Each week, Doug Rye dons his headphones and hits the airwaves to promote energy efficiency. Known as the "King of Caulk and Talk," he provides tips to help callers to his "Home Remedies" show lower their energy bills. During the program, he answers questions from listeners across the country. He also shares his expertise at energy seminars across the country and in a monthly column in Arkansas Living Magazine, the official publication for members of Arkansas' electric cooperatives.
Promoting energy efficiency is Doug's true calling, but it took some time for him to discover that niche. When he graduated from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville with a degree in architecture and began his career in 1968 at the Farmers Home Administration (FmHA), he knew nothing about energy efficiency. But that later changed when the Arab oil embargo placed a stranglehold on the nation, creating long lines at gas pumps and sending electric rates skyrocketing. It was then that he was assigned to find ways to help low-income families lower their soaring electric bills.
"We had people in Arkansas who lost their homes during the oil embargo because they could not pay their bills," he recalls.
To learn more about energy efficiency, Doug read everything he could find on the topic. He then began conducting seminars, many of which were sponsored by the state's electric cooperatives, for builders within the state. In the 1980s, interest in energy efficiency waned, but Doug kept plugging along at FmHA, overseeing the construction of energy-efficient housing for low- and moderate-income families and senior citizens. In 1991, Doug decided to leave his job to pursue his dream of hosting a radio show where he could promote energy efficiency. Later that year, his dream came true when he landed his own show on a Little Rock radio station. It turned out to be a major success and today, "Home Remedies" is aired on radio stations in several states.
In addition, Doug has teamed up with the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas to construct model homes using his building techniques. Doug also hosts energy seminars throughout the state and across the country and writes a monthly column on energy efficiency for Arkansas Living Magazine. In addition, the self-proclaimed "energy nut" spends a lot of time on the phone, answering questions from his home office in Saline County, Arkansas.