Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Monday Night Live: Every voice matters to community TV host

by Zinta Aistars
Published in ENCORE magazine
Kalamazoo, Michigan
December 2013 Issue

Keith Roe (Photo by Erik Holladay)
He wants to hear your voice. Whatever you have to say, whatever your viewpoint or political stance, whatever your cause—if you are working to better your community, Keith Roe wants to hear your story on Monday Night Live.

The story of Monday Night Live begins in 1991, under the original name of My World Today. The host for the community television show then was Jim Amos, a retired Western Michigan University professor.

The host today is Keith Roe—but his story begins a long distance from the tiny television studio at 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, where a group of four on the third floor of The Epic Building bring the show alive every Monday at 7 p.m. and broadcast it on channel 96, with reruns of the week’s show on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 7 p.m. on channel 97, and again on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. on channel 97. Keith Roe is there like clockwork, along with his television crew of Anthony Arent, William Lindemann and Roger Pacific.

Roe’s story begins in the small town of Wakefield, in the district of West Yorkshire, England. His British accent and genteel manner belie his roots.

“It was a small, industrial city, and we lived in a Victorian cottage,” Roe says. “My father was a steam locomotive engineer, what people then called the respectable working class. In the 1930s, that was an important distinction.”

The Bible, says Roe, was the most important family possession in the house, and his father sometimes preached on a Sunday. “That earned us a respectable air. I was the only child, and my mother nearly died when I was born at 7 months, four and a half pounds, and 27 days in intensive care.”

Roe’s mind works that way: details stick, history intrigues, intellect hungers for more. Coddled and spoiled, he says with an arched brow about his childhood, but then tells of household chores of cleaning windows at age 7. He recalls a world of post-war Britain, bankrupt and showing the scars of war, but education was free, as was health care. These are points that to this day stick in his mind, if not his craw, and make it to the airways on Monday Night Live on occasion, as well as to the discussion groups he so enjoys.

Roe studied physiotherapy at the West London School of Physiotherapy, manipulative medicine at St. Thomas’s Hospital London, and hydrotherapy at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases Bath. Overseas in Kalamazoo, The Upjohn Company, predecessor of today’s Pfizer, found Roe and employed him at their United Kingdom subsidiary in 1959. In 1980, married and with a family, he moved to Kalamazoo to help develop a worldwide strategy for ...

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