BOARDMAN – Not that Mike Wise is against talking about himself. He just really wants everyone to know about the Goodwill Radio Reading Service in Youngstown, where he has been a manager for 25 years.
But it will give more details when pressed. Muder, 48, grew up in Hubbard and graduated from Hubbard High School in 1991. He and his 15-year-old wife, Dawn-Elaine, live in Boardman. Down-Elaine works in NovaCare’s office, which offers physiotherapy and other types of rehabilitation.
Muder has a musical hobby. He can play guitar, drums and bass and likes to jam with a friend, but he also writes his own songs. He describes himself as “a competent musician who can understand things.” He loves to record as he can control all aspects of the final product.
He is a fan of Pirates and Steelers, which is largely due to the origins of his parents in Western Pennsylvania. His great-grandfather always held the same place in Forbes Field, home of pirates until 1970, and was friends with legendary speaker Bob Prince. His brother Craig is the director of communications at the Baseball Hall of Fame.
He said Craig had met most of the newcomers from the past 14 years and was no longer defeated, but simply saw them as normal people.
Muder first became involved with Radio Reading in 1995 during an internship as part of his telecommunications major at Youngstown State University. He liked the idea of doing an internship at Radio Reading because “they allow you to touch on all aspects of the job” instead of being stuck in one area.
After graduating from YSU, he worked at WBZY in New Castle as a DJ for vintage format. Given the logistics at the time of changing cassettes by hand, he regularly released Don MacLean’s American Pie because of his eight-and-a-half-hour run time.
In 1997, he returned to Goodwill as chief broadcasting technician, working with Mike Bosela. He sees Bosela as a mentor who taught him “how to do things right” and “appreciate what you have.”
Bosela retires in 2018, but returns to work one day a week. Bosela and Muder also teamed up to form a support group for the blind community. It meets on the third Thursday of each month at 10 a.m. at Goodwill’s 2747 Belmont Ave. in Liberty.
Muder describes his job as a happy turn of events, as he did not plan a career in a non-profit agency.
“It simply came to my notice then. “I do audio production and radio and I can help people,” Muder said.
He often makes home deliveries to special radio stations that capture WYSU’s sidebar. This allows him to visualize his audience.
“You’ll never see your listeners on a typical radio.” He knows that Radio Reading helps reduce feelings of isolation, not only because of the daily broadcast of The Vindicator and the Tribune Chronicle, but also because listeners connect with readers.
He notes that changes have taken place in the last five years, and especially since March 2020. Before COVID-19, volunteers came to Goodwill to read and were suddenly not allowed in the studio. Muder had to develop workarounds, including teaching everyone how to read remotely. People are finally welcome to return, but now computer applications provide the opportunity to stay at home.
Muder emphasizes the importance of continuing to develop technology. He said he was excited that people could hear the broadcast via Amazon Alexa, as well as a platform called TuneIn that allows people to access Radio Reading on Google through their iPhones.
But he said his favorite part of the job is working with people. He always pays tribute to the volunteers.
“They make 99 percent of the programming. “Without them, we don’t exist,” Muder said.
And he likes to talk about those who preceded him. Radio Reading started in 1976 as part of the Society for the Blind and came to Goodwill in 1992, so they recently celebrated both the 45th and 30th anniversaries.
“So many people before me have done so much work to bring Radio Reading to where it is that I want to continue this legacy,” Muder said.