Aiken County school board member puts education issues on air with weekly radio show

Aiken County school board member Donna Moore Wesby hosts a weekly radio show about education.

AIKEN --- Donna Moore Wesby's smooth, drawn-out velvet voice was practically made for radio. Years after earning a degree in broadcast journalism, though, she's finally putting it to work with Education Matters, a weekly radio segment on WAAW (94.7).

Wesby has experience in public relations and communications but had never really used her voice or the on-air skills she honed at the University of South Carolina until the Wednesday show started in 2009, she said.

Wesby thought she could put together a broadcast that would channel her passion for education to the almost 400,000 listeners in 10 counties.

After a winning campaign for the Aiken County school board in 2008 and raising three teenagers, Wesby had a front-row seat on education issues.

"I came up with a platform that was focused on parental involvement," she said. "There are so many things I could tie into that.

"My degree is in journalism, so I also have a good sense for what's going to be newsworthy," she said.

Topics include issues of Richmond and Aiken counties and national discussions.

Wesby's hottest topics include discipline and corporal punishment.

"There was several reasons that was popular, mostly because of the disappearance of it in the homes and schools," she said.

"It's one we'll continue to discuss."

The shows start with practical, purposeful news of upcoming events and reminders of important education deadlines such as registrations.

Then there's the word of the day. Wesby said she's had listeners who missed the show call to find out what the word was.

After a year and a half on the air, Wesby has settled into her new role.

She doesn't follow a script and has adapted her format so it's conversational and makes listeners feel they can call in and jump into the discussion.

"My heart is very sincere," she said. "It's a mission; it's a calling; and it's something where I can be a service and giving to the community."

Donna Moore Wesby

OCCUPATION: Owner of The Greatest Gift, Aiken County school board member, host of Education Matters on radio station WAAW (94.7), 10 a.m. Wednesdays

FAMILY: Husband, Don; stepdaughter, Britney, 20; stepson, D.J., 19; and son, Mykal, 16