After 40+ years on the radio, I have decided to hang up my headphones and retire. I truly didn’t think I’d be as emotional about it as I am because I’m ready, but at the same time, I’m letting go of a career that I have loved. How lucky am I that I get to finish my career after eleven years at an amazing radio station, K103. I’m thankful to get to do it on my terms, and grateful for all the wonderful people I’ve met, worked with, and become life-long friends with because of it. Above all, I’m thankful for the listeners, YOU are the biggest reason I have loved this work so much!
Being on the radio was never my intention when I graduated from PSU in 1976. I tried getting into pharmaceutical sales, thinking it would be lucrative and interesting, and because I thought I’d be good at it since my parents were pharmacists and I grew up working at our neighborhood drug store in North Portland. But after turning down three incredibly good offers, one including a new Cutlass Supreme, I realized it wasn’t for me, my heart wasn’t in it.
A little seed had been planted by the late Les Sarnoff, who at the time, was a part-time disc jockey at KGON, and a substitute teacher, who I ended up working with when I was doing my student teaching at Madison High School. Les was hired to substitute when my mentor teacher faked a physical accident breaking up a fight in the cafeteria, long story, but the guy went to Pebble Beach to be in a golf tournament (and I never told on him). One day after watching me teach, Les said to me, “you know, you’d make a really good disc jockey.”It was from out of left field, but it was THAT seed.
After I decided against pharmaceutical sales, I started looking into jobs in journalism, at The Oregonian, and small local newspapers, but it didn’t pan out. But while I was waiting in the lobby for an interview for a copywriting job at KOIN TV, a woman I knew from PSU journalism classes, the late Jane Hoyt, who worked in news at KOIN Radio, saw me and asked me why I was there. When I told her she said, “you don’t want to do that, come find me when you’re done.”I found Jane, she took me into a news booth, handed me copy and a set of headphones, and recorded me reading the news. That was it! I found what I was going to love doing for over 40 years.
My career started in Portland, but I was in Los Angeles for 25 years, where I also did a little TV. During my career I got to play Disco when it was brand new, was the first female disc jockey ever at the biggest radio station in Portland, Super 62 KGW, and got to be country when country was cool during the Urban Cowboy faze. I’ve done Top 40, Adult Contemporary, Rock, Soft Rock, Hot AC, Smooth Jazz, News, co-hosted a nationally syndicated home improvement talk show, co-hosted a national Country count-down show, was a TV booth announcer, Los Angeles Emmy Nominated TV show host and producer, and the voice of Mexicana Airlines, and I don’t speak Spanish!
Because of radio I’ve met so many interesting people and celebrities, from Dolly Parton to Cher, Al Gore, Billy Joel, Johnny Cash, Tina Turner, my favorite, John Candy, and so many more. I learned how to ski, drive a motorcycle, ride an elephant, and a mechanical bull because of radio. I got to go to free concerts and events, fly in a Lear Jet, and visit Disney World. Through radio I had the opportunity to work with amazing causes from Komen to Make-A-Wish, The Salvation Army, Pink Lemonade Project and so many more. I have been blessed!
Many people have helped me throughout my career, I’d like to thank a few now, in reverse chronological order:
-God, my parents, and my family.
-The entire K103 staff and al of l iHeart Portland, some of the finest pros I’ve ever worked with, and my boss, Michael La Crosse for making my last two years, two of the best.
-John Williams, for being an amazing radio partner and forever friend.
-iHeart’s Tony Coles, for his integrity, leadership, example, and for hiring me in Portland…twice!
-All the amazing talent and staff that I worked with at Westwood One Radio Networks, Los Angeles.
-Ken Sutherland, for the opportunities and your friendship.
-Melanie Steensland, for helping me get into TV, for always supporting my career, and for your friendship of nearly 40 years.
-Charlie Cook, who changed my life by hiring me at my first job in LA at the legendary KHJ, and for opening so many doors for me, not to mention our 40-year friendship.
-The late Mike Phillips, for hiring me at my first big job at KGW and for telling me that if I physically smiled, I’d always sound happy on the air.
-Kim Hollaway, my radio sister and forever friend.
-The late Ron Allen, for his love and for always being my cheerleader.
-The Portland PD, who after my first time as a disc jockey told me I’d never be good at it…that’s all I needed to hear.
-Rich, the Program Director at KUIK, Hillsboro, who gave me my first radio job in 1977 after telling me on a Tuesday, if I got my FCC License by Friday, I’d get the job, never believing I’d get it, but I did and he said, “I’ve taken that test 3 times and failed, you got the job!”
-Bob Brooks, when he was the Program Director at KGON, for giving me the study guide and telling me to get my FCC License.
-The late Jane Hoyt, who put me behind that mic for the first time.
-The late KISN Good Guy, Pat Pattee, who I fell to sleep listening to on my transistor radio under my pillow every night as a teen…I went through a lot of batteries!
A Facebook friend wrote on my page, “You’re not retiring, are you? Don’t do it, it’s boring.” What he doesn’t know about me is I’m rarely bored, so no worries!