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Weekly Features
Life in the Small Market
A collaborative weekly feature, Life in the Small Market offers up thoughts and views from small town broadcasters across America.
Ted Asregadoo is the public affairs director and morning traffic anchor on 101.7 KKIQ and 92.1 KKDV in Pleasanton and Walnut Creek, CA. Prior to working in radio, Ted was an adjunct college professor who taught courses in political science, history, and American civilization at colleges and universities in both California and Pennsylvania. Ted is probably the most credentialed morning traffic anchor in small market radio as he holds a Bachelor's and Master's degree in political science from San Francisco State University, and a Master's and Doctorate in American Civilization from the University of Pennsylvania. You can contact Ted at:

Ted Asregadoo

My "Life in the Small Market" story could be titled "The Accidental Career." Why? Because being in broadcasting was something of a side job to my intended career: teaching.

For reasons that would take too long to explain, I made a career change that took me out of the classroom and onto the airwaves full time in the #4 market in the country (i.e., San Francisco). However, since KKIQ and KKDV radio are located in suburbs outside of San Francisco proper, but still in the 9 counties that make up the Bay Area, these station are technically in the #4 market. The programming philosophy of both stations is intensely local. Since KKDV only broadcasts to one county, and KKIQ serves 3 partial counties, the non-musical content is about "hometown" issues of the suburban communities in those counties.

When I started as KKIQ's News/Public Affairs Director in 2005 (KKDV hadn't launched yet), it was a one-person operation. Even though the title I had sounded impressive, the truth was I was the only voice on the air that delivered news, traffic, and hosted/produced the public affairs programming.

My day would start at 4:30am. I would quickly scan 3 to 4 newspapers and look at the AP "wire" to find local, national and international news. Then I would settle in and write my six 'casts for morning drive (my first newscast was at 5:50am). In addition to news, I did the traffic reports, too. Fortunately, I worked with a traffic producer who gathered traffic information for me. And since traffic reports aired every 10 minutes, I had to revise the information very quickly before going on the air. Because of breaking news stories, I would often write and revise stories between traffic reports - not an easy thing to do when you have to deliver a traffic reports every 10 minutes!

Since the morning shows on KKIQ and KKDV are entertainment driven, I am often part of the "show"-- trying my best to provide witty banter while one eye is on the clock and the other host. From my vantage point of the traffic studio, I can see both morning show hosts, so I am constantly swinging my chair around to face one host or the other when it's my time to do a report.

But fun doesn't end there! My other role of public affairs director keeps me quite busy, too! I produce two programs that air weekly on both stations. One program is a long-form interview show that discusses current news issues. It's called "In Focus" and you can hear archived programs HERE. The other program, entitled "Helping Your Hometown," spotlights local non-profit organizations in 60 seconds (archived programs can be heard HERE).

When the owners of KKIQ bought KKDV and launched it in late July '05, they asked me to do the traffic reports for both stations. I would retain my public affairs duties, but headline news would be handled by another anchor. Since traffic conditions in the Bay Area are quite horrible, traffic news is highly valued by our listeners. However, unlike news reporting, traffic reporting is repetitive and can be tedious. Trying to find new ways of saying pretty much the same thing about road conditions and accidents can be challenging. But I find that if you provide the details of what happened in a particular accident, listeners are not only fascinated by what happened, but are grateful for the information. I find that I don't have to report the "gory" details, but by using good sense on what to spotlight and presenting the information that's not sensationalistic, listeners get the early word on very useful information that helps them plan their commutes.

One of the many advantages of working at a small market station are the opportunities to learn a great deal from the many hats one can wear. I have learned a great deal about news writing, news anchoring, commercial production, how to be an effective interviewer, how to be "quick on the mic," and how to bond with listeners so they see you as a friend and not just "that person on the radio." While many broadcasting department at colleges and universities are quite good, learning the ropes at a small market station teaches you many practical things college radio can't quite simulate.

Many contributors to this page have said it before, but it should be repeated: learn as much as you can from your first gig. Ask questions from more experienced co-workers and solicit their feedback. Doing so will certainly help you attain new skills that will benefit you when you move on to your next job.