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Radio show to commemorate space heroes

Sophomore Kara Parks and freshman Matthew Culver sit in the studio where they host “Houndstooth and Hard Hats," an engineering-themed radio show that airs every Friday from 3 to 5 p.m. CW | Pete Pajor

Drew Pendleton

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Hosted by Matthew Culver, a freshman majoring in aerospace engineering, and Kara Parks, a sophomore majoring in metallurgical engineering, “Houndstooth and Hardhats” is an engineering-themed radio show that airs every Friday from 3 to 5 p.m.

This week’s show is dedicated to remembering the lives of the 17 astronauts who died on the Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia missions, which all occurred this week over the span of several years – 1967, 1983 and 2003, respectively.

“It’s the anniversary of all three [accidents] this week; plus it fit well in the calendar,” Culver said.

The broadcast will feature interviews with Mark Mayfield, the associate director of the Office of Student Media at the University, who witnessed the Challenger explosion, and former NASA astronaut Walter Cunningham. Walter was a personal friend of the astronauts lost in the 1967 Apollo 1 fire and went into space on the first manned mission 
following Apollo 1, Culver said.

Culver said Cunningham has appeared on the show before.

“He’s an interesting fellow,” he said. “He’s very opinionated. Outside of being starstruck when I talked to him before, he made sure that we were having a conversation rather than an interview.”

Parks said the interview with Cunningham and Mayfield will bring a new element to the show’s 
usual programming.

“We’re trying to reach a wide variety of people,” Parks said. “This is something you always have to freshen up with new looks and new stories, so you have to keep making new progress and get new interviews.”

Culver and Parks said Friday’s show will bring a piece of history to the program and provide a rare opportunity 
for listeners.

“The Apollo astronauts are dying,” Culver said. “There are so many modern implications that are direct results of the Apollo mission, so it’s really cool when you hear about it from the people who were actually there and actually 
did it.”

“Houndstooth and Hardhats” is a recent addition to the station schedule, having aired for the first time last fall. The program attempts to appeal to a broad variety of people, including University-affiliated teams, engineering faculty, the student body and industry professionals, Culver said.

Seth Juneac, a senior majoring in telecommunication and film and the WVUA-FM station manager, said the program is part of the station’s development of talk shows to go along with its music programming.

“It’s the first show of its kind on 90.7,” Juneac said. “In terms of standing alone, it serves its purpose. It kind of starts in our own community, and this is our next step: giving future industry professionals a chance to provide something for their future.”

Parks said the broadcast with Cunningham brings a personal element to the idea of space travel.

“Every person involved in [the Apollo missions] had a different reaction,” Parks said. “Some wish they would have stepped on the moon, some were very clean-cut, and some of them would get in trouble. It’s a more personal element to something that can seem far-fetched to the regular person.”

Juneac said after the show was successful during a trial period earlier in the year, it responded by delivering a large amount of content for the station.

“In the radio world, we love content,” Juneac said. “We’ve got high profile people who are being broadcast over our airwaves – famous people who may not be on otherwise.”

WVUA-FM will air the special NASA memorial week episode of “Houndstooth and Hardhats” Friday, from 3 to 5 p.m. on 90.7 FM.

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Radio show to commemorate space heroes