Extension Master Gardeners blaze virtual trail with radio show

The first radio show in the nation to be produced solely by Cooperative Extension Master Gardener volunteers celebrates its one-year anniversary this month. The show, produced by Durham County, North Carolina, Master Gardeners, airs live at 2 pm each Tuesday on WCOM-FM and is available online at http://gettingdirtyradioshow.org/.

Extension Horticulture Agent Michelle Wallace supervises the “Getting Dirty with Master Gardeners” show, but all of the recording, audio engineering, website management, photography, social media and promotion is done entirely by her Master Gardeners.

“We have an amazing group of volunteers in our county, and they are always looking for new ways to teach people about gardening,” Wallace said.

In January, the show expanded their format to include weekly podcasts of their episodes, said Dr. Lise Jenkins, the show’s producer. “We are thrilled people can now find our stories on iTunes,” she said. “Podcasting allows listeners to subscribe to the show and receive automatic updates that can be heard on a computer, tablet or smartphone.”

The show focuses on bringing to gardeners stories about the intersection of horticulture and innovation and the people who are leading the way.

“One of the reasons I like working on the show is it gives me an opportunity to meet and interview people who are contributing to the public’s education and enjoyment of gardens and gardening,” said Harold Johnson, the show’s host.

While the show began in Durham County, surrounding counties are beginning to participate with agents and Master Gardeners being interviewed and serving as correspondents.

Dr. Lucy Bradley, associate professor of horticultural science and urban horticulture Extension specialist at NC State University, wants to involve Master Gardeners from across the state.

“We have Master Gardeners all over North Carolina who are enthusiastic educators and want to help their communities,” Bradley says. “Using radio and podcasting is another way to reach out to the people of our state.”

— Contributed by Dr. Lise Jenkins