Discovering Delta: The Radio Kit

Discovering Delta: The Radio Kit

By Cameron Deckman

The quiet man walks into his classroom.

He doesn’t have to do much to set up for the day, maybe make sure the chairs are where they need to be.

His name is Richard Cooper. He is 83 years old and has done many jobs throughout his life.

Cooper, an only child, did what normal boys did at the time. Playing cowboys and Indians, riding bikes, skiing in the winter and building snow forts.

However, he had something in his garage that the other boys didn’t. It was a radio kit from Radio Shack. 

Because he had the radio kit growing up, he made his own primitive radio station in his garage. He found it interesting, and it would drive his neighbors nuts. It became his true passion in life.

Because he went to college at the University of Vermont, he was able to do something he always found interesting. He majored in speech and had a minor in political science. He went back to school four years after college and got another Post-Bacc degree, and got a certificate in education. During college, he was told that he should focus on one thing instead of multiple activities because the school work was harder.

Mr. Cooper works at his desk. (Photo taken by Cameron Deckman)

“I had been in the band and I didn’t want to get involved (in that), but they had this radio station so I was going to make a beeline for that,” he said.

Because he had aspirations to be a radio announcer, he started working at a radio station in Burlington, Vt., his freshman year of college. He did mostly off air work in the production part of radio. He spent 31 years in radio and television, working at six radio stations and two television stations.

Because he lived in Burlington, Vt., in 1972, he met a woman named Marsha. Only five months after meeting for the first time, they got married in May 1972. Marsha was a travel agent and had been all over the country for her work.

Because she had worked all over the country, she wanted to go back home to Albany, Ind. In 1979, they moved from Burlington, Vt., to Albany, Ind, so Marsha could be closer to her family.

“I was kind of nuts because there aren’t any hills around here, but I liked it and the people here are good,” he says.

Because he had experience in the broadcasting industry, he decided to work at WLBC. He worked at WLBC for 11 years from June 1979 to June 1990. He left the broadcasting industry after working at WLBC.

Because he thinks that “the longer I keep going, the longer I will keep going,” he never planned for retirement. He wanted to find a new job. Marsha originally started a travel agency company for somebody else, but eventually she bought the company herself. Cooper worked for Marsha in her own travel agency in Muncie. He would drive people from the airport, to the airport and around Muncie.

Because he got his certificate in education during his post-baccalaureate  program and he wanted to do something new, he decided to work for Marsha and substitute teach in schools at the same time. He substituted at schools around Muncie for 14 years.

Because he had been a substitute teacher for so long, the former superintendent at Delta High School, Reece Mann, knew of him. Delta High School needed some alternative school teachers. He was suggested by Mann to principal Chris Conley. 

Mr. Cooper watching his students in the Delta Learning Center. (Photo by Cameron Deckman)

Because he got a full time job as a study hall and alternative school teacher,he has fun helping the students and he encourages students to push their limits.

He found his second passion.

“Days here can be stressful, they can be frustrating, but they are never boring. There’s always something new going on,” he says.

November 3, 2023

About Author

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Cameron Deckman Cameron Deckman is a sophomore at Delta High School. He enjoys running, but always forgets his water bottle. He has crazy shin problems and after every run can be seen limping. He drinks black coffee like an old man. He plays baseball, too, and his favorite team is the Cincinnati Reds. DE LA CRUZ ON TOP!


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