Director is bringing art to airwaves

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Long accepted as an ambassador for the arts, Greater Augusta Arts Council Executive Director Brenda Durant has taken her familiar rap to the airwaves.

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Greater Augusta Arts Council executive director Brenda Durant records her Saturday morning radio show, about local art happenings, in North Augusta.  Annette M. Drowlette/Staff
Annette M. Drowlette/Staff
Greater Augusta Arts Council executive director Brenda Durant records her Saturday morning radio show, about local art happenings, in North Augusta.

Every Thursday, she collects a folder of notes, leaves her office at the Sacred Heart Cultural Center and drives to North Augusta. Stopping at the hilltop studios of Perry Broadcasting, she sequesters herself with her producer, Matt "Chillz" Fraser, and perhaps a guest or two and, putting on her very best radio voice, records a half-hour show for broadcast on Saturday morning.

"The radio voice," she said. "I agreed to do this without even thinking about it. But I started listening and noticed that everyone on the station has this smooth jazz voice."

During the first six minutes, she goes over events happening that weekend. The second segment is an interview or two with local arts personalities, and the show wraps with a look at events on the horizon.

"I've always wanted my own show," she said. "I've always wanted to be the next Oprah. I mean, I've talked to everyone who has ever owned a station cluster in Augusta, asking if there was a public access station, anything, anything at all I could do. I guess I have a love of microphones."

Ms. Durant admits that she dreams of the snowball effect, of the show becoming so popular that it usurps the Kenny G. broadcast that follows her on Saturday morning. But for now, she's happy that her labors are being accepted and appreciated.

"That's very surprising," she said. "I mean, it is a new station, and I really just come in and talk and don't really get any immediate feedback. So when someone tells me they love my voice or listen every Saturday, it is really nice. It's nice to know it isn't just my mother out there tuning in."

The show has aired since March and Ms. Durant admitted that there were lessons to learn before she became comfortable with her radio persona. She said her husband, Ed, offered her advice early in the run, pointing out, for instance, her tendency to "ummm" a bit too much. She said her entire family has been supportive and has laid down only a single rule.

"I'm not allowed to use the jazz voice around the house," she said with a laugh. "I have to save that for the radio."

Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or steven.uhles@augustachronicle.com.

ARTS WEEKLY

WHEN: 9:30 to 10 a.m. Saturdays

WHERE: Radio station WAEG-FM (92.3)

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