Health Matters Celebrates 600th Show
Morehead State Public Radio (WMKY, 90.3 FM) recently broadcasted the 600th episode of Health Matters, a medical radio show hosted by Dr. Anthony Weaver and Rick Phillips, and sponsored by the Northeast Kentucky Area Health Education Center. This milestone episode of Health Matters, aired July 18, presented an anthology of pathology, including tanning rates, sports injuries, bariatric surgery, and swimming safety.
Health Matters has been on the air for well over a decade and has undergone several format changes during that time. In 2003, Dr. Weaver, a long-time member of the St. Claire medical staff and associate dean of the University of Kentucky Rural Physician Leadership Program in Morehead, began hosting the show and initiated a major restructuring.
“I wanted to make the show more of a public health vehicle and try out some teaching techniques,” Weaver said. “At that time, most medical radio shows featured a know-it-all doctor taking phone calls and second-guessing the patient’s primary care provider. Some were driven by ego, and others were pushing specific products for profit. Dr. Greg Bausch, Rick Phillips, and I were heavily influenced by Car Talk, which was able to give advice while entertaining, was not an infomercial for products, and gave listeners insight into the host’s lives. We wanted to do the same for medicine.”
The first show in this format was recorded in February 2003, shortly after an ice storm had destroyed WMKY’s transmitter. The show was broadcast at 40 watts and show staff joked that they could have gotten a larger audience by yelling the show out the window.
Interesting and educational content coupled with influential guests have earned the show a respectable following over the years. Bausch and St. Claire colleague Dr. Kim Williams appeared regularly on the show for the first five years, with high-profile guests such as former Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher, former UK President Lee Todd, Morehead State University president Wayne Andrews, and “Kentucky Joe” from the reality show “Survivor” appearing occasionally. Also featured have been UK’s vice president for medical affairs and the deans of the University of Louisville School of Medicine and the University of Pikeville’s Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine.
“The show could not have reached our 600th milestone without the generous support of the Northeast Kentucky AHEC and the guidance of WMKY station manager Paul Hitchcock and news and information director Chuck Mraz,” Weaver said.
One of Weaver’s favorite shows, “A Musical Journey to Your Anus,” won the 2013 National Media Award from the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons for excellence in communicating a better understanding of colon and rectal disease. It featured such catchy tunes as "Oops the Colon’s Fragile It Gets Diverticulosis" and "Under the Cecum.” Other favorites include the “Manly Man” show with instructions on how to throw a hand grenade and research on lightning and barges striking bridges; a hilarious discussion with Jean Jones on lawnmower fires; a medical student describing her friends spraying themselves with bug spray and setting themselves on fire; and an absolutely awful Monty Python-esque (complete with horrible fake British accents) description of how tuberculosis was carried by dolphins to the New World.
Health Matters was recently renewed for another year, and airs on WMKY 90.3FM on Saturdays at 10 a.m. and Sundays at 6 a.m. You can also listen to the podcast anytime by visiting www.wmky.org/programs/health-matters.