Some personal news. I won’t bury the lede: after 19(!) years, I’m leaving KOMO. I’m also leaving Green River College at the end of the quarter.
Whew. That was weird to type out.
I’ve accepted a job at KIRO-FM as the station’s news director. I’ll be coaching and collaborating with an incredible team at a legendary station. Truly, it’s something I’ve wanted to do for decades, and it’s happening. I know this region, I know news radio, and I’m ready for the challenge.
If you know me, you know that I’ve been absolutely in love with news and talk radio since elementary school. Listening to the CBS News top of the hour music while riding in the back seat of my mom’s station wagon is one of my earliest memories. Editor of the high school newspaper. Lead actor of the drama department’s production of “Talk Radio” senior year. This job, and working with my new team, is a dream come true and I won’t let them down.
This is, of course, a bittersweet moment. 19 years ago, I was a newly-married 27-year-old kid hired as a part-time evening and overnight board operator at KOMO. I’m not exactly sure how I did it, but I worked my way up from there, thanks to the support and encouragement from co-workers. As trite as it may sound to say, they are family. Every single person there.
More than 20(!) years ago, I started as a part-time (adjunct) radio instructor at Green River. I had been a radio student there starting in 1996, and the college took a chance on me and had me start teaching the next generation of radio students. I’ve probably had more than a thousand students over the years. I loved it so much, I made sure to finish my Bachelor’s degree, and then a Master’s degree, with the hope of taking over the college’s broadcasting program once my friend and mentor, Tom Evans Krause decided to retire.
But as the Green Day song lyric goes, “time grabs you by the wrist and directs you where to go.”
Ingrid began her breast cancer journey. Tom retired, but the college was delayed in searching for his replacement. Enrollments at all broadcasting classes dropped dramatically. KOMO sold to what seem like wonderful new owners, but it can’t be called “KOMO” anymore. And then a former KOMO intern showed up in my Twitter DM’s.
KIRO’s managing editor told me about the news director opening there and said she thought I should apply. She said they were looking for someone passionate about news; someone who knows good radio; someone with a lot of experience doing different roles in news radio; someone with ideas about the future of audio news; someone who is decisive; and, importantly: someone who’s a nice person.
So I applied.
Turning in my resignation at KOMO was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. Not gonna lie: the adrenaline hit hard yesterday, and I was literally shaking. The sorrow of leaving my radio family, along with the excitement of joining a team I’ve listened to and dreamed of for years: it was a lot.
My KOMO bosses couldn’t have been nicer or more supportive. They said all the right things, and I’m confident in this decision.
I’m wrapping up at KOMO, with my last airshift scheduled for Friday, October 1st. I start at KIRO the following Monday. I’ll continue teaching my online class at Green River through December.
Okay, this whole thing is getting really rambly, and I’m using “I,” “me,” and “my” way too much. Thanks for indulging me.
Thanks to so many of you for your support and encouragement over the years. It’s truly been a great journey for me. Now the next chapter begins.
Charlie Harger Newscast from 1996