When I turn the corner at the top of the stairs, there’s Kim, Kim Macon, the Development Director at WVPE, behind her desk and a computer screen, in her dimly lit office.
That begins my day at WVPE.
I’m not exactly sure what Kim does at the station. It’s my impression that she carries it around on her shoulders.
“Kim, I gotta ask ya, what is it, exactly, that you do here at WVPE?”
“I do a little bit of everything,” says Kim.
“I have that impression.”
“But mainly,” Kim says, “I oversee all of the development here at the station, all of the underwriting, the membership. I guess that includes promotions and what we present to the public.”
“My primary contact with you is that at the end of my air shift I put the broadcaster log, whatever that’s called, in a file for you. So, what happens to it after that?”
“I have to make sure what’s on the paper log that you use,” Kim says, “matches what’s on the board file in the computer because once that is done, that’s what decides how all of our underwriters are actually billed, by what the board file says they have run.”
“So, if I screw up and don’t play something that was supposed to play, you catch that. Is that right?”
“Yeah,” says Kim, “And then I get it rescheduled for when it can be made good.”
“I won’t ask you how often that happens, because that’s just pointless.
“Let’s talk about the past. What year did you start here?”
“The first weekday of January, 1993.”
“So exactly, what are we talking, 25 years ago?”
“Actually,” Kim says, “I think it’s closer to 27.”
“Twenty-seven years ago, you saw an ad in the newspaper, or how did you get connected?”
“Actually,” Kim says, “I got connected to (former WVPE station manager) Tim Eby. I was serving on the Elkhart Jazz Festival committee at the time and just in a conversation Tim mentioned that they were looking for, at the time I think it was, a marketing director. And, I had been working at another radio station, here, probably seven or eight years, and was ready for a change.”
Kim’s memories include Meet Me on the Island (“Those are just very nice after work Friday night events which we’re kind of known for.”), Juan Williams hosting Talk of the Nation at Goshen College, Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me selling out the Lerner Theatre, a major rain storm at a St. Pat’s Park show, and some major frustration working her first pledge drive.
Kim says, “I kept making mistakes and I was flubbing and I was tired and I had been working for days and I had had it. I was mad and then I started crying, and it was just a mess. I was a mess. I’m crying on my way home, and I’m thinking, ‘My son’s gonna be there when I get there. I can’t go home this upset.’
“So I pulled myself together, and I’m like, ‘Okay.’
“I put my key in the door and my son comes running up to me, and he has a bouquet of paper flowers that he had made for me in school that day, and he runs up to me and he gives me the flowers, and I just lost it. Just crying and …. It was a good thing but getting up to it was…. That was a little bit of a thing.”
“That’s the past. What about the future?”
“So many things are happening digitally, on-line, and we’re just at the tip of what the potential can actually be, with our HD (high definition) streams; we’ve got HD 2 and HD 3. There’s potential for additional streams. We’re looking at getting into podcasting and the community, bringing that into a community project. Really poised to take off.”
And then Kim reflects, “My son was nine-years-old when I started here. Now, he’s married with a family of his own. And it’s been a great ride.”
“Again,” I say, “I’m gonna miss you when I come up the stairs and I say, ‘Hello Kim,’ and there’s no response. It’s gonna be a little weird for a while.”
“Yep. I won’t be right there at my desk peeping around the corner there,” says Kim.
“I know how much everybody here at the station appreciates you, as a person and for your work, so I guess I’ll just say, ‘Goodbye.’”
Kim Macon worked at WVPE for 27 years. Today is her last day.
Additional production assistance provided by Annacaroline Caruso, Diane Daniels, Justin Hicks, and Jennifer Weingart
Music: "September" by Earth, Wind & Fire