Radio Day

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 5, 2010

Batesville Civitan officers planning Saturday’s Radio Day broadcast on WBLE are (clockwise from lower left) treasurer Buddy Wilder, president Jimmy McCloud, vice president Fletcher Power and secretary Charles Cobb. Civitans will broadcast from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the club’s major fund-raising event. photo by John Howell

Who will nab sweet taters at Radio Day?

By John Howell Sr.
Saturday’s 30th annual Batesville Civitan Radio Day will include much ado about a bushel of sweet potatoes.

The live auction to sell to the highest bidder a bushel of Vardaman-grown sweet potatoes became a tradition years ago when the idea was introduced by Calhoun County native and longtime Panola County civic, education and church leader Joe B. Hartley.

On Saturday when members of the Civitan Club take over radio station WBLE, they will devote periods of the 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. broadcast to playing bidders against each other. The winning bidder will not only pay an inflated price for those revered tubers, he or she will earn bragging rights which have grown in value with each year’s auction.

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“It’s always been a good-time thing,” said Ricky Swindle, a Civitan member and founder of the Local Yokels Show which usually airs on the station Saturday mornings.

Proceeds from the sweet potato auction will be donated to Tim and Brook West, whose 10-month-old son, Bowen, has undergone extensive surgeries to correct an congenital orthopedic condition, Batesville Civitan President Jimmy McCloud said

“To date, they’re $23,000 out of pocket and he’s ten months old,”  McCloud told fellow members as they planned Saturday’s event.

“Every penny that comes off the sweet potatoes is going to go to that family,” McCloud said. The club will also accept donations designated for the West family.

Civitans are selling radio spots as well — $10 each, a $100 donation buys spots throughout the 10-hour broadcast, Swindle said. Other items from generous donors will also be auctioned. Club members are accepting reservations for spots today and will accept donations any time. Contact Swindle at 934-1235 or Glenn Adams at 563-7776.

The Radio Day is the Civitan’s primary fund raiser to make possible the club’s donations to the South Panola Child Development Center, the Birmingham Children’s Hospital and many other specific local needs that are brought to members’ attention. It also provides the seed money to launch the club’s annual sale of fruitcakes and to purchase and update cooking equipment that members use to prepare food sold at community events,

“Everything that the Civitan Club works off of comes from Radio Day,” Swindle said.