Reverend shows ' how people can bring meaning to life'
By SARAH GOODRICH, The Times West Virginian
FAIRMONT, W.Va. (AP) — If you have gone to a local government meeting, enjoyed entertainment at Palatine Park or stopped by the local Christmas Toy Shop, you’ve probably noticed a gentleman named Reverend D.D. Meighen filming, recording or interviewing people.
He is a one-man news program.
Meighen began his adoration for film in the 1960s when he bought his first recording equipment, a Norelco cassette tape recorder.
He would head to local ball games with the tape recorder and announce the action of the game.
Suffering from a stutter, announcing the games eventually helped mitigate his speech impediment.
“I thought how cool that was. So I thought I ought to do something where I might be able to announce and overcome my stuttering,” he said about one of the reasons why he began the path of new technology.
His uncle also added fuel to Meighen’s knack for recording and filming.
“My uncle was the head of the short-wave operators in West Virginia, short-wave or HAM radio operators,” he said. “And when I would go to his house, he would be talking on the HAM radio station to people all over the world.”
After watching his uncle announce news to viewers from all over, he was intrigued to follow suit.
“So I began to put two and two together and said, ‘Well, this can become a way also that not only can I deal with my problems, but I can also help others and provide information that could be very timely and helpful,'” explained Meighen.
He continued recording throughout seminary. In 1971, after serving at a church in Harrison County, he returned to Fairmont, where he was approached by Fairmont TV Cable.
“They had started a little public-access television station on the cable here in Fairmont,” he said. “But (the general manager) was wanting to get rid of all the equipment, and I had started some radio programs on the radio stations here, so he said, ‘Would you like to have some equipment and do some public programming on television?'”
Meighen agreed, despite the fact that he had never been in show business.
“He said, ‘Go ahead and do some programs, and I’ll run them for you,'” he explained.
Meighen and a group started a program called “The Church in Fairmont,” which was focused on people of faith. The program showed people in their everyday lives.
Childbirth classes, basketball programs, seasons of the year, home-repair programs and other activities were included as part of the program.
In 1986, he left the program and started an after-school program in Clarksburg that dealt with the educational system of Harrison County. He eventually handed it over to the school system because of its amount of resources.
Afterward, during 2001, he returned to Fairmont once again, but there was no-public access channel. He spoke to Time Warner Cable about developing a public-access channel. After several years of working with a group on the program, Meighen has been the sole operator of the local public-access channel for 10 years.
“In relation to that, I tried to cover programs in four different areas,” he said.
The four areas, or four “I’s,” are subjects aimed at different aspects of Marion County: information, entertainment (spelled with an “I”), infrastructure and inspiration. All of these topics generate what makes Marion County, Marion County.
You can catch Meighen filming at county commission meetings, city council meetings, equal-rights marches, church events, dedications of buildings, holiday events, Christmas toy drives and many other important or entertaining gatherings throughout the county.
“I think, for me, as a person and a retired preacher, it’s important to let the people know how faith operates in the world and how people are trying to bring value, purpose and meaning to life,” expressed Meighen.
Recently, Meighen started a live TV talk show in which he and a guest speak about the past, the present and the possibility for the future. The show appears at 7 p.m. every Sunday.
He has had guest appearances from the Marion County Chambers of Commerce’s Tina Shaw, West Virginia Delegates Mike Caputo and Guy Ward, CEO of Fairmont Regional Medical Center Peggy Coster, as well as a few others.
“We talk about events that have happened in the past week and events that are happening this week,” he stated.
Meighen provides knowledge to viewers about important topics that are occurring locally, statewide and nationally.
The experience with TV and radio has shaped Meighen to have a wide-range perspective on the world and individuals.
“It’s allowed me to meet a lot of people in a lot of different situations,” he added. “I’ve interviewed probably, casually over 2,500.”
Information from: Times West Virginian, http://www.timeswv.com