talk about communities becoming vibrant, and valuing food and health”.

I found one dictionary definition of “Value” that called it

“the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.”

My hope here that even just a few listeners will be willing to share their valued voices In a follow-up to this news piece.  The challenge is to write what we’ll call, for lack of a better title, a “Thank-you note or a Love letter to a fellow human being”.  There is no requirement at all for you to be the on-air voice, unless you want to be.  Start with finding your valued voice through writing, and maybe use three-quarters to a whole page as a guide for amount.  Again, imagine it as a “Thank-You note, or love letter to a Fellow Human Being”.  There’s no need to include any names, or even better make some up.  If e-mail works for you please use:, or if pen and paper are better then: FHB c/o AMR P.O. Drawer G, Hot Springs, 24445

A few more suggestions for how to contribute to this first episode of FHB are included with this news story on our website.  Thank you for being a valued listener.

Simple Guidelines for Finding your Voice:

  1. Try writing first.  Pretend you are speaking to the person you want to thank or appreciate. 
  2. Keep things simple.  You’ll sound more natural if you use familiar words and expressions.
  3. Have Fun!  just play with what you’d like to say, or ideas you’d like to get across.
  4. There is NO right or wrong way to do this;  it’s just an exercise in seeing if you can hear yourself in what you say, and to decide if you’d like others to hear you too.
  5. Maybe, just maybe, being a good listener (thank you for listening to AMR) can make one a good expresser, just the way reading a lot can eventually make one a good writer?

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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