KINGMAN, Ariz. -- For years he was a familiar voice on valley radio, giving listeners all the news during morning drive time.
And while this popular radio host headed to Kingman to retire, he is broadcasting more than ever.
Longtime valley residents might recognize the voice they hear on KKAY global radio as Harry Hoyler from KTAR AM.
Hoyler says he spent many years on the Phoenix airwaves. “But I was morning drive editor, and also hosted a program called the Arizona Almanac," Hoyler says.
And while he left KTAR years ago, Hoyler is still on the air, broadcasting from his home outside Kingman, where we caught up with him delivering the weather report.
“We are going to go ahead and call for mostly sunny skies throughout the day, look for temperatures to be in the low to mid 70's," he told his listeners.
But, here's the hitch. That weather forecast isn't for Kingman, or anywhere else in Arizona. It's for Donaldsonville, Louisiana, a place Hoyler says is small but beautiful. “It is suburban Baton Rouge. Quaint little town, 210 years old," he tells us.
Hoyler and wife Bridget own KKAY Radio in Louisiana, but wanted to be closer to family in Las Vegas and in the valley. So Hoyler "semi-retired" to Kingman. But he soon discovered keeping the radio station up to his standards would be a full time job.
“We don’t do any network programming whatsoever," Hoyler says."We don’t carry any programming for professional football or college or anything like that. Everything we do is local.”
Still, nearly all programming including gospel, cajun, and what Hoyler calls swamp pop,
travels from the main studio in Lousiana to Hoyler's home studio in Kingman, then back out again,
“Because I absolutely flat out refuse to go to satellite programming," says Holyer. "I'm just not going to do it. We want to be live and local.”
And that commitment to local really centered on high school sports in Louisiana.
“We try to carry some of the sports from every one of the high schools, whether it be football, basketball, softball or baseball. We are the only radio station in southeast Louisiana, we think, the great gulf south, that carries girls' softball, high school softball, “ says Hoyler. "That has been a tremendous, tremendous thing for our radio station. And for the parents because softball traditionally is played in the afternoon, parents are at work and they can’t go to the game.”
And he has now brought that commitment to Kingman Academy of Learning.
Because it is the only charter school in the area, with lots of away games, most parents rarely get the chance to see or hear their kids in action. Hoyler says the travel just doesn’t allow it, “Because if you look, people who are working up to 5:00 on a Friday evening, there is no conceivable way, unless they own a Lear jet , that they are going to get to Phoenix in time for a football game."
So, all season long, often from a makeshift studio set up in Bridget's truck, Hoyler has brought
games through internet radio back to families both in Kingman, and across the country, “We have one young man who plays for the team, his dad is in the service, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania," Hoyler says. But that dad has enjoyed nearly every game through KKAY.
And in the end, whether it's in Phoenix, Louisiana or Kingman; it’s being able to bring people together that keeps Hoyler on the air, “Those are the things. What we are really about,” he says with a smile.
Hoyler hopes to add even more sports, and is working on a class to get students involved in the broadcasts as well.