By Guy D’Astolfo
AKRON, Ohio – The power of rock ’n’ roll to inspire, encourage and motivate has been put to use by The Summit radio station for years with a goal of helping those battling addiction and mental health disorders.
With the COVID-19 pandemic making the situation posing a new challenge, the station is stepping up its efforts.
September is National Recovery Month and The Summit radio is marking it with an initiative to raise awareness and understanding. With several outreach measures, all based on rock music, it aims to reach those afflicted, and their families.
The Akron-based listener-supported rock station, broadcast in the Mahoning Valley at 90.7 FM, has long offered its nightly Rock and Recovery program to inspire and motivate those in recovery.
Rock and Recovery will continue each night from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., with music and a message of hope and encouragement, hosted by the station’s Garrett Hart.
But it is being augmented by a new website, RockAndRecovery.com, that compiles all of the station’s recovery tools in one place.
These include the Recovery Talks podcast hosted by Akron rocker Marc Lee Shannon, interviews with celebrities, artists and substance abuse experts with Hart and links to professional services.
Tommy Bruno, station manager, says he and his staff have gained a lot of knowledge about recovery in the decade since it started the program. The nightly radio show, he says, provides uplifting messages of hope and healing that are “an incredibly valuable ingredient within Rock and Recovery.” But the music is the core of the show, Bruno says.
“The music… can be completely abstract, perhaps on in the background,” he says. “But at other times, it can be profoundly emotional, lending an inner strength for getting through that difficult evening or morning.”
Bruno says that music “produces feelings of our innermost being, bringing one to tears, or inspiring another to call a friend, or even perhaps to get up and get moving.”
Throughout September, The Summit will shine a spotlight on the region’s mental health and recovery community through daily on-air interviews with Brad Savage, the station’s program director. The segments will air weekdays during the 4 p.m. hour.
The COVID-19 pandemic has dominated the news this year, and the addiction epidemic has only gotten worse because of the isolation and hardship it has brought.
At the beginning of the year, the Rock and Recovery Community Advisory Board was formed, uniting musicians, artists, physicians, mental health professionals, addiction specialists, educators and community leaders. It meets regularly to exchange ideas on how to serve the community.
The station is also airing songs and stories of recovery by national and regional musicians through its weekly Facebook Live streaming concerts every Wednesday at 1 p.m.
Rock and Recovery was launched in 2011 as a way for The Summit to fulfill its mission as a non-profit public radio station.
“We wanted to do something positive that also spoke to the history and culture of our hometown, as the birthplace of modern recovery,” says evening show host Hart, referring to Alcoholics Anonymous, which was founded in Akron in 1935. Hart is credited with founding Rock and Recovery.
“Our goal is simple – to offer a supportive, healing tool for health care professionals and those in recovery, first in our own community, and to be shared globally,” says Bruno, the station’s general manager.
Rock and Recovery has been recognized locally and nationally for its innovative programming, receiving the Dr. Bob Smith Award from the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board of Summit County, the Margaret Clark Morgan Impact Award for innovation in community service, and numerous other health and human service impact awards.
Pictured: Garrett Hart, who hosts the nightly Rock & Recovery show on The Summit radio, center, poses with program volunteers.
Copyright 2020 AfterHoursYoungstown.com, Youngstown, Ohio.
Posted Sept. 2, 2020.