Dr. Charles Bailey inducted into the West Virginia Broadcasting Hall of Fame

Walking the halls of WMUL’s broadcasting department speaks volumes about its accomplishments in radio. Numerous plaques and trophies line the walls. Each award on display represents a small portion of WMUL’s history, like chapters in a story—a story that cannot be told without the inclusion of Dr. Charles G. Bailey.
Bailey, faculty manager of WMUL-FM and professor of radio-television production and management, was inducted into the West Virginia Broadcasting Hall of Fame on Oct. 12. The ceremony represented the culmination of accomplishments spanning his 28-year career at Marshall University. However, Bailey’s interest in broadcasting began long before then.
“I grew up listening to radio,” Bailey said. “Back then, television was pretty much in its infancy. It was generic family fare, so if you wanted something specific you had to listen to radio. I have always been fascinated by radio.”
Bailey first came to Marshall as a student in the early 70’s. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1974.
After many years working in the coal industry, he returned to Marshall in 1983 to earn his Master of Arts degree. Even though his intention was to become a teacher, his career path took an alternate route.
“I started out as a graduate teacher. That summer, I had the highest teacher ratings in the department of speech. I was beyond thrilled. I was really looking forward to applying that to my career. Then, Dr. Johnson called me into her office and told me that she wanted me to be the graduate assistant station manager at WMUL. I thought I was being punished. Now all of a sudden, I wasn’t going to teach and that was the whole reason I came back.”
Despite his reservations, Bailey took the position. It wasn’t very long after taking the job that Dr. H. Keith Spears, the faculty manager at the time, became head of another department. The vacancy he left behind was filled by Bailey, a position he has held ever since.
At the time of his appointment in 1985, WMUL was a station with almost no budget, limited facilities and even more limited broadcast range. Since there was no organization in place to train students how to use the station equipment, Bailey decided to create a project that would facilitate that need.
“I had really high quality people, but the question was, how were we going to organize this station where we can take advantage of its opportunities? My first thought was that to train them, we had to do something productive, so we started working on a sports documentary.”
After a lot of hard work on the documentary, Bailey entered the program in the AP Awards. Even though none of the students believed they had the slightest chance of winning, that is exactly what happened.
“Based on the reaction at the table, you would have thought we won the Super Bowl,” Bailey said. “It was totally unexpected.”
That was how it began. Once the students realized what could be accomplished by a group of kids at a practically unknown college radio station, the desire has never faltered. Instead, it has filtered down through the generations. Over the last 28 years, Bailey and his students have collectively received more than 1, 300 individual awards in the field of broadcasting, many of which fill five trophy cases in the second floor hall of the communications building.
Some of Bailey’s most recent accomplishments include The John Marshall Award for Extraordinary Service to West Virginia Higher Education (2000) and The Lifetime Achievement Award from the West Virginia Associated Press Broadcasters Association (2007).
Despite the numerous awards and accolades Bailey has received in his career, his induction into the West Virginia Broadcasting Hall of Fame is arguably the most prestigious. For Bailey, the induction sparked a humbling realization.
“It became obvious at the induction that nobody gets here by themselves,” Bailey said. “Other people have to pour their time and effort into you for you to be successful. It really hit me at that moment, when I saw all those people, that every one of them played a role in getting me behind that podium. It’s very humbling when you realize that. It’s emotionally overwhelming.”
Among those people at the induction was public relations/online journalism major Amanda Reesman. Like many students, Reesman does not see Bailey simply as a teacher, but as an inspiration.
“It was great to be able to go to the induction because he is the reason I stay at Marshall,” Reesman said. “He’s been kind of like a grandfather to me. He cares about us and makes an effort to ensure we can achieve our goals here at Marshall.”
Also present at the ceremony was associate professor of journalism Dan Hollis. As a colleague, Hollis said Dr. Bailey’s induction was a notable distinction for college radio.
“It’s a unique honor for him, particularly because the West Virginia broadcasters have recognized the importance of a non-profit educational institution,” Hollis said. “That’s unusual in itself. The fact that they recognize Dr. Bailey for his contributions to broadcasting in the state from the base of a university station is just a tremendous honor for both him and WMUL.”
However, Bailey said the induction is less about his own accomplishments, and more about success of his students that reflect back on him, an important fact relayed in his speech at the induction ceremony.
“When students are motivated to learn, afforded adequate training, delivered concise instruction and provided an obtainable set of goals,” Bailey said, “their success is an anticipated result and not a surprising development.”


Local restaurant brings a taste of Italy to Huntington

Foreign recipes are like the passage of secrets in a game of Telephone: every whisper is slightly different from the last and when it returns to the person who started it, the meaning has changed. The recipe changes, too, in small steps—an extra dash of salt here, a tablespoon of oregano there—and before anyone realizes it, the dish bears only a passing resemblance to the original product.
There are exceptions, of course. At La Famiglia, you can walk inside knowing that the food you are about to eat uses authentic recipes and preparation methods. The restaurant’s owner, Ralph Hagy, wouldn’t have it any other way.
“My grandfather, Raffaele Ierardi, came to America when he was about 22 years old,” Hagy said. “He made several trips in the late 1890s to Williamson, West Virginia to work on the railroad. He finally brought the rest of the family over around 1912. My family, and most of the immigrants that came over, brought their traditions and recipes with them. Everything we cook here has been passed down from my grandparents to me and my family.”
Although Hagy has been eating traditional Italian food his entire life, the notion of owning a restaurant that serves such food did not occur until late in life.
“I spent about 30 years working in the mining and chemical industry,” Hagy said. “We started doing some catering in Williamson and once I retired, we moved down here and opened the restaurant in this space, which was once a house our sons lived in while going to Marshall. We started out as a deli but have since progressed into a full service restaurant.”
La Famiglia (“the family” in Italian) opened in October of 2011. Aside from its numerous deli meats, the restaurant serves pizza and mezzaluna sandwiches, both baked in a traditional wood fired oven. The menu also includes salads, antipasta, soup, pasta, pastries and gelato. All the restaurant’s ingredients are imported from Italy and New York City.
Many regular customers also frequent La Famiglia’s facebook page to view pictures of daily specials or read news and announcements. Additionally, the restaurant offers both on and off-site catering.
Aside from the food itself, Hagy said the atmosphere of the restaurant is intended to mirror the dining traditions of small town Italy.
“When you come in here, we want you to feel like you’re coming to mom’s or grandma’s house for dinner,” Hagy said. “It’s a relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere.”
La Famiglia is located at 1327 6th Ave. and offers a 10 percent discount to Marshall University students, faculty and alumni.

Purple Earth Comics a staple in the community

Twenty years ago, the notion that a comic book could be regarded as literature was barely even considered a valid claim, despite the groundbreaking works of industry giants like Alan Moore and Frank Miller. Things have changed a lot since then. What defines literature now is its content, not whether it’s framed in boxes and accompanied by drawings.

For twenty years, comic book enthusiasts were there to witness this change.

Purple Earth Comics was there too, and for the shop’s owner, John Horst, it was a realization that what started as a hobby, is now a way of life. People who collect comics love Purple Earth because its owner is a collector like them. His collection is just a lot bigger.

“I always knew I was a collector,” Horst said. “Its something that is in you or it isn’t. Something in your world sparks a desire to acquire more of a similar thing that you enjoy owning and assembling.”

Horst’s interest in comics came, as it did for many readers, at a young age, long before the idea of actually owning a store ever surfaced.

“I had to be around eight or nine.” Horst said. “My grandfather would buy comics for me because he was an avid collector of car parts which led him to yard sales, flea markets and the like. He would usually make my day when I couldn’t go with him and bring me back a handful or two of comics.”

After Horst graduated from Marshall University with a bachelors in psychology, he started on the path that led to becoming a business owner.

“Understanding early that I was going to have to work hard to make a living, I dug deep into the possible well of jobs in this state,” Horst said. “After graduating from Marshall, I came to the determination that I could pursue a position of helping people or I could put all the blood, sweat and tears I gave to other comic book shops into my own. Some days it reminds me how great it is to be alive and other it makes me want to run out screaming into the street. I take care of it all myself. I guess that’s why it’s called work.”

Purple Earth, located at 1121 Fourth Avenue, is hard to miss, just look for the purple building. Once inside, visitors might notice that while comics and graphic novels encompass a considerable portion of the store’s inventory, its products are not limited to books. It has a wide selection of pop culture items related to television, movies and video games. It also has several toys that, according to Horst, tie into a superhero, science fiction and fantasy aesthetic. However, don’t expect to see a lot of kids in there, if any. Many people are still under the impression that comics are primarily geared towards adolescents, when in fact, the opposite is true.

“Comics are continuing the trend of being more gritty and mature than ever before,” Horst said. “There are comics devoted to young readers, but not so much the mainstream books anymore. Comics, like pop culture itself, has always changed with the times we live in and reflect where we are and what entertained us at a given point.”

Before visitors even have the opportunity to browse, one things will become readily apparent: Even though the store has a loyal customer base, newcomers are always graciously welcomed.

“Aside from the New Comic discounts generally given, there are many advantages to becoming a regular, loyal customer,” Horst said. “I give away promo cards, comics, bookmarks and other collectibles all the the time to those I recognize.”

However, Purple Earth is not just some place to buy comics and collectibles. To many customers, it is something much more.

“In a nutshell, Purple Earth Comics is a sanctuary for those who like story,” Horst said. “It is a haven for anyone who has ever been seen as a geek or a nerd. It is an alternate earth that is your shade of entertainment. The real mother earth is stunning in its beauty and complexity. It is also overwhelming in its shocking seriousness. Purple Earth is a world far from the one we know.”