Today’s #MediaMonday comes to us from Kayla Mortellaro. She has served as KDUS AM 1060 operations coordinator for four years, and in January took over as host of Valley Focus as well. For those who don’t know, Valley Focus has long been a beloved program that runs for an hour each Sunday across Hubbard Radio Phoenix stations (KSLX, KUPD, Alt AZ, KAZG and KDUS).
As you can imagine, she has been navigating her way through these challenging times attempting to get pertinent information out to our Valley communities. The focus of the show is important nonprofit work and resources for people. In recent months, she has also transitioned into discussing virtual job fairs and programs to help people find work as well as COVID-19 information.
So, Kayla, time to share!
Where did you grow up, and how did you get interested in broadcasting?
I grew up right here in Phoenix. I have always loved sports, whether it was playing competitive golf, shooting hoops in the front yard or watching football on Saturdays and Sundays. And with that, I was drawn to the broadcasting and styles of people presenting the sports. In college at the University of Idaho, I was unable to take broadcast journalism classes as they conflicted with my golf practice schedules, but I instead dove into the world of public relations.
Tell us about getting your start – what was your first gig?
In high school, I connected with a person who had a golf radio show. The premise of the show was to play golf and review the golf course, among other golf related conversations. I’d be invited to play golf at some wonderful golf courses in the Valley and sometimes given the opportunity to hop on air with some opinions of the golf course. I was instantly a fan of the microphone. After graduating from the University of Idaho, I turned professional right away and set my sights to earning my LPGA Tour card --- which I did on my first attempt. I would call into that same show from different cities, with updates on what life was like on the Tour. Unfortunately, a little more than halfway through my rookie campaign, I needed to stop playing and have shoulder surgery. During my rehab, I connected with Hubbard Radio Phoenix as a board operator.
How did you make your way to Arizona – and to Hubbard Radio?
I was born and raised in Phoenix. I left for college to the University of Idaho. I spent four years in a small town, Moscow, Idaho. While I enjoyed my college experience and glad I received the education I did with some great professors, I always knew I was moving back to Phoenix. Not only was that a better location for golf, but all of my family was also here. My rookie campaign on the LPGA Tour stalled because I needed to have shoulder surgery. I had this itch to be involved in radio and began as a board operator for KDUS with Hubbard Radio. I was able to work on different sports shows and attend different sporting events for the station all the while continuing my rehab and eventual return to the golf course. Unfortunately, my return to golf stalled yet again as I needed thumb surgery. At this point, I felt I was at a crossroads with a decision and chose to stay in radio. I have been with Hubbard Radio Phoenix for six years, now the operations coordinator of KDUS and the most recent addition, director of public affairs and the host of Valley Focus.
What types of pitches would brands and PR folks be smart to send you?
Valley Focus is a show that wants to spread the word about important non-profit work, organizations and resources for people. As we continue to navigate our way through COVID-19, anything that can help people, who may have never been in a position of need before. And there is no doubt that typical fundraising efforts for the fall may look different and I am happy to get the word out for the nonprofits who have pivoted to new ideas to be able to continue forth with their great work.
Favorite type of music?
Classic rock and rock.
Purple and green
Favorite local restaurants or bars?
Favorite TV shows or movies?
I enjoyed How to Get Away with Murder, still following through with Grey’s Anatomy, Grace and Frankie. And open to any new suggestions of TV shows.
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