- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 14, 2014

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Ninety-one-year-old Dottie Ray opened her Iowa radio show as she had since the mid-1950s, greeting her listeners from the comfort of her home. But this show was different.

Tuesday’s airing of “The Dottie Ray Show” was the final segment that Ray, an Eagle Grove native, would broadcast after 55 years on the air with KXIC.

The show, which first aired Sept. 4, 1959, began as a scripted program with scheduled guests and topics such as water conservation. But when a booked guest didn’t show up one day, Ray thought on her feet, ad-libbing a story about her father and completely changing the direction of her show.

“People loved it,” Ray told the Iowa City Press-Citizen (https://icp-c.com/1g5xFn5 ) in 1982. “They called and wanted tapes of the show. It was incredible.”

Iowa Public Radio talk show producer Dennis Reese said Ray was always able to connect with the community.

“She has this amazing ability to remember the community, people and events and history,” said Reese, who worked with Ray at KXIC from 1977 until 1980. “Nobody loves people more than Dottie Ray.”

Ray entered Iowa City’s media world in the mid-1940s during her time as a student at the University of Iowa, serving as the Daily Iowan’s fifth female editor-in-chief and running the newspaper’s first all-female editorial staff. She was also a student announcer with WSUI and a substitute editor with the Press-Citizen. Ray graduated with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism, and later taught at UI.

Following a brief stint broadcasting with WSUI in the 1950s, Ray was asked to host a weekend show for KXIC. Three years in, station founder Gene Clausen expanded her air time to five days a week, bringing a microphone to Ray’s home and launching “The Dottie Ray Show.”

Now, 14,144 broadcasts and 32,397 guests later, Ray’s show has become a model for some radio stations and an inspiration for others in the business. KXIC morning producer Jay Capron, who interviewed Ray for her final show, vowed to continue her community news focus at the station.

“She’s been an inspiration for me as kind of a leader,” Capron said. “In the radio business in particular, it’s a very challenging business and to have a show last over five decades, it’s very rare.”


Information from: Iowa City Press-Citizen, https://www.press-citizen.com/

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