Meet WKMS Alumni

Murray State University students have enriched WKMS over the years. This "WKMS Alumni Feature" is new for Homecoming 2013. There are many more alums in the WKMS Family, so we know this feature is incomplete.

But you can do something about it. Send us your picture and your story: What did your experience with WKMS mean for you then and does it continue to impact your professional life; tell us what you did at the station and what you're doing now. Include dates if possible.

Send to klochte@murraystate.edu

Thank you all!

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The Rev. Jim Trimble

St. James' Episcopal Church, Pewee Valley KY 

I am now an ordained Episcopal priest serving in the Louisville area, having previously served a church in Madisonville.  My time at WKMS was quite formative and enlightening. Hosting music and news programs, as well as filing stories from the newsroom gave me the experience needed to continue a career in public broadcasting in Wilmington, NC and Louisville.  The foundation of radio, for me, was learned in Murray in listening to human stories and allowing people the time needed to tell these stories. That has continued to form my work in the church.

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Jason Reeves

Operations Manager, REM Services Inc., Houston, TX, Adjunct Professor, Houston Community College

Today as an HR Practitioner and Educator I still utilize those abilities to communicate effectively to masses of people to ensure engagement within a working environment. Motivating and getting people involved is what I do now and that is what I was able to launch through a lot of love and support from MSU, the JMC department and definitely from my WKMS family! Thanks and I hope I still don't have records coming up to the station!

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Daffney Moore

City of St. Louis Urban Planner

What WKMS meant to me personally and professionally? WKMS allowed me to fulfill one of my dreams as a child, which was to work in radio. It allowed me and other Murray State students to have a voice on campus and the freedom to express ourselves through music.  WKMS was like family to me because everyone wanted me (students) to succeed and provided me with the means and leadership to develop in radio and as a person.  

Professionally, I use all the talents I learned at WKMS daily. Working at the station taught me the value of being on time, working hard at my craft and enhanced my public speaking skills. I work with several radio stations in St. Louis and my experience at WKMS makes it easy for me to interact and understand the dynamics of the radio business. 

What I am currently doing now? I serve the City of St. Louis in the capacity as an Urban Planner with the Planning and Urban Design Agency.  I work on projects that address problems dealing with urban growth, revitalization, initiatives for housing and commercial development.  I also work with my church on our communication and marketing team.

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Jim Burress

Host/Reporter,Public Broadcasting Atlanta

WKMS is more than my first public radio “gig.”  It’s my foundation—the place where I learned the value of reporting that takes listeners beyond words read from a script and interviews captured on tape. It’s where I watched dedicated, top-notch professionals work tirelessly to create excellence, foster a sense of community and provide insight and depth to locally-relevant issues.  It’s where I grew as a reporter and a person.

In the five years I’ve been at Atlanta’s NPR station, WABE, I’ve won more than a dozen awards, including several regional Edward R. Murrow honors and 1st-place nods from the Georgia Associated Press.  Twice in the past three years the Atlanta Press Club honored me with its “Award of Excellence.” I regularly contribute feature-length reports to both NPR and Marketplace, where I spent two months this year as a full-time, fill-in reporter.

Every day I rely on the values WKMS instilled in me; I strive to reach the excellence the folks there constantly produce. 

Western Kentucky is lucky to have a resource like WKMS, and I’m lucky (and grateful) to have been a part.  

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Rebecca Feldhaus Adams

Coordinator of Regional Outreach, Murray State University, Co-founder, producer and host of baskhaus radio group

WKMS started as a student job and grew into a lifelong passion for public radio. My colleagues in the newsroom challenged me to become a better writer, a better reporter and overall a better storyteller with the highest expectations for truly arresting stories. Along with another former WKMS newsy, Shelly Baskin, I've co-founded an independent radio group called baskhaus. We produce short and long form audio documentaries and multimedia stories. Professionally, WKMS was the spark that ignited my drive to make public radio my livelihood. Personally, it acquainted me with new friends, exposed me to great stories and, most importantly, introduced me to the man who became my husband.

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Vince Medlock

Adjunct ESL Instructor, Murray State University

Personally, WKMS meant an opportunity to make great lifelong friends, both among fellow students and among the professional staff.  In fact, I’m still in touch with several of the people from that time -- in some cases, more years later than I really care to admit.  Although a few of us have left broadcasting entirely, many are still managers, directors, producers, reporters, and media instructors in the field.  Our experience at WKMS is something that I think all of us remember fondly, and we still enjoy revisiting the stories when we have a chance.

As an aside, one of my favorite personal stories is a staff Christmas party one year while Mary Anne and I were dating.  Everyone was talking and having a great time when I noticed her sitting in the corner with her eyes closed.  Concerned that she wasn’t feeling well, I asked if we needed to leave.  Without opening her eyes, she told me, “I’m fine.  But none of you guys look like you sound, and it’s disorienting.”  We still laugh about that from time to time.

Professionally, WKMS meant an opportunity to acquire a couple of invaluable life skills.  For one, nothing builds self-confidence like pulling, editing, and reading news copy while recording programs (on tape!), watching a clock, listening to the network, and talking to time.  For another, you simply can’t beat broadcasting for learning to roll with punches.  Coping with the unexpected -- and doing it well -- has been one of the most important professional and life skills from my time there.  Finally, Margaret Hunt Arnold, Bobby Bryan, Joe Jackson, and Kate Lochte taught me more about perseverance than I realized.  To this day, these are among the folks I think of when deciding whether to continue with a project or drop it and move on.  Most of the time, the importance of seeing it through wins out, which has made a difference in many professional situations.

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Marty Scarbrough 

Program Director of KASU-FM, the public radio service of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro 

I worked at WKMS from 1989 to 1992 while working toward a degree in broadcasting at MSU. My first job was doing local news breaks in All Things Considered, and I later hosted Morning Edition, Jazz Horizons, and the early Saturday morning show Pickin' With. I always had a busy schedule of work at the station, so much so that the joke was that WKMS stood for We Killed Marty Scarbrough

I am so thankful for the wide variety of professional opportunities I had while at the station. I have fond memories of engineering Bobby Bryan's Big Band Era program, listening to him explain to me why he chose specific songs for the show and why he played in them in the order he did. I also had the opportunity to serve as a remote recording engineer, recording concerts of everything from bluegrass bands to symphony orchestras and from to jazz combos to string quartets. Getting paid for listening to live music was a true blessing, and going to all of those concerts contributed greatly to my love for all types of live music.

I truly appreciate the encouragement and education in all-things-radio given to me by people like Bobby Bryan, Janet Kenny, Anita Bugg, Margaret Hunt, Mike Rathke and Kate Lochte. WKMS will always have a very special place in my heart! 

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Bryan with wife Jen

Bryan Bartlett

Local host of "Morning Edition" for WEKU in Richmond, Kentucky

I began my association with WKMS as a student intern in the mid 90's.  Before long, I was filling in as local host of "All Things Considered" and later, hosting my own rock show, "Hard Knox & Durty Sox".  After leaving the station for several years, I returned in 2004 as Assistant News Director and then Interim News Director.  During these two stints at WKMS, I made many life-long friendships and met my future wife, Jen, IN the master control room at the station.  We're now living in Lexington and I'm working at my THIRD public radio station as local host of NPR's "Morning Edition" at WEKU in Richmond, KY.  Of those three fine stations, none compares to WKMS.  At WKMS, there is a sense of family and kinship that I've not experienced anywhere else.  What impresses me most about the staff at WKMS is that they not only invite you to listen - they invite you to be a PART of the whole experience by volunteering at the station: working together with the staff whether it be fundraising or a locally-produced music show.  It's that overwhelming sense of inclusion; that feeling that you're an essential member of a family that sets WKMS apart from all the rest.

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Beth Graham Jones

Lecturer on Presentational Speaking in Purdue's English Department

I began working at WKMS as an undergraduate in 1999. I was a music major at the time and regularly listened to WKMS mostly for the classical music. I remember being willing to do anything and I did do most anything. My first job was cleaning nicotine stains off of the ceiling tile dividers in the main studio. Mark Welch was on the air that day as I stood on a ladder scrubbing the ceiling. He became a big influence on me as a radio mentor (Gary Scott, too). He was the one who suggested I do an audition to be on the air. 

I started out on air on Sunday nights doing the local breaks during programming like This American Life and some locally produced shows (can’t remember all that was on then). Eventually, I worked my way up to being the local host for Morning Edition. That would have been my senior year in college so I was getting up early for ME then going to classes afterward. I ended up loving the work so much and being around and part of the news that I switched my major to electronic journalism. 

I graduated in May 2002 and was hired to be assistant news director and to continue on as local Morning Edition host. This is when I began producing original reports, too. I stayed on at WKMS full-time for a year before deciding I wanted to leave my comfort zone and home state for some place new.

I landed a job as news director at WVPE in Elkhart/South Bend, Indiana. I was also asked to be a mentor for NPR’s Next Generation Radio around that time. I did that for one week once a year for three years. 

I completed my M.A. in May of this year. I was a teaching assistant/instructor for the last year of my degree for the Communication department. I am now a limited term lecturer for the same department where I will teach introductory and advanced courses on presentational speaking this fall. I frequently use my experiences in public radio to relate to my students, particularly when it comes to teaching them methods for presenting in front of an audience. Apart from teaching for the university, I continue to use my journalism/writing experience for freelance editing and am just beginning to explore opening myself up to doing some freelance reporting again.

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Gary Scott

Independent Music Artist performing as Garcia and Scott

WKMS is more than a spot on the radio dial or an address on the Internet. It’s more than a publicly funded radio station that provides award-winning and unparalleled local, regional, state and world news and information to tens of thousands of listeners in a 5-state rural region. WKMS is a family. And, it’s the kind of nurturing, caring family that everyone should hope to have on their block. That may sound trite at first, but it’s true. Here’s how I know. 

I started at WKMS in the early 1990’s as a student worker. I listened and enjoyed public radio, so when I saw an ad in the Murray Ledger and Times calling for volunteers to host an early Saturday morning music program called “Pickin’ With” I enquired. With no radio experience whatsoever, I was taken in, trained and set loose in front of a microphone. I was smitten. I was soon given the opportunity to host All Things Considered on Friday evenings and Weekend Edition on Saturday and Sunday each weekend. Where else can you get that kind of real, professional experience as a student? Think about it. 

I continued working at WKMS until I graduated in 1995. Then, I set out to pursue my career as an English teacher. I never got public radio out of my system, so I decided to get back into it. Oddly enough, I’d heard that WKMS needed a part time news reporter. I went back, enquired and got the job. I was welcomed back into the fold. So, I hit the ground running. 

That opportunity soon turned into a full time job as Assistant News Director, which eventually turned into News Director; a position I held until 2005 when I left to run a newsroom at WMUB in Oxford, OH. During my years at WKMS and WMUB, I produced a dozen national news features and dozens of spot news stories for National Public Radio. The news departments I worked for hauled in truckloads of awards. I also had the privilege of training dozens of other student reporters who’ve gone on to work at various public radio stations, newspapers and TV stations here and abroad. 

The point of this story that sounds too much like a resume is this: I spent nearly 12 amazing years in public broadcasting as a student and professional. That life, that experience, that career was possible because I was taken in by a family of professionals who saw something in me, nurtured it, challenged me then sent me out into the world to share it. I was further encouraged by a community of listeners and supporters to continue what I was doing. A student experience turned into over a decade of meaningful work. We should all hope to be a part of such a family.

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Carrie Pond

Associate at the law firm Frost Brown Todd's Louisville office, focusing her practice in business litigation. Formerly a law clerk for the Hon. Judge Thomas Russell.

It is difficult to articulate the important role WKMS has had in my life, both personally and professionally. I began working at WKMS while still an undergraduate. During that time, I never felt more informed about or engaged in the community—local, national, and global. The rewards of such engagement were immediately evident and long lasting, and for the first time I realized how empowering being an active and informed member of society is. WKMS fostered in me a love of learning, an appreciation for not only what is said but how it is said, and a passion for thoughtful and well-rounded journalism. As a WKMS reporter, I learned the importance of concise yet engaging storytelling, of careful research, and of connecting with a larger audience. Each of these skills has provided immeasurable benefits to me as I have pursued the next chapter in my professional life as an attorney. As a litigator, I will be expected to tell my clients’ stories. What’s more, I will be expected to tell my clients’ stories well, in a way that is understandable, relatable, and persuasive. My favorite part of my job at WKMS was the opportunity to tell people’s stories. As I continue following that passion of telling other’s stories, I can do so knowing that WKMS provided me with tools I need to be the best advocate I can be. 

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Anita Bugg

News Director, Nashville Public Radio

It's been nearly two decades since I worked at WKMS.  Ah, the good old days: reel to reel tape, grease pencils, three track mixing in a one track room (envision a random student walking by the studio,"Hey, come here and hit this button to play this sound when I point at you, okay?!!?").  As News Director of Nashville Public Radio, I use lessons learned from 91.3 FM every day. Deadlines. Packing a big punch as a small staff. Community. I wouldn't trade anything for those experiences or the miles driven to Princeton, Martin, Cairo et al. I still consider myself an extension of the WKMS family, and on my drives home to Kentucky, its signal welcomes me like an old friend. Strong. Fun. Informative. Telling the stories of its people, now in digital.  

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Angie Hatton

Woodmen of the World Community Outreach Manager, KY-W. She is a 2009 Summa Cum Laude graduate of Murray State University. She lives in Murray with her husband, Todd.

I went to work at WKMS in 2007 because I love public radio. Growing up in western Kentucky, the local station was a part of my everyday life. WKMS was my first exposure to classical music, and the reason I can differentiate Mozart from Bach. Long-running programs such as Radio Reader and Prairie Home Companion were the entertainment on long family car rides across the Bluegrass. National call-in show Talk of the Nation inspired many kitchen stool debates over the day’s news. As a Murray State University student, coming on board as a news intern at my public radio station was my way to give back to the station I had enjoyed. I did not anticipate how much I would get in return.

As a WKMS news intern, I was treated as a vital part of the station’s operations, and trusted with essential responsibilities. Because WKMS full-time staff set high expectations, I had to push myself to succeed. Starting from zero journalistic experience, I learned on the job how to interview, write, and report on local news in a way that compelled listeners.  At WKMS, I got comfortable speaking to power through interviews with politicians, CEO’s, celebrities, and military leaders. In my four years at the station, I was honored to be a part of an award-winning news team, earning seven Kentucky Associated Press Broadcasters awards, including the 2011 First Place Best Public Affairs award. The confidence and self-motivation WKMS fostered in me are two of the most valuable assets I now use in my daily work life. 

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Nicole Erwin

Masters Student, Journalism and Sustainability, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

My time as a student intern at WKMS means everything to me. It was the staff at this small station that helped me direct an innate curiosity and apply it without boundaries. I have worked as a journalist in three different continents now, and if it weren't for the professionalism and principles of attention to accuracy and detail instilled in me during my time there, I would not have the confidence I do now. WKMS is more than a station, it is developer of minds and culture for the community. My heart will forever belong to this fantastic place.

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Laura Cash Scales

Communications and Public Relations Specialist, Cummins Mid-South

Working at WKMS was much more than a job; it was a wonderful experience and a highlight of my college career. I learned from the best group of professionals what it's like to really love what you do and what it takes to put differences aside for the betterment of the organization. Anything I wanted to learn - even outside the realm of my job as Operations Assistant - I could. My experience at WKMS helped prepare me for my current job as a Communications and Public Relations Specialist at Cummins Mid-South. I work with a group similar to that at WKMS where we all wear many different hats but at the end of the day, we're passionate about what we do.

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Alan Stout

US Bankruptcy Judge for Western District of Kentucky

Alan C. Stout is a 1978 graduate of Murray State University. In October 2011 he was appointed U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the Western District of Kentucky. He holds court in Louisville, Ky and Owensboro, KY. Before assuming the Bench he practiced law in Western Kentucky for 30 years. He currently resides in Louisville Ky and Marion Ky and has 3 children and 4 grandsons. 

I was a part of the Radio/TV Dept. at MSU from 1975-1978. While I was primarily in news production (mostly on the TV side), I did help out "on the board" at WKMS from time to time.  Although my career path has taken me out of media,  I have continued to listen to and support Public Radio and WKMS through the years.  In fact now I listen to WKMS on-line and I also listen to WFPK in Louisville when I am in The "Ville".  The lessons and skills I learned while on the 5th/6th Floor of the MSU Fine Arts building  have served me well both in private practice and on The Bench. 

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Caroline Jones

Working with a Department of Defense organization focused on helping wounded soldiers and veterans.

Working at WKMS was an amazing first job. I was hired in 2005 and stayed with the station until I graduated in 2008. Working as a news editor and running the public service announcements gave me a strong background in technical writing. It really is a valuable addition to my professional resume. WKMS was an amazing opportunity for me as a student worker because of the environment and the office culture. After leaving Murray, I moved to Washington DC, completed a Masters Degree at George Washington University and became a government contractor.

 

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Phillip Powers

Managing Editor of The Pilot-News in Plymouth, Indiana.

Working at WKMS sharpened my skills professionally and personally.  My overall experience at MSU and the Mass Communications Department prepared me for the challenging world of journalism and broadcasting academically and practically - giving me applied skills.  I was at Murray State from 1976 to 1980 earning my B.S. in Journalism/Radio + TV.  I worked at WKMS from 1979 to '80 as a reporter and news announcer.  I also worked that year as TV Anchor and sports writer for The MSU News, and was Shield Greek Editor in 1980.  For ten years after graduation I was owner, publisher, and editor for The Pioneer in Brandenbug, Kentucky, afterwards becoming Managing Editor of The Pilot-News in Plymouth, Indiana.

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Joe Pawlak

VP Results Advisor Program, Advanced Waste Services, West Allis, Wisconsin

Working at WKMS was a very formative experience for me. I was given a great deal of responsibility at a relatively young age and it taught me lessons that I still carry with me nearly a quarter of a century later. Whether it was filling in for beloved industry veterans such as Margaret Hunt or Bobby Bryan... learning the art of good questioning and reporting from Anita Bugg... or Mike Rathke’s guidance and leadership hosting and producing “World Jazz Party” I felt a part of a team of true professionals as a teenager. The art of fundraising and communication has helped me tremendously in my Sales and Sales Management career. Thank you WKMS!

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Kent Coombs

Six Sigma Black Belt, Seymour Engine Plant, Cummins Inc. in Seymour, Indiana.

I was a board operator on weekends for WKMS from 1999 to 2001 when I graduated.  I did sports here as well then I went into the Air Force and wound up going to The University of Louisville for mechanical engineering.

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Ken Bird

DVD Manufacturing with DVD Austin, Inc. in Austin, Texas.

Mayfield Native Ken Bird worked at WKMS from 1980 to 1986 while he was a radio/TV major at Murray State. He also worked with WYMC-FM, Mayfield for a time.  He's currently in DVD manufacturing with DVD Austin, Inc., in Austin, Texas.

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Mark Welch

Community Relations, Office of the President, Murray State University

I’m in the enviable position of being connected to WKMS as both a team member and listener since the mid-70s.  WKMS and I have literally grown up together!  The station was only a few years old when I joined the staff as a student announcer and I’ve been able to enjoy first hand almost four decades of staff development, increased audience services, technological upgrades, and regional impact.

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Joe Haynes

Producer of Roundabout U for Murray State

The reason I came to Murray State is because of WKMS.  I was a couple years away from high school and was trying to determine what I was going to do with my life.  At that time I did not have a lot of interest in much of anything except for rock and roll music which was not being played on any radio stations in area, then one night I was scanning the dial and stumbled upon a show called Nightflight 91 on a public radio station out of Murray State.  It wasn't long after that when I decided to become a radio station programmer. 

I enrolled at MSU with a major in Radio/TV in the fall of 1979 with the dream of becoming the man who would change the face of radio programming in the west Kentucky area.  I soon realized that to become a radio programmer in this market I would also have to DJ on the air. I was nervous because I had zero experience at being on air and wasn't really sure I had the personality to pull it off.  My first opportunity came in March 1980 when the host for the Wednesday night edition of Nightflight 91 had be out of town that week and he asked if I wanted to substitute for him,  So on a Wednesday night in the spring of 1980 I went on the air for the first time.  I retrospect I was not very good but I thought I was at the time.  

The next semester I got my chance to be a regular DJ on Nightflight and really started to get into it.  I hosted the show that entire school year and at the end of the spring semester went home for summer.  When I returned the next fall I was told that station was no longer going air Nightflight 91.  Needless to say I was disappointed but at the time I was starting to develop an interest in Punk Rock and New Wave music.  I approached the program director Mark Welch with the idea for a show featuring this new type of music.  My argument was that WKMS was a radio station that offer an alternative to commercial radio stations with it's programs featuring jazz, classical, and news.  I argued that the type of show I was talking about was also an alternative to what commercial radio station were offering.  

After Mark thought about it for awhile he finally gave me the green light and bestow the name Beyond the Edge upon the new show.  For the rest of the time that I was a student at Murray State I would come in every Saturday night at 11:00 and host the show.  It was a wonderful experience for me and was the highlight of my college years.  And while it gave me all the time in the world to become a experienced DJ,  I soon realized this was not the path for me as a career.  I was fortunate enough to discover that my real skills are in television production. After graduating MSU I worked at a couple of televisions stations until the opportunity came up for me to return to work for my alma mater.  In the summer of 1990 I was hired on as the university's Radio/ TV specialist. 

One of the first things that I did was to create a news delivery system that would allow area radio station to receive sound bites from news or promotional stories featuring Murray State.  I was able to do that using the skills I learned as a student worker at WKMS.  Shortly after that I was asked to host a 30 minute talk radio show featuring people and programs associated with MSU and the region.  Again I drew from my experience at WKMS and my time as the host of Beyond the Edge.  The show Campus Friends ran for over 15 years. I am currently the producer of Roundabout U a television show that also features people and program associated with Murray State and the surrounding region and I am approaching 23 years as an employee of Murray State.  When I look back I remember how it all started with a young man listening late at night  to the radio trying to find the music he loved and how WKMS gave him the opportunity to pursue a dream. 

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Monte Carroll

I first heard WKMS as a high school student, thinking that a college with such a cool radio station was worth checking out. A year or so later I was a freshman at Murray State University, eventually making my way into the Radio/TV program. A series of commercial radio jobs led me to Nashville, at what was then “103-KDF, Nashville’s Rock’n’Roll Station”. I left the business in about 1991 but continue to support public radio as a member at Nashville Public Radio (WPLN), Memphis’ WKNO stations, and WKMS. I also volunteer each spring and fall with WPLN’s membership campaign. I’m grateful for discovering and proud of being a part of WKMS. While the technology and the personalities have changed, WKMS has continuously offered breadth and depth of programming unique in the local radio landscape. It is a treasure still and I’m certain it will continue to be a valued asset to the students, the university, and the listeners.