Kimberly joined the KWFM team near the end of the époque epic. Lee Dombrowski filled me in, "Kimberly was our morning news person in the early part of the 80‘s. As a Stanford grad with a great personality that came across the mic, Kimberly brought an added sophistication to Album Rock news."
I asked Kimberly for her story, and she complied with a very frank and entertaining narrative.
"I came to Tucson in 1980 when my then boyfriend accepted a job at the UA as professor of Agricultural Economics. Coming from San Francisco I encountered a different world in the desert. I thought I would find something like Santa Fe… then I hit Speedway and wondered what I had done.
"Disco killed my appetite for rock and roll and I was on a steady diet of country music at the time. My favorite station was KFAT, (now known as KPIG check out their website) which I could pick up from the roof of my apartment. Before Tucson I had a job in advertising and the highlight of my day was lunch. Yet people I met who were working in radio intrigued my interest, and my path was set.
"When I came to Tucson I naturally went at first to KCUB, the number one station, and country music outlet in Tucson. I worked as a news reporter, primarily chasing ambulances and police calls. I was at the crime scene of 13 homicides in one year. This all came to an end when I had a flat tire on the way to a hostage situation. I was fired, with the admonition that “our audience doesn‘t like women on the air.”
"Next I was hired by Jim Ray to head up an imaginary news department before a management change in 1981, where I took up space on the air doing weekend graveyards. Alert listeners knew I had no familiarity whatsoever with the playlist and would regularly call and request Dynamo Hum. The news job didn‘t materialize fast enough, so I signed on as news director at KHYT. My third day on the job there my station manager died of a heart attack and a year later I was fired. Jim Ray broke the news to me even before my management did. My husband used to call it the Exploitation Station.
"Back to KWFM where I did the morning show for the next two years. Rick Allen and I debuted together on the same morning. I outlasted two more AM DJ‘s until Jim Ray and I partnered up until I gave up radio for television prior to yet another management change. (Bigger profit margin, my husband pointed out.) Jim gave me the most important piece of advice that I hold onto even now: “Come to work every day with your resume in one hand and your reel in the other.”
"At KWFM I discovered a new and different world, completely irreverent yet absolutely devoted to the music. We were the Rock of the 80‘s both on and off the air. Those of you who were there know what I mean.
"As news director, I learned all about the Billy Bob Arizona legislature, the Billy Bob city council, the Billy Bob board of supervisors and when the great flood of 1983 hit (Tucson is an Island!) I was on the air every hour for days.
"I remember how delightful it was to have Bob Cooke back after his brief estrangement. As I stood in the control room one day chatting, I realized, as all radio people do, that the tune was ending, yet Bob displayed no panic as he deftly took the mic and rummaged for another record. I believed and advocated for the notion that Bob should have free license to do whatever he wanted on the air… no one compared to his genius.
"I was also the one who dished out the news of Bob Cooke‘s tragic homicide. My stomach still hurts when I think of how painful those broadcasts were.
"In addition to news, I (mis-) handled promotions. Of these, I remember one in particular. It was a mud bog, you know, monster trucks, which, coming from San Francisco, was the type of event not on my radar. The airstaff had committed to becoming the half time entertainment. We were lined up to do a tug of war over a giant sea of mud against… a bunch of beer delivery guys, well known for their keg tossing ability. Radio people are not known for their brawn and you can probably guess the outcome. I notified everyone that the first person to go in, I drop the rope. Swell contest.
"I was there during the first foray into television with the Rock and Roll Picture Show. It was my job to secure videos from record companies and get my introduction to the egomania those people possessed. I believe we were truly the inspiration for MTV.
"After KWFM I became a producer at KUAT-TV, then Tucson Channel 12, freelance, two kids, summers in Portugal and Italy and currently at the UA Channel. You can see me right now at www.uachannel.com for more detail. With so many women pushed off the air due to ageism, I am determined to outlast the competition, wrinkles and all. So there.
"KWFM shaped me and delivered lasting memories and friendships. That‘s where I met Margie Rye, who I still count as one of my best friends. Party on, ya‘ll."
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