Dottie (Klein) RAY
Posted By: Sarah Thorson Little (email)
Date: 1/31/2016 at 23:56:38
Dottie (Klein) RAY -- Native of Eagle Grove
Dottie Ray retires from radio after 64 years
BY KAITLIN DEWULF
Tuesday marked the last time on air for a beloved radio host.
Since 1959, the Dottie Ray Show has aired weekdays from 8:45-9 a.m. Dottie Ray, a 91-year-old Iowa City resident, informed her listeners about local organizations, artists, and events. Ray has interviewed thousands of guests — and left her mark on them all.
AM-800 KXIC hosted one final interview with Ray on Tuesday, which involved flipping the spotlight and focusing it on Ray and her accomplishments.
Jay Capron, KXIC’s morning host, devoted a full one-hour slot to Ray, though there is no amount of time that could explain the impact she had on Iowa City, he said.
According to the Iowa Women’s Journalist website, Ray was born in Eagle Grove in 1922. She worked at the Eagle Grove Eagle, beginning at the age of 17. She then attended junior college before transferring to the University of Iowa in 1942, where Ray was the first female editor of The Daily Iowan, and she had an all female staff when men were off serving in World War II.
“Dottie was working for The Daily Iowan on D-Day, running around yelling, ‘Extra, extra,’ ” Capron said. “That’s how far she dates back to journalism in Iowa City.”
For the past 55 years, Ray has interviewed locals for 15 minutes on her show, five days a week, totaling more than 14,000 interviews.
In her last radio show, Ray welcomed guests, including Mayor Matt Hayek, who congratulated her
on her accomplishments.
Throughout the show, Ray spoke about her career and how she found her place in radio. She talked about her time in journalism and how exciting it was to report during wartime in America.
“I learned a great deal, and I’m a little embarrassed I left [the DI] for radio,” Ray said. “But not really.”
Capron said Ray had an immeasurable impact on her listeners and the number of people she touched throughout the years is “astounding.” He said Ray had an especially soft spot for the arts in Iowa City, and she had a passion to keep theater alive.
Chuck Swanson, the executive director of Hancher Auditorium, said Ray was a “true pro.”
“Dottie’s heart was in it,” Swanson said. “She wanted to do the best job for the city, and she is going to be deeply missed.”
Swanson said whenever Hancher had events to share, one of his first calls was always to Ray, because he knew her passion. The artists featured on the show always thought it was quite the experience, Swanson said.
“How often do you go into the home of a radio star who offers you coffee and wants to hear about your life?” Swanson said.
Christina Patramanis, the marketing director for the Riverside Theater, said Ray’s show has been an invaluable part to the community and essential to revitalizing the arts.
“Dottie Ray knew the Iowa City arts community very well,” Patramanis said. “And she had a history with the guests, so she could ask them special questions that were in-depth and fun.”
She said Riverside loved sharing upcoming events on her show, and Ray showcased those events in a engaging way on her show, which helped spark public interest.
“There is no one out there in the world that can do radio the way Dottie Ray does,” Swanson said.
Swanson said her long-running radio career is a testament to how she captivated her audience.
Capron said Ray wanted to make sure her usual guests and contacts would still be a big part of her show, and KXIC agreed they would be.
“Although she won’t be on air anymore, we’re going to keep her spirit alive,” Capron said.
In her final moments on KXIC, Ray wanted to make certain the station continued to serve Iowa City in the way she had. She said she wants KXIC to keep being the place where you can learn what’s going on in the community.
“Go KXIC, and happy Tuesday,” Ray said, her final words on radio.
The Daily Iowan
University of Iowa -- Iowa City, Iowa
May 14, 2014
Wright Biographies maintained by Sarah Thorson Little.
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