Where did you grow up?
St. George, Utah. It’s the “Heart of Dixie,” in southern Utah.
What made you decide to get into journalism?
I always loved the English language and writing. I was an avid reader, but I happened into journalism by accident and fate. I was a newspaper journalist for a dozen years and have continued in radio broadcast for 14 years now, and have now been doing TV for almost four years.
Why did you make the leap from print to television?
I like to say it was destiny. I love newspapers, but at 2 a.m. one morning at Harkins Theatres, while watching nine movies for charity with other community members, Sanford Cohen (of Arizona Hometown Radio Group) approached me about doing a job in radio. After consideration, I accepted. A decade later, Rich Howe (General Manager of AZTV7) called and asked if I’d like to apply for the retiring Morning Scramble host’s position. I said, “yes,” and the rest is history.
In your day-to-day work as a journalist, what story or interview has made the biggest impact on you?
There are so many, but Steven Nasser’s story of being taken to a work camp in WWII at the age of 13 is one. His 16-year-old brother did not survive, nor did most of his family, yet Mr. Nasser’s attitude is one of joy and gratitude. He takes his story to school children around the nation at the age of 85. Another one was about a dog who was lost in the wilderness around Crown King. Almost three weeks later, the little thing turned up on its own doorstep 15 miles away, thin and ragged, but happy to be home. Then there was one about a young girl with “breakable bone” disease (also called brittle bone disease). At only 12, she had dozens of bones that had broken. She was in a wheelchair, but her dreams were stronger than her body, and she was acting in a stage production on her way to other accomplishments.
What’s your most embarrassing moment, either on-air or off?
I know it would be juicy, but seriously, I can’t remember! A person in public learns to laugh off those kinds of things, usually on-air, before promptly forgetting them. After a while, not much is actually embarrassing. I did have a man who almost passed out during a radio interview, because he was so nervous and I had to run for a glass of water in the middle of our live, on-air chat, to try and revive him, all the while motioning him to continue talking without a host! The worst interview was possibly with a house painter-turned-artist who was so terrified, I suppose, that his conversation consisted of “yes,” or “no,” and such abbreviated responses, that I was left to carry the 20-minute conversation virtually solo. Then there was the show, recently, when a guest was attacked by a six-inch baby lynx with claws that seemed to be the size of a lion’s!
You and your husband Mick Shepard are known for much philanthropy and support of charities in the community. What causes are near and dear to your heart?
Animal rescue and preservation causes are always the ones closest to my heart. They are the defenseless creatures of the world, and we are so often the reason for their pain. Children come next, and I always like to promote events and causes that keep them safe or help their lives to be successful and happy. Mick’s career was as a captain with the Salvation Army, so we also champion their work with people.
When you aren’t interviewing our local movers and shakers, what are you doing for fun?
Reading books is one of my greatest and constant pleasures; gardening and enjoying nature is a big one; walking and being with my dog and three cats is important, too. I’m restoring a 1926 Model T Ford. I scuba dive, skydive, and water ski, on occasion. I’ve traveled to Africa, England, France, Hawaii, Canada and cruised the Caribbean and Mediterranean and elsewhere. The list is long of things I want to do, but haven’t launched into yet, such as yoga, Pickleball and even more travel to exotic and interesting places around the world.
Why do you love living in Prescott?
It has a long history that its residents cherish, a plethora of old buildings still in use, and a small-town appearance and feel, though that is sadly an illusion now. I love the culture, and the giving hearts and intelligence of our neighbors, as well.
What is something most people would be surprised to know about you?
I used to be terrified of having to speak in public or of being on stage, though I did both frequently! I’m also an introvert, so I thoroughly enjoy being with and learning about people, however being alone is something I crave and relish.
What items are still on your bucket list to accomplish and do?
Live near the ocean and write books, raise bees and chickens, learn to sail, hike in the Pacific Northwest, travel New England in the fall and visit New Orleans and Galveston…for starters.