Today’s Media Monday features a soon-to-be Arizona Broadcasters Association Hall of Famer.
Allen “Big Al” Kath has been reporting on Tucson traffic since 1988. Not only does he talk about it, he actually gets out in the stuff, checking weekly on big areas of concern and reporting it to KGUN 9 On Your Side’s viewers. He’s in his 43rd year of broadcasting and 37th year of getting people to work on time as an airborne and ground-based traffic reporter.
His segment, “Ask Big Al” is oftentimes a sounding board for those who don’t know where to go for questions about county-wide traffic issues.
Big Al, time to share:
My career in radio started at the young age of 15 at KIMB-AM in Kimball, Neb., where after school I played instrumental dinner music, read the news and took meter readings. The experience led to my next job at KMOR-FM, a newly constructed, automated station. I moved to Phoenix in 1978 and was soon thereafter hired at KOY to do the weekend on-air news during Pat McMahon’s two-hour Sunday evening talk show. A couple years later I went to work across the street at KTAR Radio/TV hosting Saturday and Sunday mornings, and later accepted the afternoon traffic watch position. I continued to take college courses and graduated in 1982 with a B.S. in Electronics Engineering Technology and then started doing the morning news at KSLX-FM and morning news and traffic at KOOL-FM until 1988, but I missed doing airborne traffic.
I took a part-time job with Skyview Traffic Watch and was then given the opportunity to open the Tucson market. Starting there with only five radio stations, Skyview/Tucson expanded to include three of the four network TV stations while creating and airing 100 reports daily. The company was sold, and in 2006 I joined KGUN/KWBA & Mix-FM, where I’ve been ever since.
Along the way, I was involved in the creation of the first public-private partnership with the City of Tucson to build one of the first Traffic Operations Centers in the state, winning the Intelligent Transportation Systems National Technology Award in 1998. I was fortunate enough to also receive the Golden Mic Award in 2012 from the American Ad Federation Tucson.
When I’m not working, I enjoy spending time with my family, which includes my wife of 29 years, Cristi, and our four children, Greg, Rebecca, Allison and Nicole.