Get to know your neighbor: The woman behind the voice
Citizen Telegram Contributor
If you know Cheryl Minter, you know she’s one hard workin’ gal and a lady of many passions. You may not always see her, but she’s there if you listen.
Minter, the station manager at Western Slope Communications, was born across the street from the San Diego Zoo in a Naval hospital. She chuckled when recalling the memory, saying her mother was “watching giraffes while she was in labor.” Her father was in the Navy, and her mother would often sit on the beach with her unborn child watching the shores and waiting for her sailor to come home, while she was pregnant with Minter.
After Minter was born, the family moved to Denver, where they lived until she was five, and then the family picked up and moved in 1970 to Rifle, where she lives today.
Minter has seen a lot of change in her long-time residency here in Rifle. She remembers being at the ribbon cutting for the highway back in the day.
At an early age she developed a deep passion for the great outdoors, and she still loves fishing, hiking, and exploring our natural world. She doesn’t miss a season for hunting if she can help it, and loves the simplicity and beauty of western Colorado.
Her love of the outdoors led her to her first job in the U.S. Forest Service visitor informational services, which eventually led to a passion of teaching about edible plants for food and medicinal purposes.
“Then, I went to radio school,” Minter said, “and here I am.”
When asked what made her get into radio, Minter replied, “a passion for old radio — local, terrestrial radio.”
Western Slope Communications revealed an opportunity that would allow Minter to help build the station from the ground, which, as Minter said, is an opportunity that “is pretty much unheard of anymore. I still pinch myself,” she added.
Minter’s most enjoyable aspect of her work continues to be the people.
“The phone calls, the connections, you joke with these people on the phone and for 60 seconds, you feel like you’ve made a connection,” she said. “[From the listener’s perspective] it’s like having a person right there with you in your car.”
Minter shared a touching and sorrowful story of a couple’s husband who called into the station requesting a specific song for their anniversary. Two days later, the wife called Minter to inform her that her husband had just died. Minter was able to give that last recording to the widowed wife and has since had a connection with her that remains to this day.
“We made a bond through her husband calling the radio station just because he liked the station and wanted to make a request on that special day and we can still share that happy memory,” Minter said.
There have been many happy memories between Minter and the people that call in, and it’s evidenced by Minter’s dedication to the station and to the community.
The radio industry has been one of the oldest forms of communication and has persevered through the ages of technology.
She believes radio’s purpose remains the same as it did when it began: to connect people; provide news; and be a place where the community can tune in and “find out what’s going on in their community.”
Minter also believes in the entertainment sector of radio and the “advertising in a venue that reaches the community’s ears.” Over the years, though, the radio industry has come a long way and a lot of changes have taken place.
“I don’t like changes — the conglomerates that have taken over radio. They almost shut it down,” she said.
Minter misses the days when radio was owned by people, not corporations. In her opinion, “it’s gotten too political, too commercial.”
In the case of Western Slope Communications, the struggles are much less, but can still be difficult and she referred to the as sometimes “silly struggles.”
“My biggest struggle is that I can’t play what I want when I want,” she said with a laugh.
Minter’s roll as station manager at Western Slope Communications is a do it all kind of position: make sure everything is on time and there isn’t any dead air; oversee production; make commercial spots; keep up on the station’s music library; community outreach and a lot more. Through it all, life is what drives her.
“It’s short,” she said. “I hope that young people realize that before I did.”
So when you turn your radio on, and you happen to tune into Western Slope Communication’s The River 95.5, take a listen and you might hear Minter. There’s a lot more behind the voice.
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