When Ethel Holder Preston (’66) read in the Emory & Henry Alumni Magazine that the College radio station was now expanded and broadcasting NPR, she was intrigued. Because, as fate would have it, after a long career in education, she finds herself working for the local NPR station in Park City, Utah.
Ethel is the Office/Traffic Manager for KPCW FM in Park City, and gets to be on the air a bit, too. “I operate the board for the Morning Edition hour….and I come on for a 2 minute break about every 10 minutes.”
She says she has never worked in a radio station before, but has had a great time getting to know how radio works. She has also gotten to meet some interesting people. In addition to all the radio personalities she formerly knew only by voice, she has also gotten to meet local government officials and celebrities who are interviewed at the station while in town for the Sundance Film Festival.
Ethel had a full career as an educator, teaching psychology at John Tyler Community College, J. Sargent Reynolds Community College, and New River Valley Community College. After retiring from education, she took a job in training in a Richmond envelope factory – and four days after she started there was a highly publicized anthrax attack that used the postal system. Ethel observes “No one wanted buy envelopes!”
With her job downsized and her husband deceased, she decided to move to Park City to be where the grandchildren were. She initially took a few part time jobs – she taught a little, served as a receptionist for a private school, and even worked the front desk of a boutique hotel. One evening she was driving home from her job at the private school when she heard an announcement on the local NPR station for a job opening. The rest, as they say, is history.
She has loved Park City, both winter and summer, and enjoys how service-oriented the community is. But the thing she misses most about living in the southeast is the sense of humor there. “My uncle could tell a story about something sad like his car breaking down and have us all rolling with laughter.”
You don’t have to travel to Utah to hear KPCW, you can tune in on www.kpcw.org and listen to how Ethel Preston has turned relocation into a real vocation.
Photo: Ethel gets to meet a wonderful array of celebrities who pass through the offices of KPCW, and here she is posing with Shari Lewis's daughter, Mallory Lewis, and the famous Lamb Chop puppet.