KNCO’s veteran voices leaving |

KNCO’s veteran voices leaving

Two of the best-known voices on KNCO-AM will be retiring from the station soon to relax and spend more time pursuing personal interests.

Jim Kerr, perhaps the best-known personality at the station and a fixture at community events for more than 20 years, will retire from the station July 1.

JoAnn Chartier, who has covered crime and government and worked as a morning and afternoon anchor at the station since 1991, will retire in early June to spend more time painting and writing.

“JoAnn has been an excellent news person,” said Bob Breck, CEO/general manager of the station. “She is in tune with the community and has excellent credibility with the people she covers.”

“After getting up at 6 a.m. to write my books and then start writing news at 10 a.m., writing and painting sound like a good alternative to me,” she said.

Chartier, who also worked at The Union as a government reporter, is the co-author, with Chris Enss, of four books on women in the American West. She is purchasing a house in Oregon and plans to write and paint – something she said she has neglected for several years.

Kerr, 66, joined the station in August 1987 as a part-time disc jockey while wrapping up a 20-year career in the U.S. Air Force, where he was an intelligence officer specializing in photo interpretation.

“He was playing Glen Campbell and other MOR (middle-of-the-road) music we played in those days,” said Breck. “One thing led to another, and he became the full-fledged morning host.”

Kerr, who is also the station’s news director, shares the 6 to 9 a.m. news slot with co-anchor Rita Stevens. He will be replaced by Tom Fitzsimmons, who works the same hours at sister station STAR 94.1 and occasionally fills in for Kerr.

Fitzsimmons will also become the station’s news director. His slot on STAR 94.1 will be filled by George Rath, who has been splitting his time between on-air work and sales.

Kerr won the National Association of Broadcasters’ 2003 Marconi Award as small-market personality of the year and is well-known in the area for his participation in fund raising and other community events.

Kerr said he has been contemplating retirement for 18 months and believes it’s time to wrap up his second career. He and his wife, Kay, will continue to live in the area, but they plan to spend more time traveling and doing other things.

“We’re going to do some special events for him,” Breck said. “We’re probably going to set up a community party.”

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