Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘AVC Communications’

Joel Losego Lights Up the Holiday Season

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This spectacular Holiday Light Show brings visitors back again and again.

One of the main attractions during Dickens Victorian Village’s season is the spectacular Holiday Light Show at the Guernsey County Courthouse in downtown Cambridge. This did not happen overnight. It took over a year to design the first light show – a gift from Grant Hafley, with programming help from Joel Losego.

lite-brite

Joel’s favorite toy as a youngster was Lite-Brite.

According to his mother, Joel has always been interested in lights. In fact, as a child, his favorite toy was Lite-Brite. At a very young age, his parents said that he had the lights on their Christmas tree blinking in rhythm.

When he was six years old, his summers were spent helping his dad on construction. He saved the money his dad gave him that summer to buy a CB radio, which he still has.

avc

These are the AVC stations you enjoy.

As a middle school student at Buckeye Trail, he began working at AVC Communications in Cambridge. He continued working there until he graduated from Ohio University. Helping owner, Grant Hafley, an electrical engineer, Joel learned to design flashing lights with control boards for area dances.

He also volunteered doing sound at his church, the State Theater, and Living Word during that time. Sound intrigued him, Joel remarked, “I always knew what I wanted to do.”

radio-station

The radio station sets high on College Hill.

Then Joel headed off to work in various states on national television networks developing internet and website experience. Basically a home body, Joel served as a beta tester for new software in his spare time. While working for ESPN at special TV events, it became necessary for him to travel all over the country.

Joel missed his family during this time and knew he needed to make some changes. Who should call but his old friend, Grant Hafley. Grant said he was looking for someone to buy AVC Communications. But he wanted a person who would keep the community spirit alive.

joel-losego

Joel conducts much of his business from the computer at his desk.

The moment his life changed was six months later in 2005 at Disney World, a magical place indeed. Joel talked to Grant Hafley during the Disney Parade, and finished the deal for the purchase of AVC. He was on his way back to Guernsey County, a place he never expected to return.

About this time Grant Hafley, who supported Dickens Victorian Village, wanted to do something special to draw more people to town. Lighting up the courthouse to make it a show seemed like a possibility.

Then a year of plans began with help from Grant and a programmer from Arizona. During the second year, the show became Joel’s ‘baby’ and he has been the only person programming it ever since. Right now he is teaching another young person how to continue the operation.

computer-screen

This picture of Joel’s computer screen shows a touch of his planning.

Programming is a tedious process. Every two minutes of light show for the courthouse takes over eighteen hours to complete. Needless to say, Joel spends a lot of time at the computer designing the program. It takes time and patience to synchronize 55,000 lights to over 150 Christmas songs.

courthouse-tree

The Christmas tree was put in place at the courthouse near the end of October.

This year’s light show had a few major changes. For the first time all the lights were LED so the courthouse seems brighter than ever.What appears to be fireworks appears above the courthouse roof.

On the courthouse steps, four lighted trees form Craig’s Christmas Quartet. This is the first time an entire song has been sung and it’s acapella in four part harmony. This is a tribute to Craig, the caretaker at the courthouse, who has been so helpful to Joel and friends over the years.

open-house-quartet

Ctaig’s Christmas Quartet appeared for the first time in 2016.

As a way to get people directly involved with the light show, Joel has used an idea from Disney. A Magical Lightshow Wristband has been designed with a computer chip. When this wristband is at the courthouse, it becomes controlled by the light show and flashes along with it.

This is the first time anything has been sold to raise money for the light show. The cost of the wristband is $20, but you must remember “It’s not a toy. It’s a computer.”

wristband

This Magical Lightshow Wristband flashed with the music.

When asked about his favorite Christmas music, Joel paused as he enjoys so many. Finally, he admitted that Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Carol of the Bells, Gene Autry’s Rudolph, and Andy Williams’ White Christmas were among his favorites.

One of his favorite pastimes will surprise you. He enjoys going to the courthouse light show anonymously to listen to comments about the show. “It’s fun watching other people watch the show.” There he finds ideas for the future as well as improvements that can be made.

open-house-grant-and-joel

Grant Hafley and Joel Losego talk to visitors from the edge of the crowd.

Ten months out of the year, Joel works approximately thirty hours a week on the programming for the Guernsey County Courthouse Holiday Light Show. November and December, when it is running, are his months off from programming. But he’s always handy in case there’s a problem with the program. Most can be fixed from his computer, wherever he happens to be.

When Joel gets an idea, he usually jumps right in and makes it happen. One thing he has put on hold is a trip he wants to share with his wife to Maui. His dream places them at a resort, overlooking the ocean at sunset while having dinner. He even has a video of it on his phone. Someday you can be certain this too will happen. He makes his dreams reality.

light-cd

Remember the evening of the Holiday Light Show with this CD.

Come to Cambridge and watch the Guernsey County Courthouse Holiday Light Show any evening from November 1 to January 2, 2017 starting at 5:30 until 9:00. Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to spot Joel watching too.

The Guernsey County Holiday Light Show happens in Cambridge, Ohio at their courthouse square along old Route 40. You don’t want to miss it.

WILE: The Early Days of Cambridge, Ohio Radio

WILE Beatty Ave

WILE moved into this beautiful old home on Beatty Avenue in 1948.

You’re listening to WILE, 1270 on your radio dial.

Thus a radio station began broadcasting in the hills of southeastern Ohio in Cambridge on April 9, 1948 after playing “Beautiful Ohio” as their sign-on song. Located at 917  Beatty Avenue in the old Orme home, this daytime-only radio station operated on 1000 watts.

Enthusiastic young locals began working at the station in various capacities. Several young ladies were continuity writers, who wrote those much needed commercials, while young men became announcers.  They also had to keep things on schedule. Since everything was live at this time, that often became a difficult task.

WILE Sesqui - Square Studio

WILE placed a temporary station on the courthouse lawn to get people interested in their new venture.

WILE Donahoe - Sesqui Court

Howard Donahoe, founder, managing director, and co-owner, appears at the Sesquicentennial Court facing penalties for not having a beard.

1948 provided big excitement in downtown Cambridge as it celebrated the Sesquicentennial of Guernsey County. In order that area residents could learn more about this new radio station, WILE placed a temporary studio on the courthouse square for broadcasting. This perhaps began their popular remotes.

WILE Musical Farmers

“Dallas Bond and the Musical Farmers” had a regular Saturday program.

Early programs featured locals in everything from music to ministry. Groups came to the station for live performances. A popular musical show, “Dallas Bond and the Musical Farmers”, combined several small groups of local performers in Studio A.

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Ray and John Hosfelt, known as Oak and Ash, brightened everyone’s day.

Another of those local groups contained two young men from Indian Camp, Ray and John Hosfelt, better known as Oak & Ash, “The Forest Rangers”. They sang their way into the hearts of many listeners throughout the county.

On Saturday morning, boys and girls gathered around the radio to listen to “Story Time for Children”. In the afternoon, “Junior Talent Time” gave youngsters a chance to shine by singing or playing a musical instrument. A couple friends practiced singing with me “You Are My Sunshine”, in hopes that someday we would get the courage to go to the radio station. But we never did.

WILE Beatty Ave Studio

Announcers had a grand piano for backup in the studio.

Donna Lake Shafer, who started working as a continuity writer at WILE in the summer after she graduated from Cambridge High School in 1948, remembers Election Night being a very important event at the radio station. Election results came over the station’s Teletype machine, which printed messages from news wire services. Only a few local places received up-to-the-minute reports of the Truman – Dewey presidential election.

Even though the radio station was off the air, people crowded inside the Beatty Avenue headquarters to hear results coming in on the Teletype machine. Donna stayed busy that night keeping hot coffee and cookies ready at this big election party, which was attended by owners of the radio station, local officials and curious citizens. Remember, television sets in homes didn’t exist at this time.

These were not high paying jobs, according to Laura Bates, an early employee of WILE. When she started in 1952, her salary was $140 a month. But Laura recalls, “I loved to write and use my imagination. Working at WILE was enjoyable. You felt like you were a family.”

WILE Velvetones B

VelvetonesB  were part of the WILE scene. Edgar Fisher on the right was later one of our city councilmen.

In those early days, the station manager banned certain music from the air. Sometimes it was too loud, or occasionally the lyrics might be offensive. The radio served as the voice of the community.

Many changes have been made over the years. The station is now located on College Hill, where its transmitter  stood years ago. Almost everything is recorded these days and the station airs around the clock. From Land ‘O Lakes Broadcasting Corporation in 1948 to AVC Communications today, their community spirit still gets broadcast over the hills of Southeastern Ohio.

 

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