“Good afternoon and welcome to ‘TalkBack Live’ from downtown Aiken!”
With that announcement, host Ed Girardeau introduced ASTV’s newest show, which focuses on the people of Aiken County, what they’re doing and what they’re talking about.
“TalkBack Live” made its debut at noon on Thursday on ASTV Channel 95 on Atlantic Broadband and on the Internet at www.aikenstandard.tv.
Elliott Levy, executive director of the Aiken County Historical Museum, was the show’s first guest. Since it was Valentine’s Day, he discussed Aiken’s prominent women and some of their romances.
Sara Williams played an important role in the founding of Aiken.
“The reason we have Aiken is because the railroad went through here,” Levy said. “And she was the lady that made it happen.”
Railroad surveyor Alfred Andrew Dexter fell in love with Sara. Her father, William W. Williams, wanted a train to be able to travel close to his fields so he could ship cotton quickly and inexpensively to Charleston. He told Dexter: “No railroad for me, no Sara for you.”
The railroad was completed in October 1883, and Dexter married Sara in January 1834, Levy said. Aiken was incorporated in 1835.
Other prominent Aiken women mentioned by Levy included Eulalie Salley and Ola Hitt. Salley was involved in the women’s suffrage movement. Levy showed a photograph of her leading a suffragist parade in January 1917. Hitt, 102, opened her home to disabled war veterans, providing comfortable rooms, meals and a sense of belonging.
“She took them on field trips,” Levy said. “She didn’t take them just to Augusta, Ga., and Columbia, S.C. She took them to Alaska, and she took them to South America.”
Levy will appear weekly on “TalkBack Live.”
“Something like this is overdue,” he said. “When I give talks at different places and to different groups, I find that, wow, people who have lived here all their lives don’t know some of the facts about what has gone on here. This is a very unique area, and it has a great history. For people who have not crossed the threshold of the museum, they will be able to turn on the TV and find out about all this interesting stuff.”
The second guest on “TalkBack Live” was Craig Dougherty, who owns High Country Olive Oil in partnership with Robert Thrift. Their store is located in the historic Holley Building next to the temporary studio of “TalkBack Live.”
Dougherty discussed chocolate, which High Country sells in addition to extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars.
“A little bit of chocolate every day is actually good for you,” he said.
“TalkBack Live” will air four days a week – Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays – at noon.
“I want this show to have people who are young, people who are old and everything in between,” said Girardeau when asked about plans for the show. “I want to talk to people from all walks of life.”
Visitors to the “TalkBack Live” set are welcome during broadcasts.
In about a month, “TalkBack Live” will move from the Holley Building, 115 Laurens St. S.W., to Studio A in ASTV and TootSuite’s new office on Richland Avenue.
TootSuite is the marketing arm of Aiken Communications, which owns the Aiken Standard.
If you tell Ed Girardeau he’s a jack of all trades, master of none, he won’t be insulted. In fact, those are the words he uses to describe himself.“I have a lot of different interests,” he said. “I would get bored if I did just one thing.”Giradeau, 52, is the communications specialist for TootSuite, the marketing division of Aiken Communications. In addition to serving as the host of the new ASTV program “TalkBack Live,” he is the co-host of another ASTV show, “On the Sports Front.” He also is the play-by-play announcer for ASTV’s “Game of the Week.”But that’s not all. The Aiken resident is a real estate appraiser and the co-owner of Vintage Studios. He is the play-by-play announcer for USC Aiken baseball on WKSX-FM (92.7), based in Johnston. He works as disc jockey at wedding receptions and parties and is one of the teachers for the confirmation class for sixth-graders at First Presbyterian Church.Girardeau graduated from the University of South Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism.