POSTED ON BEHALF OF MARC OVERTON, CO-HOST OF SPOLETO TODAY
Making eleven radio programs in 17 days with a group of strangers is like getting married without ever having met your spouse-to-be — except that there are four or five of them, and you have to figure things out pretty fast!
For 14 years, I created, produced and performed Spoleto Today by myself (for the most part). The show started in my kitchen in May 1995. I used the inexpensive (cheap) wireless telephone I had purchased from the big box discount store. I sounded like I was at the bottom of a deep and very damp well, but folks didn’t seem to care. They were just happy to have help making sense of the huge number of things to see and do in Spoleto Festival USA and Piccolo Spoleto. I was in Charleston, and the folks I knew were in Columbia; but, it was fun, and it answered a need.
In 1996, we moved to a small broadcast studio run by a terrific engineer named Bruce Roberts who lived west of the Ashley with his talented wife Lorna. She took the morning off from songwriting to act as greeter/director/floor manager/stage manager. We stayed there for 13 years, and Spoleto’s greatest artists and Piccolo’s most popular attractions came to us. We made great live radio for a half-hour every morning during the festivals.
I’ve been blessed all these years with the most gracious support of the dedicated professionals at South Carolina ETV & Radio. And this year, we’ve moved to another level. ETV introduced a new partner to the proceedings – the good people of WDAV 89.9 (a classical music/public radio station in Charlotte NC, based at Davidson College) who bring just as much support and passion as my old ETV friends. This new partnership has made it possible to expand Spoleto Today to an hour, and our new broadcast location at the College of Charleston gives artists easy access to our studio.
For me, however, it has been like starting over in grammar school. I was no longer the sole creator/producer: in fact, I have had the great luxury of being the old quarterback providing “color commentary.” And I had to get married, so to speak, to not one but two co-producers. I am glad to give up part of that burden, to shape my on-air personality around a glamorous co-host whose beautiful voice and polished personality made me feel a little like a country bumpkin at times.
But you know what? It has all worked out. We all got married a little, we all trimmed the edges off our ids and egos to work together, and we managed to catch Spoleto by the tail as it whizzed by. We have made some nice radio and accomplished my goals: giving the Spoleto experience in a new way to folks who are attending, and bringing that experience vicariously to folks who can’t get here.
The great drama scholar Eric Bentley has said that lessons in how not to do it are lessons still, and we’ve learned a lot of them as we’ve worked on our radio marriage. So, like all old married people, we have less to say to each other now than we did when we met, but we’ve also fallen in love with each other in the way that married people do only when they’ve already tied the knot. We like that, and we hope we can stay married for a good while to come.