Shew Buddy! Higher Ground Radio is live. We aired our first two episodes, Stay, Stay, Stay Part I and II, in March and two more episodes, Mamaws & Papaws Part I and II, in April. These first episodes were definitely a labor of love for everyone involved. Although most of the staff have experience with storytelling and acting, many of us have never produced radio-quality audio. Learning the equipment, the software, and basic dos and don'ts of recording took quite a while but all that hard work has paid off.
The premise behind Shew Buddy! was to create a radio program that relied on the Higher Ground model of storytelling. Each episode of Shew Buddy would use monologues and dialogues from past plays, interviews with actors who played those characters, new oral histories collected specifically for the show, songs that reinforce the themes of the stories, and poetry readings by local authors. We knew our first show had to be something really special, something close to our hearts. One theme that we've all struggled with is whether to stay in Appalachia or leave.
Shew Buddy! is produced by a team of next generation leaders from Harlan County, Kentucky. Most of the staff are currently enrolled in college at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College. Being a young person in Appalachia is definitely not easy. Seems like our region, our people have seen one devastation after another; poverty, mining accidents, natural disasters, drug abuse, unemployment, chronic illness. With so much stacked against you, why wouldn't you leave? Many people in our community urge young people to leave as soon as they can: go to Richmond, go to Lexington, go to Knoxville, anywhere but here. Staying here isn't easy, but for many of us it's worth it. We stay for our families. We stay for our community, our neighbors. We stay to create change. We stay to make a difference. We stay to wake up and go to sleep looking at those mountains. We stay because this place is part of who we are.
That's the story of the first two episodes of Shew Buddy! "Stay, Stay, Stay" is our story, the story we live every day. In many ways the next two episodes is the story of why we stay. For many young people, we stay to be near our family. As the cast and crew will tell you, Higher Ground is family. Higher Ground makes it possible for us to stay.
If you haven't listened to Shew Buddy! you can download the first four episodes on iTunes. We hope you enjoy our stories. And don't forget that you can listen live. Shew Buddy! airs at 6pm on the second Wednesday of every month on WMMT 88.7 FM in Whitesburg, Kentucky.