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 Feature Story

BY LINDSEY TINNELL

Dottie Ray (B.A. 1944, M.A. 1945) in her home studio.
PHOTO BY MYRIAM FALLON
More than 25,000 interviews over a span of 49 years, Dottie Ray’s radio talk show still airs everyday for fifteen minutes, letting viewers in on a little slice of what's going on in the Iowa City area. At 8:45 a.m. Monday through Friday, Ray interviews different members of the community about arts, culture, and current events.

"…She provides a local flavor to the airwaves. People love either being a guest to talk about their events, or listening to her show to see what the local events are." Also, she offers a cozy, folksy atmosphere for guests and listeners," Steven Grace, Program Director of AM-800 KXIC Radio said.

Originally from Eagle Grove, Iowa, Ray (B.A. 1944, M.A. 1945) became editor of The Daily Iowan for an all-female staff when many men were at war during this time.

Ray started in radio with a radio news show for the DI. From there, she became 'President Alice,' a radio personality that would host birthday parties for kids every Saturday. For 30 minutes, Ray would entertain kids that had a birthday that week with games and treats while on air.

Eventually, Ray attained her own radio show, which she hosted from her home. Ray describes her interviews as "literally like coming to have a cup of coffee with someone."

Dottie Ray interviews guests in October for her long-running radio program.
PHOTO BY MYRIAM FALLON

Ideas for the show come from suggestions from people that want to go on the air, but Ray doesn't discuss anything controversial or allow politicians running for office on the show. She will, however, discuss significant issues affecting the community. One issue that stuck in Ray’s mind was a tax increase in Iowa City. She did 15 shows about the increase, with multiple guests coming on the air to show different points of views. While she doesn't tell her opinion on air, she does strive for a fair and balanced outlook of each issue.

In addition to the radio show, Ray is also on many committees and boards, including United Way and Goodwill Industries.

"She loves to talk to people, and is a great advocate of many local organizations, and a great advocate for Iowa City," Grace said.

Ray is known as a voice of the community, especially in the journalism realm. Pam Creedon, Associate Director for External Relations, invited Ray into her First-Year Seminar course October 3. Creedon wanted her students to hear from a speaker that had a lot of background in journalism. Since Ray is also a graduate from the journalism program and an expert on radio journalism, she was the perfect guest for her class.

"She's just a joy," Creedon said.

Ray hasn't found a time when people didn’t want to listen to her show. Her show used to be on at 11:45 a.m. and when they changed the time to 8:45 a.m., Ray was sure the show would be taken off air. It was quite the opposite.

"The world is in cars in the morning," Ray said. Ray's overwhelming fan base, in addition to the number of people traveling in the morning listening to the radio, proved to Ray that she shouldn't leave the air just yet.


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