Tom and Lynn Lovdal headshot

Member Spotlight: Tom and Lynn Lovdal

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The Lovdals have been members of WOUB since the mid-1980s

ATHENS, OH – You can tell that Tom and Lynn Lovdal are listeners and viewers of WOUB Public Media the minute you walk up to the front door of their Athens home. In the corner of their porch, leaning against the side of the house, sits a WOUB Public Media umbrella.

“Oh yes,” said Lynn. “We love that umbrella and WOUB.”

The Lovdals have been loyal members and supporters of WOUB since 1985. They started listening to WOUB FM Radio when they moved to Pomeroy in 1977.

“We moved from Michigan for my job at American Electric Power,” said Tom.

The two loved the area and decided to make their home in southeast Ohio. While in Pomeroy, Lynn worked in the Meigs Local School District as a learning disability teacher.

“Eventually I quit AEP and started T.H. Lovdal Home Construction & remodeling business,” said Tom.

He quickly learned that most customers for his new company were in the Athens area, so the Lovdals moved. Lynn decided to go onto graduate school at Ohio University. She received a doctorate in communication studies in 1989 and went on to teach at Denison University and Ohio University. Through all of it, WOUB FM was a constant companion.

“Our parents loved public media, and our son grew up on it as well. We are three generations of a public media family,” said Lynn. ““We listened to it all the time. No matter where we live or what we’re doing, WOUB is always on.”

But being avid listeners isn’t the only connection the Lovdals have to WOUB FM. WOUB FM produces a program called Live from Jorma Kaukonen’s Fur Peace Ranch that airs every Friday night at 7 p.m. During each show, Kaukonen introduces a featured artist in a series of concerts recorded at the Fur Peace Ranch guitar camp in Meigs County, Ohio. About 20 years ago, Tom was actually the lead contractor that built the theater at the ranch.

“Jorma was great. On opening night, he let us bring all the subcontractors for the show,” said Tom. “Another connection we have to Jorma is that he purchased our home in Pomeroy when we moved to Athens.”

The Lovdals retired in 2012 and are enjoying the extra time they now have to participate in their favorite hobbies.  “We love winter sports like skiing,” said Lynn. “In the summer, we like to kayak. I like to quilt and knit, and Tom does some woodwork on the side.”  And they also spend more time consuming public media.

“WOUB radio is always on in our kitchen. We love NPR news and entertainment programs like Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me,” said Lynn. “We use WOUB Passport to watch many of our favorite public TV programs like PBS NewsHour and All Creatures Great and Small.

In fact, Lynn just went back and rewatched the first two seasons of All Creatures Great and Small using WOUB Passport because she learned that many of the sweaters and vests worn by the characters were knitted by hand, and there are patterns available to replicate those outfits.

“You can watch the programs available on PBS multiple times and on many different levels,” said Lynn.

Since they lived in Pomeroy and Athens, The Lovdals have also enjoyed watching WOUB’s locally produced historical documentaries Our Town: Pomeroy and Our Town: Athens. The couple says they don’t know what they would do without WOUB.

“NPR’s coverage on the Russia – Ukraine crisis, as in any event or topic covered, is unparalleled,” said Lynn. “Not only do we hear current reporting on the invasion, but they examine the history of Russia and Ukraine over the centuries and look at the immediate as well as far reaching implications for how it could change the world and its political, economic, cultural, democratic consequences. We get a micro view, a macro view and everything in between. You can’t beat it.”

“You learn so much. You get diverse opinions about issues,” said Tom. “There are lengthy discussions, and multiple views are represented. It’s a trusted news source, along the same lines as the New York Times and the Washington Post. Sources like these are needed, especially in this day and age, when news and information is so entertainment based.”

“If you took off WOUB, there wouldn’t be anything to listen to,” said Lynn. “It’s one of the few places to get in depth, broadly researched, fact checked and trusted news.”

Lynn says WOUB is so important to her that she takes every opportunity she has to drum up support for the station.  “One time I was at the gas station, and the guy who parked next to me had WOUB on really loud. He told me that he just loved NPR and the story he was listening to and had to hear the rest of it. And I said, ‘Have you ever contributed to WOUB?’ And he said, ‘No, I haven’t.’ And I said, “Well you should think about it. They need your donations,’” said Lynn laughing.