By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor
Chuck Rogan of Lumberport was in radio for 12 years; it was a job he loved – to say the least! He worked for WFGM 97.9 FM, which is now WKKW radio. It was not an easy decision to make when he left radio but rather one he felt he had to make for financial and security reasons. Today he is a mail carrier in Clarksburg. However, he is still just as passionate about radio, and it’s obvious if you tour his home where you may see a 1940’s radio on display along with an authentic Edison! These types of things are a tribute to what he loved doing … his own little museum of sorts!
Imagine him and a few friends gathering in his garage to play Xbox. That is when the passion grew! Someone else showed up … and then another … and before long their camaraderie was evident. And out of this has evolved ‘Rogan Radio’.
It began with audio … then video … now a podcast once a week on Sundays for an hour or an hour and a half.
“There are about eight of us guys now – each with his own unique personality – who gather every week,” Chuck said. “It is kind of a ‘social hour’ where we just talk about whatever comes up. Nothing is every scripted. We talk about our interests and we try once in a while to have a topic to discuss. You would think that with eight guys sitting around talking, our viewers would be mostly male, but we actually have a greater female fan base. We can’t explain it.”
Believe it or not, these podcasts have grown to have a worldwide audience of over 50,000! People watch, listen and comment locally and beyond. Rogan Radio’s audience stretches to New York, Chicago, Norway, Canada, Switzerland, Nigeria, and the list is too long to mention all the locations!
Each one of them has become his own character, and quite simply, they just have fun. They call it a great team effort. “We just seemed to gel,” Chuck added.
They admit that sometimes they are slightly ornery, but at other times they are “choir boys”!
The team of eight is made up of Chuck Rogan, Todd Beck, Darren Hardman, Jimmy ‘Wiz’ (and sometimes his 15-year old son Christian Wisniewski), Chad Puccio, Bruce Takahashi (their ‘Eastern liaison’), Derek MyIntyre, and Mark Coffey. They hail from Harrison, Marion and Taylor Counties. They are each very different individuals – some married – some single – some with kids – some without … but together, some sort of magic happens! And they have caught lots of audience attention.
Facebook and You Tube came along, then computers were added along with video cameras, headsets, and microphones, mixers, and LOTS of equipment – all set up in a room in Chuck’s house. And then came the addition of drones, and the ‘team’ began to shoot videos, sometimes adding music; and this is where the ‘choir boy’ aspect enters. These guys have BIG hearts and love doing the videos to promote events in the local area. They charge nothing; it is simply free advertising to enhance interest in happenings around the local area.
“We are delighted to do this – especially when it features local kids,” Chuck said. “For example, we did a video of the Lincoln High School band on their Senior Night. We talked to some of them about what that final field performance meant to them and how and why they would miss it as they move forward. We also did a video of Lincoln’s graduation. These kids can download that from YouTube, put it on a flash drive, and preserve that memory for a lifetime. I wish I had had something like that when I was a kid. And it costs them nothing. We don’t get paid for this; it’s just a service we enjoy doing. We capture the emotion in ‘moments’ like these.”
Rogan Radio has also done some videos called “Exploring West Virginia”. They have visited Tygart Dam, for example, where they learned that it is the largest concrete structure east of the Mississippi – right in our back yard! Another video featured the history of the Sunset-Ellis Restaurant and Drive-In. Others have captured the Marie Gaston Memorial 4-H Turkey Trot, the Shinnston Volunteer Fire Department’s flood relief effort and more recently the SVFD’s Breakfast with Santa. They did a piece on Sagebrush, learning that it is the oldest continuous country music concert, the Marion County Technical students who built a tiny house for WV flood victims … and did you know that there are parts of the USS West Virginia in Clarksburg and Salem?
“There is HISTORY right here under our noses, and we learn things as we explore doing some of these videos. We have fun doing them and we learn while we do it. We are West Virginia ‘proud’, and this is a great way to expose other folks to what is here,” they commented.
They have covered a Ride for Life in support of the American Cancer Society. And prior to Christmas this year, they participated in “Operation Warm”, a special project hosted by the International Firefighters that purchased coats for distribution at a local elementary school.
Rogan stated, “If it is community oriented, we go out of our way for that. There are a lot of good things to show about our area and we like to promote that. It’s free advertising and the best part is – we enjoy it. But I have to tell you that the ‘Operation Warm’ filming was a real highlight – to see how these kids reacted to getting a free coat. I was so touched that I came home and cried. One little boy in particular really captured my heart. It was something else to see the interaction between these kids and the respect the firefighters showed them! It was what CHRISTMAS is all about.”
Remember now – they all have real jobs, so this is all done in their free time. When you view one of these videos, you’ll find it well done … but what you may not realize is that taking all the camera shots, video taping, setting it to music, adding comments from people – this takes time to prepare. It may take three or four hours to condense all the material into a three-minute video. And at NO CHARGE! THIS is the definition of a ‘labor of love’.
Whether it’s a funny “guy night” in the “situation room” at Rogan’s house doing a Sunday evening podcast … or exploring some of the history located in the Mountain State … or capturing “moments” at community events … Rogan Radio has gone from something rather generic to something more professional. You can find their pieces on iTunes, Facebook, YouTube, Stitcher, Sound Cloud … they are pushing the edge now. Their unique adventures are FUN and free promotion for the area.
Rogan Radio t-shirts sport a light bulb as part of its brand. The reasoning behind that is that when this group gathers, they often talk spontaneously about whatever comes up – just like a lightbulb coming on. Yes, they are funny at times. And yes, sometimes a little ornery too! But more often than not, this unique Rogan Radio ‘family’ is truly a group of caring choir boys at heart. They have become their own little brotherhood, and whatever their magic formula is, it has grown to capture a worldwide audience.