News voice on the radio

Dave Marz

Photo By Jimmy Boegle

Dave Marz, 42, moved to the area in 1999 to become the news director for KKOH 780 AM. Marz has been in the radio biz for two decades—the eruption of Mount St. Helens was one of his first big stories while he worked in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. He also conducted the first radio interview with notorious Aryan Nations Church head Richard Butler. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English and broadcast communications from Washington State University in 1998. He also has a second job—as a baseball umpire for local Babe Ruth leagues and high schools.

Why in the heck is KKOH so darned conservative?

There’s a good audience out there. You’ve got people like Rush [Limbaugh], and he pulls a good number of listeners. We just provide them with that service. We know people listen because of the popularity of Rush, The Breakfast Club and Rusty [Humphries].

Does the station’s conservative nature filter into the news reports?

Well, you know that certain stories will be of interest to a certain group of people, but we’re not limited to that. My motto in the newsroom is “everything’s news.” You want to keep the listeners you have, but you also want to try to attract other people. And with things like the Martis Fire, that’s not a conservative issue, and a lot of people are tuning in if they see smoke.

Have you ever thought of doing some more liberal stuff?

First of all, my part here is the news, so I’ll put that caveat in. But when it comes to the rest of the shows, I’d say that what we’re doing works. Rusty Humphries and [Breakfast Club host] Ross Mitchell do a good job at trying to present some sort of balance. In the news department, I get in trouble from listeners when we run too much [about Democratic Sen.] Harry Reid. But then again, we get in trouble when we run too much [about Republican Sen.] John Ensign.

Ensign and Reid are on different sides of the political spectrum? Some would disagree.

I’ll say that our audience perceives that. When they hear Harry Reid in a story, they wonder why we haven’t talked to John Ensign. On some issues, I’d say they are on opposite sides, and on other issues, I’d say they’re not. But they’re both on the same side when it comes to Nevada. I’ve been here for two years, and I agree.

What’s the longest day you’ve had in your two years here?

The ArrowCreek Fire was a long day. The Martis Fire gave me a few long days. Then, on some normal days, I’ll be in here doing a report for a sister station at 4 a.m., and then I’ll have to go on a late tour of the Siena. I went home at 6 p.m. It’s only a 14-hour day; some people work longer. And no day is the same. There’s always something different to cover, and I like being involved with that. It keeps me being David.