Date:   Mon., March 22, 2010  

By:  Manny P. Hernandez, Manager, Public Information


“Old Time Radio Hour” Alive and Well in Polk!


Bob Carmichael


WINTER HAVEN - - Cornerstone Hospice star volunteers Bob Carmichael and his wife Virginia are committed to their “Old Time Radio Hour” which they present to the non-profit organization’s patients and to seniors at retirement communities and nursing homes throughout Polk county, serving as advocates and ambassadors for volunteerism in general and for Cornerstone Hospice in particular, while bringing to audiences fond memories of an era when the entire family sat by the radio in the evenings… Yes, there was an era before television!


Volunteers on a Mission Bring to Life Radio Memories of a Bygone Era

Carmichael has had a fascination for over a dozen years with what is known as “Old Time Radio”, the radio programs still remembered by those old enough to remember from that bygone era before television and he is on a mission to relieve these memories for patients facing a serious illness. There were dramatic broadcasts such as “The Shadow Knows”, “The War of the Worlds” and “The Lone Ranger”. Relying only on the listener’s auditory senses, Carmichael presents comedy programs such as “Fibber McGee and Molly”, “The Great Gildersleeve”, “The Red Skelton Show” and “ The Jack Benny Radio Show” of which Bob has approximately 900 episodes, not to mention the musical broadcasts of The Big Band Era.


From the less than two hundred square foot studio which Bob added to their home, he can fulfill just about any request for vocalists from Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin to Mario Lanza, from Jo Stafford to Billie Holiday, and, should the prevailing political winds currently blowing around have awakened your interests in politics, he can supply the very first presidential election results ever broadcast! From his studio, Carmichael utilizes the thousands of CDs, 8-Tracks, cassette tapes and recordings of all sizes from sixteen and one-thirds to seventy-eights. He once created a CD of thirty “Rose” songs for a lady named Rose!


“Volunteers are an important, priceless resource for non-profit Cornerstone Hospice with their services running the gamut from helping to feed patients at their home or nursing homes to assisting with clerical work in the office. Volunteers mow lawns, change light bulbs and hang pictures” indicated Lisa Gray, manager of volunteer services for Cornerstone Hospice, adding that “many donate their time so that patients’ caregivers may have a  moment of respite from the often taxing duties of caring for their loved ones, moments for grocery shopping, keep  a doctor’s appointment or simply have a few minutes to recover from the stress and strains of the tasks performed for their loved ones twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week”.


Sherry DiSimone, volunteer specialist, pointed out that “after a couple of presentations to Alzheimer’s patients whose common thread is silence and the impairment of memory, more than one patient remembered ‘the radio people’, looking forward to their next visit.” DiSimone added: “Bob and Virginia utilize their skills and talents to reach out to a group of patients in desperate need of contact and do so with the compassion and care associated with hospice care.


Anyone desiring to donate old records (any size) eight-track tapes, CDs or any other type of media device for Bob and Virginia’s programs, or if you may be considering servicing your community as a volunteer, please call Cornerstone Hospice volunteer specialist DiSimone at (863)291-5560.