Renee Wilde

Community Voices Producer

Renee Wilde tumbled into public radio - following a career path that has been full of creative adventures and community service. After graduating from the Ohio State University with a fine arts degree in photography - she served as the Exhibitions Coordinator for several Columbus art galleries and the Columbus Art League, while simultaneously slinging food and booze  - memorably dropping a glass of orange juice on Johnny Rotten’s bare feet when he answered the hotel room door in just his skivvies (his response, “would shit be the appropriate word?”).

Renee moved on to create the first recycling program for the arts in the midwest in Columbus, Ohio -  based on similar programs in New York and LA - where artists, galleries, non-profit arts organizations, and public art teachers could shop in a warehouse filled with free discarded materials from local businesses. From there Renee went on to develop a city-wide urban beautification program for Columbus, creating seasonal and year-round botanical displays in street containers, hanging baskets and pocket parks along downtown streets.

After leaving the city for rural life on a small farm, Renee heard about the Community Voices program on her local public radio station. She was accepted into the program (class of 2013) and at the age of 49, started another career adventure when she became hooked on audio storytelling. Renee produced 23 stories on her own, co-produced an award winning series, and provided a weekly community on-air spot all as an unpaid producer before the station developed a fund for freelance reporters.

As a station volunteer, she taught storytelling at a women’s prison with WYSO’s former News Director, Lewis Wallace. Renee combined the stories from the incarcerated women into her very first attempt at an hour-long documentary, which won first place for best long form documentary in 2017 by the Public Radio News Directors, Inc.

Renee also had the top highest ranking stories on WYSO.org in 2017 with two pieces she produced for YSO Curious -which is based on the Hearken Model where listeners ask questions and producers find the answers.

Her stories have been bought by the NPR news programs All Things Considered and Morning Edition, Harvest Public Media, 51%, WAMC’s Northeast Public radio, WABE in Atlanta, Georgia, KSJD in Cortez, Colorado and WOUB in Athen’s, Ohio

Renee now helms County Lines for WYSO - a series that takes listeners into the small towns and rural communities of Ohio - which is also available through Ohio Public Radio and the NPR ONE app.

The first Madonna of the Trail monument along the National Road in Springfield was dedicated in 1928.
Renee Wilde / WYSO

In 1806, Congress authorized federal funding for a road that would connect Cumberland, Maryland west to the Ohio Territories, opening up westward expansion for the country. The National Road, as it was eventually called, became the first Federally funded, and paved, highway in the U.S.

The annual light display draws hundreds of visitors every night from all over the tri-state area, running every night through New Year's Eve.
Renee Wilde / WYSO

For many people across the Miami Valley, the holidays aren’t complete without a visit to the Historic Clifton Mill light-show. Clifton Mill’s annual Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill event attracts thousands of visitors to the tiny town of Clifton, south of Springfield. And this year, it included an appearance by Republican Attorney General and Governor-Elect Mike DeWine. 

The weather was beautiful for Clifton Mill’s opening night, held this year on the day after Thanksgiving.

A Silver Laced Wyandott Bantam shown by Jack, a 14 year old competitor from Cincinnati
Renee Wilde / WYSO

It’s that time of year when Turkeys take center stage in the homes, and on the tables, of Americans across the country. On the second weekend of November in Ohio, it’s not just the Turkey’s that are on display.  Snowy Call Ducks, Peach Splash Pheasants, Silver Laced Wyandottes and many other heirloom and exotic fowl take center stage at the Ohio National Poultry Show held in Columbus.

a black squirrel sits on a fence
Renee Wilde / WYSO

Many Ohioans are familiar with black squirrels thanks to the large population on the campus of Kent State University. They are the descendants of ten squirrels brought there from Canada in 1961 by the head groundskeeper. But, in Greene County, Ohio, we host a large a population of these rare black squirrels

On this episode of County Lines, producer Renee Wilde goes looking for squirrels. 

vote election voters
elycefeliz / Flickr/Creative Commons

With the midterm elections just a couple weeks away, WYSO producers have been out talking to would-be voters around the Miami Valley. We wanted to know how people are feeling about the elections, and how they plan to vote in November.

Today, we hear from some rural Ohioans recorded at a recent antique tractor and farm-equipment show at the Greene County Fairgrounds in Xenia, where many people expressed strong support for the Republican party and the Trump administration.

Many we spoke to also expressed frustration about the country’s current political climate. 

The 1901 Wallace Family House barn, where the diary was found
Richard Fox for the Clark County Bicentennial tour / WYSO

This year, Clark County celebrates its bicentennial. But some of the county’s farms are even older than that. In fact, Clark County is home to seven farms that are more than 200 years old.

In this story, we visit one these original homesteads: The Wallace Family Farm in Medway, where Wallace descendants have saved generations of personal family records. And today the meticulous archives offer a unique window into Clark County and American history.

The Greene County Fairgrounds, where many people recently expressed support for the Trump administration ahead of November's midterm elections
Renee Wilde / WYSO

With the midterm elections just a few weeks away, WYSO producers have been out talking to would-be voters around the Miami Valley. We wanted to know how people are feeling about the elections, and how they plan to vote in November.

Today, we hear from some rural Ohioans recorded at a recent antique tractor and farm-equipment show at the Greene County Fairgrounds in Xenia. That's where some people we spoke to expressed ambivalence about the country’s two-party political system.  

Greene County man: I don’t even know what the elections are for. 

Only 48 of the Kavanaugh Wildlife Farm's 84 total arces are culivated.
Renee Wilde / WYSO

On a farm in Greene County’s agricultural countryside, the shared vision of a pair of retired school teachers is changing back the landscape, by creating a welcome habitat for both agriculture and nature.

Today on County Lines, Producer Renee Wilde takes a horse drawn wagon ride through a Jamestown farm, that lifetime resident Eugene Kavanagh and his wife Dorothy bought for their local community.

Danny Jones, Dale Friesen, and Ed Hill with a field of Turkey Red Wheat behind them.
courtesy of Dorothy Lane Market

During the early 1800s, wheat production made Ohio one of the leading grain-growing states in the U.S. As prairie land was settled and major wheat growing moved westward, the grain became less important to the state’s agricultural economy. Corn and soybeans became the staple of farming, and now wheat fields are few and far between in the Ohio countryside.

Barn artist Scott Hagan works on a barn at the Allen County Farm Park in Allen County, outside Lima.
Renee Wilde / WYSO

In the late eighteen hundreds a group of six men were hired by Wheeling, West Virginia brothers Aaron and Samuel Bloch to advertise their tobacco product. Those men, who called themselves barn massagers, wall dogs and barn lizards, painted tobacco signs on barns located along busy roads in rural Ohio and West Virginia, which started a Nationwide trend for barn advertising.