Today’s #MediaMonday comes to us from Lou Gum, the news and operations director and host, Arizona edition at KAWC in Yuma. Lou began his public radio career in 1988 at KNAU in Flagstaff as a classical music DJ and has been hooked on public radio since, transitioning to news after trying his hand at several other careers in publishing and commercial broadcasting.
Lou has a degree in American studies from Arizona State University (go #SunDevils)! and was KAWC's Morning Edition host for two and half years before becoming news and operations director.
Lou resides in Yuma with his dog Elsie and a cat named, appropriately, Radio, whom he found one cool morning as a stray 5-week-old kitten outside the doors of KAWC. “I had just done a story on efforts to stem the feral cat population in Yuma County so his timing was great and I felt obligated to keep him.”
In his free time Lou enjoys movies, tennis and binge-watching BBC shows on Netflix. He also enjoys times with close friends and the occasional road-trip to Northern Arizona, where his family lives in the small town of Seligman.
What do you want to tell the blogosphere about yourself today?
I’m a definite news junkie and so proud to be working in public radio, with its focus on real people. My favorite stories are the ones that focus on how regular people are impacted or cope with the big issues of our time. We have a very small but dedicated news team with the goal of providing in-depth and insightful news coverage over being the first on the scene or leading with the most tragic news of the day.
Yuma is an interesting community to cover because so much is happening here that is of interest to the state and the nation. The demographics are a precursor to what the nation will look like in 20 or 30 years. Agriculture is the area’s largest industry and supplies the world with fresh produce during the winter months. The Colorado River is the lifeblood of the community, providing water for all those plants as well as millions of people in the American West and in Mexico. The U.S. Border Patrol’s Yuma Sector is considered the most secure and well-managed along the entire stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border. And the population of Yuma more than doubles during the winter months thanks to an influx of winter visitors from across the country. All of this makes for an interesting and ever-changing news environment.
KAWC FM has been covering this community for 45 years, one of the first public broadcasting licenses issued in the state. We operate a second AM station in Yuma that is re-broadcast on FM in the Northern Arizona communities of Kingman, Prescott, Flagstaff and Williams.
I focused my Media Monday opportunity on my station and my community because southwestern Arizona is often left out of the conversation about what is great about our state. I am proud to work and live here and even prouder to help get the word out about an overlooked yet vital and dynamic area of the state and nation.
I encourage you to visit our website, www.kawc.org to find out more about KAWC or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.