WVXU's King resigns, will teach at Xavier

The man who built WVXU-FM into a Peabody Award-winning, seven-station network returns to the classroom | December 15, 2004

Jim King, “Doc King” to his loyal listeners, has announced he is stepping down as director of broadcasting for WVXU and the X-Star Radio Network on Dec. 31.

King joined Xavier University in 1976 as its first full-time professional manager of WVXU, then a tiny 10-watt, part-time FM station. Since 1976, the station has increased power to 26,000 watts. WVXU has won nearly every major award in broadcasting, including America’s top industry honor, the George Foster Peabody Award in 1994-1995.

King also formed the X-Star Radio Network, headquartered at WVXU, which includes seven stations in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan. He is a tenured full professor in Xavier’s department for communication arts.

“I am extremely proud of the staff and listeners of WVXU who have made the past three decades possible,” said King. “I am also thankful to Xavier University for the freedom it has given us, allowing WVXU to become one of the leading and most innovative public radio stations in America.”

“Doc King’s contribution to public radio, Xavier University and his many thousands of listeners cannot be measured,” said University President Michael J. Graham, S.J. “WVXU and the X-Star Radio Network have helped put Xavier University on the national map. Jim’s entrepreneurial spirit, passion for broadcasting and commitment to business ethics has made him a true pioneer and outstanding role model in the field of public radio.”

King began his broadcasting career with his own pirate radio station as a youngster growing up in northern Michigan. That experience led him to his first full-time job in radio as a high school sophomore. King earned his B.A. in English literature at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo before going on to earn Master’s degrees in English literature and ancient history.

King earned his Ph.D. in radio/TV/film from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. After completing his doctoral program, King accepted an offer to teach audio at the University of Cincinnati. He was a faculty member at U.C. from 1973 until he made the move to Xavier in 1976.

”It has been a privilege to work with Jim over the years and call him a friend,” said Leo Klein, S.J., vice president of mission and ministry. “I was here in 1976 when he came to Xavier and began to transform WVXU from a tiny, student-run radio station in the basement of Alter Hall to the sophisticated, nationally-recognized operation it is today.”

Over the years, WVXU has continued to transform itself, offering listeners unique and innovative locally produced and NPR programming that is not available on any other local station.

King and the station have made a name for themselves with alternative programming that includes old time radio broadcasts such as “Jack Benny,” 'Fibber McGee' and 'The Shadow' as well as 'Audiosyncrasies,' a local music program described as 'adult, acoustic and alternative.' During King’s tenure with WVXU, the station and network have won every major award in national, state and local broadcasting. The WVXU staff is most proud of winning the 1994 George Foster Peabody Award, the only one given to a local public radio station and one of only three ever given to a Cincinnati radio station.

In reflecting on his move back to the academic side of the University, King noted: “It seems like the right thing to do at the right time. I began my professional career as a professor and I look forward to the ‘circularity’ of ending my career as it had begun.”

Vickie Jones, who has worked side by side with King as director for administration and public affairs at WVXU since 1996, will fill King’s position. Jones currently manages the day-to-day operation of the station. She has been at Xavier for 20 years, serving as director for public relations from 1984-1996.

"I appreciate the opportunity Jim King gave me eight years ago when he brought me onboard at WVXU. He has been my teacher, mentor and friend,” said Jones. “I am grateful for the faith and trust he and Xavier have placed in me as I take on this new role. I am committed to providing our communities with the same quality programming they have experienced on WVXU for the past 30 years."

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