New radio show explores ‘middle ground’ among community members
The idea for the new radio show, “Common Ground”, arose out of conversations David Ayres had in his office with Flagler County NAACP President Shelley Ragsdale.
Ayres, vice president and general manager of Flagler Broadcasting, said he and Ragsdale discussed why Americans are polarized by race and politics in the national media. They discussed some of their own racial prejudices.
Finally, Ayres asked Ragsdale if he wanted to host his own radio show.
âHe said, ‘How would you like to have the same dialogue that we have with some people in the community? “” Ragsdale recalls.
âWe all have common ground. We go to church and pray to God. We wake up in the morning and watch a beautiful sun. “
He accepted. The show debuts on WNZF, 94.9 FM and 1550 AM on Sunday, September 5 at 10 a.m.
Instead of the differences between people, Common Ground focuses on what people in the community have in common.
âWe all have common ground. We want to be at peace and benefit from each other, âRagsdale said. âWe go to church and pray to God. We wake up in the morning and watch a beautiful sun. We work, we eat, we go to the beach.
Ragsdale interviews two guests on each show. The shows are one hour long, divided into 30 minute episodes.
âIt’s an open mic concept,â Ragsdale said. âI don’t ask them pre-planned questions. I have no pre-planned questions.
The first show focuses on the faith with two local religious leaders – Rev. Bob Goolsby, the chief pastor of St. Thomas Episcopal Church, and Rabbi Merrill Shapiro.
At the start of the show, Ragsdale finds out that Goolsby and Shapiro are teaching a weekly Jewish / Christian Bible study together.
“The common ground I feel when people are drawn to this study is people’s desire to learn and discern the presence and role of God in their lives, whether they are Christians, Jews or not,” Goolsby said.
The second show covers entertainment, culture, the arts, music and sports, said Ayres, who is the producer of Common Ground. Ragsdale’s guests are local jazz singer Linda Cole and WNZF morning sports presenter Trent Ferguson.
Cole, a niece of Nat King Cole, grew up as a member of the “Singing Cole Family”. She talks about going on the road, singing in front of white people and not being able to use the toilet there.
âShe has no grudges against people,â Ayres said.
Ferguson, 23, who is also a drummer in a band, has been blind his entire life. He doesn’t know what color is and wondered when he was a kid when he heard adults talk about a black person, “Why is a person’s color important?”
The third show, which has yet to be taped, will focus on family and home, Ayres said.
âEvery family needs a home, a certain stability,â Ayres said.
Ragsdale, who has lived in Palm Coast since 2013, is in the middle of his two-year tenure as president of the local branch of the NAACP. He is also a member of the Executive Committee of the African American Mentorship Program at Flagler Schools and is an active mentor in the program.
âAs a person of color, I usually don’t have a voice on a radio station,â Ragsdale said. âWhen I speak on the radio, it’s an opportunity for people to hear a different point of view.
Ayres said the most compelling radio shows aren’t those hosted by professional radio personalities.
âThe best radios are real people, not someone with a polished presentation,â Ayres said. âShelley is just natural with her curiosity and conversation. If you can hear the compassion and sincerity in someone’s voice, I think that’s what makes good radio.