VALPARAISO | A new voice is hitting the airwaves this month in Valparaiso, as Michael Austin makes his debut on WVLP, 98.3 FM community radio.
Austin, a resident at Life Care Center of The Willows in Valparaiso, visited the studio to record underwriting spots for the facility, which supports programming on WVLP. The minute-long message started airing daily in October on 98.3 FM at various times.
With a huge poster of Peter Frampton overlooking him at the recording desk, Austin sat at the mic and knocked out his voice segments as if he had been broadcasting for a lifetime.
“It was a very comfortable atmosphere, and Gregg was helpful and very easy to work with,” Austin said about station manager Gregg Kovach. “I know a lot about music, and broadcasting has always been an interest of mine. I like that world.”
For Kovach, the admiration was mutual.
“It was a pleasure having Michael at the studio, and I was impressed with the work he did,” Kovach said. “The spots turned out great. In fact, it’s my hope to bring him back for some more voice work in the future.”
WVLP is a non-profit community station, and this focus led Kovach to open his recording equipment to Austin to initially record the underwriting spots for The Willows. Before the session was over, however, Kovach also had Austin record several station identification announcements and other pieces to identify musicians and songs just heard by listeners.
“His voice inflection was really good,” Kovach said. “I wanted to up the game a little and ask Michael to record some things off the cuff with little guidance, and he delivered.”
Austin, who lives with muscular dystrophy, said he continues to work on several personal goals that involve not only his physical strength, but his social and mental well-being as well. This recording opportunity, and the possibility of more sessions in the future, is helping him realize those goals.
Tami Adams, executive director at The Willows, said Austin's involvement represents the kinds of activities The Willows strives to create for long-term and short-term patients.
“Our patients have a variety of interests, and we are always looking for innovative ways to help them maintain their connections in the community,” Adams said.