January 4, 2020
Three months ago somebody lightheartedly asked me “When are you ever going to retire from radio”
I have been asked this many times before. You know that I already retired once from the University of GA after 30 years there. And I’ve always said “Why would I want to retire? I get to talk about something I enjoy for three hours each week. I meet nice people and I get to work with really nice people.”
But this time, three months ago, I started thinking seriously: “When and how and why would I ever want to retire from radio”?
Well…. most importantly……. I would need to be confident that the listeners to the Lawn and Garden show would continue to get good, research-based garden information.
Secondly, I would want to be assured that whoever replaced me would be talented, knowledgeable and committed to being helpful.
I went to the station manager, Pete Spriggs, who grew up on a farm, like me, and told him what I was thinking. He immediately understood what I wanted ….and he said “You know Walter I think we can work this out. We have a close relationship with Pike nurseries and they intend to sponsor the show for a long time in the future. Secondly we have a young, talented person on staff who gardens at home, who has screened calls for you for eight years, and who has hosted shows in your absence several times already.
So my two conditions were met. The show would continue to offer good, accurate information and my trusted colleague Ashley Frasca would be host.
Best of all, it meant I could still occasionally be in the studio with Ashley. It meant I could continue doing my newspaper column. I would continue to manage my website (and there will be a new look to it in a month or so) and I can still answer garden questions there.
So after hosting the Lawn and Garden show for 26 years, (that’s 1352 shows, if you’re good at math) I can have my Friday and Saturday nights back. I can travel for more than a couple weeks at a time. That will be great!
So I made the decision…. to retire at the end of this month. You have probably noticed that Ashley has begun taking a larger role in the show…. and in February she will be sole host of the show. And I will continue to be involved with the show in a way that we have a quite decided yet.
I have given Ashley complete permission to change the show into her own image. She answers lots of garden questions off the air while I do it on the air. She knows how to find accurate information. She is much better at social media than I am and so she’ll probably be using more of that. She might want to go to events to interview people, she might shoot little videos, she is open to any ideas you might have.
You can email her at Ashley.Frasca @cmg.com.
I have had a wonderful time being on the radio and I am grateful to WSB for the opportunity.