Earl Edwards has been volunteering with MCA-TV since he retired in 2002. “I signed up for a MCA-TV class but the class was filled. I became a member of the Senior Men’s Club and learned they were looking for a member to videograph their programs. It seemed to be my destiny, so I signed up for the MCA-TV course again. I followed this up with editing training by the MCA-TV staff,” says Edwards.
In his ninth year of production, when it comes to volunteering, Edwards can do it all – producer, host, and technical work with camera, audio, and editing equipment; a set of skills that take many hours of determination to acquire. One of Edwards’ past productions for MCA-TV is “The Moon Township Bucket List”. As a Moon resident of more than 40 years, Edwards used his show as a way for viewers to join him as he rediscovered Moon’s history and hidden gems, then crossed the items off of his “bucket list”. Edwards also produces and edits the Senior Men’s Club weekly meeting, each featuring a variety of guest speakers, including musicians, artists, and local professionals that members of the Senior Men’s Club gather to hear.
As one of MCA-TV’s most devoted volunteers, what Edwards enjoys most about being involved is the ever changing electronic aspect of the television industry. “The software and hardware systems have changed continually since I started, so relearning continues constantly. For a farm youth who started life without telephone or electric power, changes and improvements are a favorite part of life and my MCA-TV experience,” says Edwards.
Edwards says his time with MCA-TV brought him to meet many interesting people. “Volunteering is a good way to enrich life. The MCA-TV volunteer effort has let me meet a lot of people with media and technical knowledge as well as exposure to enthusiastic people telling their story via MCA-TV,” says Edwards. Edwards also passes along a few words of encouragement on why to become a volunteer, “Life goes quickly. Try each open door. What do you have to lose?”
* Linda Francis has been a dedicated volunteer and producer with MCA-TV for 28 years. She also teaches fitness classes for Moon Parks and Recreation. Francis shares her story of how she became involved with MCA-TV, her memorable experiences, and why she encourages others to join in on the excitement and become a volunteer.
Back in 1985 I was approached by a MCA-TV board member who asked me if I would do an exercise class on TV similar to the classes I was currently doing at a local YMCA. Naturally I hesitated and was a bit leery to do so in front of a camera, but 28 years later I don’t even notice the cameras anymore! Of course I know they are there because of the wonderful volunteers who alert me which camera to look at, but once I get started my main concern is trying to produce a good exercise show that most people are able to follow and do at home.
I started out with a high impact show, which was the craze back then, and eventually I changed in to a low impact program. While doing a low impact show I began to see the need for a program for the older people in our community. I approached MCA-TV Executive Director, Jim Koepfinger, and asked him if I could add a Senior Workout show. As I became a “senior” myself I changed over entirely to working with seniors. I will have been teaching exercise classes for a total of 39 years this spring and have enjoyed working mostly with the older population. They have fun together and love the companionship of others without any intimidation. Being the host for the show with my many guests gives me much satisfaction knowing I am helping many people at home stay fit actively, physically, and mentally. Many times when I am showing a complicated step the class will say, “We are now working our brains.” Simple movements and things we take for granted which we do every day can fall away through inactivity. As we know, people are living longer and we to keep functioning physically mentally and emotionally. It is gratifying when people tell me they have watched the program and I always ask them, “Did you also do the exercises?”
I have taken the training classes twice that MCA-TV offers and have helped with Public Awareness Weekend by interviewing others. In taking the classes, I have learned what goes on during the taping of my shows and the work that goes on behind the scenes. MCA-TV has come a very long way since its beginning in the studio at the old Moon High School; the sets today, the variety of programs, the old movies and cooking shows have made the station a fun place to be and have given the volunteers many rewards as well as the community. I appreciate the volunteers so much and all of the help they have given to me over the years. It was very fulfilling to recently receive recognition with Ron Potter from the Moon Township Board of Supervisors for our many years of volunteering at the station. I would like to encourage others to come and visit the station, take one of the training classes, and see how much fun and rewarding it can be. We have many seniors helping behind the scenes who really enjoy working together. If you sign up for a class, I am sure you will enjoy the experience and learning the hands on process that creates our great shows.
Meet Frank Magnotta, a MCA-TV community producer who has been volunteering with the station for three years. Other than occasionally making home videos of family vacations, Magnotta had no prior experience with filming or producing before becoming a part of MCA-TV. However, his lack of experience did not let that stop him from taking an interest in the volunteer classes offered at MCA-TV. “After seeing the ad flash across my television, I thought this would be a great opportunity to learn how to use the editing software,” says Magnotta.
Rather than focusing on one main interest, Magnotta enjoys doing and learning as much as he can. Some of the things he has been involved with include helping with the volunteer training classes, working during both Public Awareness Weekend and the Independence Day celebrations at Moon Park, doing instant replays for Moon football and working the cameras at Moon High School’s Commencement Ceremony. Magnotta’ s most memorable experience over the past three years he has volunteered with the station is when a show he edited and produced was first broadcasted on television.
Future projects for Magnotta include working with a Coraopolis resident who is planning a children’s craft and storytime show. When asked about his experience as a volunteer, he had nothing but good reviews. “I have a great time volunteering and would encourage others to do so also,” says Magnotta. “The MCA-TV staff is there to assist you in any way they can and the other volunteers are very friendly and helpful as well. We are all there to help each other so no one fails.”