Feature Contributors Archives for 2023-01

Column: Travel with Shelby Senior Services, Inc.

Is it spring yet? 

Looking outside at the gloomy, leafless trees and snow, we have a few more weeks to go. However, warmer weather is on the way and this is the perfect time to choose one or more of the fun trips Shelby Senior Services has planned for May through September.  



Let me introduce myself, I am Carol McDaniel (photo), Travel Coordinator for Shelby Senior Services, which is located in the new YMCA building, Suite 101. We have been traveling since 2009, and we have been all over the world.  

This year we will be traveling to the following places:

  • May 3-13 -- Portugal River Cruise: staterooms are offered with or without a balcony, price is based on room choice and start at $5,000 per person. Passport is required. final payment is due Feb. 3. This is a flying trip.
  • June 18-24 -- Cape Cod (main photo) and Martha’s Vineyard: this trip is FULL, but we have a waiting list. Cost is $715 per person, final payment is due April 11. This is a motor coach trip.
  • July 15-23 -- Columbia and Snake River Cruise, sailing through Washington and Oregon. From $3,915 per person, choice of cabin determines cost. Air travel is an additional $595 per person.
  • September 4-9 -- Virginia Beach, Williamsburg and Norfolk. $809 per person. Final payment due June 27. This is a motor coach trip.
  • September 24-30 -- Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard. This trip is FULL, but we have a waiting list. $715 per person, final payment is due July 17. This is a motor coach trip.  

Each trip requires a deposit to hold your seat. Motor coach trips are $75 per person; Flying trip deposits vary based on cost of the trip. 

Call 317-701-5984 if interested.

Let me share some facts about our travel program:

  • Travelers have to be over 12 years old to travel with our group.  So, your grandchildren are welcome if accompanied by grandma, grandpa, and/or parent.
  • Travelers must be members of Shelby Senior Services, which allows you to take part in activities not only in Shelbyville, but also in our satellite branches in Morristown, Fairland and Waldron.
  • You do not have to reside in Shelby County to travel with us.  However, we depart for our trips from the Shelbyville senior center.
  • You must be able to walk and climb steps unassisted. You may wish to bring a cane. You will also be responsible to manage one small overnight piece of luggage unassisted. The motor coach steps can be somewhat steep, so keep that in mind. Some of our destinations may not have an elevator at the hotels. You may bring a motorized scooter as long as it is foldable and under 600 pounds. You must have someone with you to help with loading and unloading the scooter. In addition, our personnel cannot help if you need assistance walking or climbing steps.
  • Each travel company offers travel insurance at affordable prices.  You will be given information about how to sign up for that. The information is printed on the trip flyer.
  • I schedule a pre-trip meeting for each trip approximately one week before departure.
  • You will receive an email with information to let you know when your final payment is due and when we will meet for the pre-trip meeting. Final payment for motor coach trips are usually due two months before departure. Flying trips require final payment about six months ahead because of air and hotel reservation deadlines.
  • Prices quoted on the flyers are based on two people in the room. Singles are a little higher.
  • We require that each of the travelers have fun!

I am looking forward to spring and happy traveling in 2023.

Main photo credit: ctpost.com

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Column: I blame Oprah!

Dear readers,

Oprah Winfrey is to blame for Prince Harry and Meghan’s family problems. I did not arrive at this decision lightly. I like Oprah. She is a billionaire genius. She also is a philanthropist who enjoys bringing happiness to others.

Who can forget the time Oprah told her entire studio audience to look under their seats and everyone found the keys to a new car?

I certainly didn’t forget that exciting daytime TV moment. Just thinking about it inspired me to give each of you a surprise gift this week. Go ahead and look under your seat. Did you find a Moon Pie? 

I wanted to give you each a new car just like Oprah. You are as special to me as Oprah’s studio audience was to her. When I came up with the idea, I ran it past Johnny McCrory and he just did one of those things where he rolled his eyes and shook his head a little as he walked on past me. I took that to mean, “Great idea Kris, but it just isn’t in the budget this week.” 

So that’s when I decided to just tape a Moon Pie under your seat. Like grandma always said, “It’s the thought that counts.”

Anyway, now back to why I blame Oprah.   



Oprah was one of the first guests to arrive at St. George Chapel for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding. Oprah made quite the entrance wearing a pale lilac Stella McCartney dress with a giant hat topped with flowers and feathers. 

Meghan and Harry’s $40 million wedding seemed like a fairy tale come true. Meghan, the girl from California found her prince. The reception was just as grand with Sir Elton John singing a special version of “Tiny Dancer” to the princess bride. 

I thought, like all fairy tales, Prince Harry and Meghan’s story would end with, “and they lived happily ever after.”

But no, before their new silverware began to tarnish, Harry and Meghan were on Oprah’s TV special trashing Harry’s family. Meghan complaining about her in-laws on national TV wasn’t very smart. She was already on the outs with her family after replacing her dad with Harry’s dad to walk her down the aisle.

Now, Harry has written a bestselling book, “Spare,” whining about his place in line to become King of England. Harry describes, blow by blow, a fight with his brother, William, that ended violently breaking the dog’s bowl. Being a royal dog, it was a very nice bowl.

You are probably beginning to wonder why I blame Oprah for Harry and Meghan’s estrangement from their families. I blame her for letting them complain about Harry’s family on her TV show. Oprah knew better. She knew that airing the dirty royal laundry on TV was wrong. 

Now it is time for Oprah to redeem herself. She discovered Dr. Phil.  She gave him his own TV show to help families with their problems.  With just one phone call, Oprah could get the royal family reservations at the Dr. Phil House. A month or two of intense therapy with Dr. Phil could save the royal family. 

Oprah might even get an invite to King Charles’ coronation this spring.  It is going to be the social event of 2023. Oprah still has time to shop for a new hat.

Note: If you found a Moon Pie taped under your seat, it was just a lucky coincidence. I was planning on getting to every reader’s house this week, but I didn’t have snow tires on my Schwinn.

See you all next week, same Schwinn time, same Schwinn channel.

Photo: Kris Meltzer offers Prince Harry a tissue.

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Happy anniversary Shelby County radio, Part II

Legendary Illinois sports broadcaster Art Kimball headed a group that purchased WSVL-AM in April 1988. Radio stalwart Jack Boyce moved to WRCR Radio in Rushville.

A new era was ushered in for Shelbyville radio. The new owners continued to focus on local programming and added more emphasis to national and regional news.

The Kimball ownership sold to ARS Broadcasting and principal owner Alan Schreiber in 1989. ARS changed the station call letters to WOOO, in recognition of Shelbyville radio’s 30-year anniversary in 1991. The station also moved its broadcast studio downtown to the public square (above the old Todd-Bennett building) at this time. The operation would move back to the original Morristown Road site in 1997.

Former WSVL newsman Wayne Thomas returned to the station in 1993 as news director and sports announcer and also assumed some managerial duties during that period. Thomas had left WSVL in 1979 after 12 years to enter private business. Thomas concluded his venerable 18-year Shelbyville radio career in 1998. He succumbed to cancer in 1999.

Former Shelbyville teacher, coach, businessman and Indiana state senator Tom Hession became station manager in 1996. Hession had served in part-time capacities with WSVL for more than 20 years since his arrival in Shelbyville in 1968. Hession was a radio veteran and had previously been the play-by-play announcer for the Indianapolis Indians. He broadcast Shelbyville High School basketball games and hosted a weekly sports program that highlighted local events through 1989.

After 10 years of ownership, ARS sold AM 1520 to Rush-Shelby Energy in 2000. Shelby County REMC merged with Rush County REMC in 1998 to form the new cooperative that provides energy service to areas of Rush and Shelby Counties as well as portions of Fayette, Franklin, Bartholomew, Decatur, Henry, Hancock and Johnson counties. WOOO Radio became WKWH.



Johnny McCrory (photo, right, interviewing future Vice-President of the United States Mike Pence) became WOOO news director in 1998. His duties expanded with the Rush-Shelby acquisition. Scott Huber became WKWH general manager in 2001. Huber had worked several years for The Shelbyville News. Todd Glidden also came to WKWH from the newspaper at that time to head the advertising department.

Rush-Shelby expressed an interest to sell the radio station in 2007. A local group comprised of Huber, McCrory, Glidden and engineer Doug Raab purchased AM-1520.

“Our goal was to keep the radio station going,” said McCrory. “Word was that the FCC was relaxing some restrictions and making it considerably easier to operate in radio. Also, things were becoming increasingly more efficient due to technological advances. We thought the time was right.”

3 Towers Broadcasting took ownership on July 1, 2007, under the call letters WSVX.

“I remember our first order of business as new owners was setting up for the remote coverage at the Shelby County Fair,” said McCrory. “We were out there working at four in the morning to make sure we got things right.”

Unfortunately, the business lost two partners in quick succession.

Long-time health issues forced advertising executive Todd Glidden into retirement shortly after completion of the sale. Glidden’s condition steadily worsened.  He passed away in January of 2013 at the age of 54.

Engineer Doug Raab provided the technical expertise for the new 3 Towers venture. His knowledge and computer skills were integral during the early years. The 30-year-old Raab was tragically killed in a car accident on June 7, 2011.

The company moved forward with the continual mission of providing quality local coverage and expanding its service. In light of the internet explosion, General Manager Scott Huber was intent on developing the idea of an online newspaper.

“Scott had a newspaper background and thought a daily online newspaper would be well-received,” said McCrory. “So we started the Shelby County Post.”



In 2021, veteran journalist and Shelbyville-native Jeff Brown came to WSVX as editor of the Shelby County Post.

“It has been an excellent partnership,” stated McCrory. “Jeff is a talented writer who has extensive experience and a great deal of knowledge about the community.”

The Shelby County Post offers news, sports, feature stories, historical pieces and regular columns without a required subscription fee.  

The online newspaper has become a strong supplement to WSVX, similar to the way cable tv’s channel 3 enhanced the media service of WSVL Radio some four decades ago.

Throughout its history, Shelbyville radio has always offered a very professional on-air presentation.  

“I have always been pleased with our on-air talent,” said McCrory. “We never have sacrificed quality because of our size.”

That sentiment rings true as McCrory’s radio efforts have been recognized on a couple of occasions. He received the 2012 Marv Bates Indiana Sportscaster of the Year Award from the Indiana Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association and in 2014 was presented the Virgil Sweet Distinguished Service Award by The Indiana Basketball Coaches Association.

3 Towers Broadcasting (Giant 96) has expanded its media holdings in recent years, purchasing radio stations WROI in Rochester in 2020 and WREB in Greencastle in 2021. They have also added FM repeaters 96.5 for Shelbyville and 106.3 for Greenfield which translate the AM-1520 channel to a stronger and wider signal.

The additional stations have lent a degree of synergy to the company and allowed responsibilities to be distributed among more employees.

“The stations working together has been very helpful and complementary,” said McCrory.

Last week, McCrory and Brown interviewed former Shelbyville athlete and current IU student Megan Eads who won a $1,000 prize by hitting a half-court shot at intermission of the Indiana-Wisconsin game at Assembly Hall on Jan. 14. Later, they made preparations for a Tuesday night boys basketball game at Garrett Gymnasium. Again, simply going about the business of local radio.

Achievement and success are not determined in the short term. A wise keynote speaker once cautioned against seeking “quick fixes” and advised a commencement gathering to take “the long view” in life. The long view stands the test of time.   

Shelbyville radio in 2023 is doing what it has done since its creation: Building on a successful legacy by working day by day, week by week, year by year to broadcast information of local interest and strive to enhance the lives of the people of Shelby County.

Taking the “long view” for 62 years. 

Editor's note: Part I of John Hartnett's two-part feature story on Shelbyville's local radio station was published Tuesday at www.shelbycountypost.com

Happy anniversary Shelby County radio

On Jan. 14, Shelbyville’s local radio station marked its 62nd anniversary.

There was no celebration or fanfare as the WSVX radio staff routinely went about the business of serving as the on-air information source for Shelby County.

On this anniversary day in 2023, news and sports director Johnny McCrory and station online newspaper editor Jeff Brown broadcast a Shelbyville boys basketball game from Pendleton. It was just another day of work for the radio station whose service and commitment to Shelby County has remained consistent and basic throughout the course of its history.

“The basics of radio are relatively constant,” said McCrory, an Illinois native who came to the station in 1998 as news director. “You try to provide ongoing information of local interest to people.”

That concept became the strength of radio as the industry was thriving and smaller radio entities began to crop up and flourish in smaller cities and towns following World War II. Television became a national force in the 1950s and this required that radio adopt a narrower focus. That often translated to opportunities for smaller, provincial communities such as Shelbyville.

The General Electric Company established a plant in Shelbyville in the 1950s that brought a multitude of employees with growing families to town. A radio station was one natural outgrowth of Shelby County’s development during that period.

General Manager John Hartnett Sr., originally from Buffalo, New York, and at the time most recently from Somerset, Kentucky, and his fellow stockholders brought local radio back to Shelbyville under the call letters WSVL.

Hartnett welcomed the station’s first listeners to the airwaves at 11 a.m. on Jan. 14, 1961. News director Bob Houck followed with the initial newscast and WSVL-AM 1520 was born.


Today's modern studio broadcasting equipment at WSVX's Morristown Road location.


Regular programming featured national, state and local news, music and other offerings of a local and regional nature such as Party Line (an early version of E-Bay where listeners could buy and sell items), Cincinnati Reds baseball, Indiana University basketball, Report from City Hall and regular remote broadcasts featuring Shelby County businesses and people.

The Shelby County Broadcasting Corporation added a second station in 1964 with the addition of WSVL-FM 97.1. FM radio was gaining in popularity. A stronger signal that enabled stations to reach across a greater scope made FM the wave of the future.  

The AM station primarily focused on Shelbyville and events in the city while 97.1 FM directed service more to the rural demographic. However, the primary objective of both entities was to serve and highlight all of Shelby County.

Long-time Shelby County residents will remember many of the personalities from those first three decades: Ed Roehling, Mark Risley, Tom Franklin, Jack Boyce, George Lambert, Patty Stevens, Jim Brown, Marvin Young, Mark Gravely and Wayne Thomas Posz to name just a few.

Shelby Materials has traditionally been a consistent radio sponsor. Retired company president Phil Haehl remembers his father and former CEO John Haehl communicating the importance of having a community radio station.

“Dad said that he knew what it was like not to have a radio station and the things a community missed out on because of that, “stated Phil Haehl. “He was a very big supporter.”

Phil Haehl also worked as an evening DJ on Fridays during his high school years and handled the news and afternoon shift on Sundays.

“The FM had quite a country music following in central Indiana. People would call from all around with record requests,” said Haehl.

WSVL-FM morning personality Ann Williams developed a legion of fans.

“Ann was once named Country Music Disc Jockey of the Year for our division,” said Boyce. “She was well-known and respected in country music circles. She and I broadcast WSVL shows from Opryland in 1972 and 1973.”


For more on Ann Williams, go to: https://shelbycountypost.com/local-news/642750


Boyce later assumed the role of WSVL news director and was renowned for his ever-present, on-site reporting.

The station’s annual coverage of the Indianapolis 500 time trials each May was a very popular sports feature. Boyce, Lambert, Thomas and Shelby County racing expert Jeb Bass anchored the continuous reporting over the course of the two weekends of qualifications.

“We were the only radio station that dedicated that much time to the trials, 11 (a.m.) to 5:30 (p.m.) each day,” said Boyce. “That was always a huge endeavor and we had numerous sponsors who wanted to be part of those broadcasts.”

Mark Risley began work at WSVL when he was 15.

“I had an interest in radio. My dad was a regular sponsor. John Hartnett called to talk to my dad one day and I answered. He liked my voice and everything proceeded from there.” said Risley, who worked for WSVL through high school and a decade after. He developed into the station’s top salesman during his 12-year tenure.

“I started doing a sports show between my freshman and sophomore years of high school,” said Risley. “From that time, I became an announcer and sportscaster and later added sales.”

Risley says that the experience of sales taught him about relationships, integrity and the value of delivering a quality product. He fondly remembers his former clients: “Clark Browne from Clark’s Auto Parts became a special friend. He was a gifted man and a loyal advertiser.”

Risley also recalled great experiences with Gerald and Ralph Scofield from Scofield Furniture, Jim Sleeth from Jim’s Shortstop Restaurant, Big Blue, Montgomery Ward and Scott’s Station in Marietta. 

Other consistent sponsors were the banks: Farmer’s National Bank, Shelby National Bank, The State Bank of Waldron and Fairland Bank.

“The banks sponsored the various daily newscasts and became a staple of station sponsorship,” said Risley. “Bill Becom Appliance was another big radio client.”

WSVL experienced a crucible within the first two months of taking to the airwaves when the blizzard of 1961 struck central Indiana. Shelbyville basketball fans found themselves stranded at Columbus High School during the sectional tournament as a historic storm pummeled the area. Eight inches of snow fell on Columbus on Feb. 25 as winds up to 55 miles-per-hour whipped through the region. Roads were closed to all travel, with the exception of emergency vehicles.

WSVL’s Jim Brown and George Lambert had broadcast the Shelbyville game. Columbus school and city officials created a shelter at Memorial Gymnasium with a sock hop and food brought in from local contributing restaurants. The storm interrupted phone service rendering communication virtually impossible. The radio station stayed on air all night and into the following morning with Brown and Lambert allowing Shelbyville students and fans the opportunity to communicate via radio with family and friends back home.

“That event set the tone for WSVL radio in the community,” stated Boyce. “It predated my arrival in town but I have heard numerous people say that the blizzard of 1961 established the station and made the people aware of the depth of service the station was willing to provide.”

WSVL became a source for national news in September of 1969 when two planes collided near Fairland, Indiana, killing all 83 people aboard. The station supplied reports of the catastrophe to media outlets across the country and became a center for ongoing information regarding the tragedy.  

Local radio was once again there for emergency communication (main photo) in the winter of 1978 as another massive snow system hit the area.

“John Hartnett, Jack Boyce, Wayne Thomas and I stayed on the air continuously for nearly three days as there was essentially no travel capability,” said Risley. “Today we take communication for granted, but in 1978 a good deal of phone service was down due to the weather and WSVL radio kept the public informed during that difficult time.”

Cable television service came to the city in 1975 and suddenly Shelbyville people had 12 channels and a local one as well. WSVL added Channel 3 that was dedicated to Shelby County. Talented videographer Tom Barker was hired to oversee production. Radio personalities such as Boyce, Thomas, Lambert and Risley could now be seen instead of just heard delivering news reports weekdays at noon and 6 p.m. The television channel also broadcast the “Open Mike” program on Monday nights with the staff interviewing Shelby County newsmakers.

“We interviewed Shelbyville native Sandy Allen, who was the world’s tallest woman at the time, on several occasions,” said Boyce. “We also televised local sporting events and even the annual Shelbyville High School May Festival. The Shelby County Fair was always a busy time for both our radio and television stations. Channel 3 gave the community a whole new perspective and was a tremendous addition to WSVL.”

WSVL boasts a resume of distinguished alumni. John Hartnett Sr. and Ed Roehling are members of the Indiana Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame as is Howdy Bell.

Roehling became a radio entrepreneur and later a college professor.  



Bell (photo) worked as a DJ and announcer at WSVL for two years before moving on to enjoy success at numerous stations including Indianapolis’ WFBM radio and television. Bell is best known for working as one of the principal announcers for the Indianapolis 500 for 50 years.

Gary Lee Hill was the afternoon DJ as the mysterious character “The Phantom” at WSVL in the early 1970s. He went on to work as a sports anchor at Indianapolis WTTV-4 and later gained acclaim as host of ESPN’s “Thunder” series that covered short track racing.



Roehling, Bell and Hill (photo) were among those who attended the station’s 50th anniversary celebration in June of 2011. 

Shelby County Broadcasting sold WSVL-FM to Emmis Corporation and CEO Jeff Smulyan in 1980. Smulyan utilized 97.1 as a springboard to create a media empire that extended to radio, television and print including WIBC, WLHK and Indianapolis Monthly magazine. Emmis sold most of its media holdings in 2022.

The station owners sold WSVL-AM in 1988 to Art Kimball, a well-known radio personality from Bloomington, Illinois. The station today is owned by 3 Towers Broadcasting and operates under the call letters WSVX.

Risley summed up his experience at WSVL: “It was an honor to work for John Hartnett Sr. He was a second father to me and my mentor. I truly valued the people I worked with and stay in contact with them to this day. They are among my dearest friends.”

“I believe the radio station served as the fulcrum of the community,” Risley continued. “The station provided energy for Shelby County and Shelby County provided energy for the station. It was a great relationship.”     

Editor's note: This is Part I of a two-part feature from John Hartnett Jr. detailing the history of Shelbyville's lone radio station. Part II will be featured on Wednesday in the Shelby County Post.