Steve Heimel

Senior Editor & Producer, Talk of Alaska Host

Steve-HeimelSteve attended the Art Academy of Cincinnati, and Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Most of what he learned in radio he got from people he worked with or for. Steve has always been a practicing artist, but has always made hisliving in various sorts of communication media. He started in radio as a disc jockey on WFRM in Coudersport, Pennsylvania in 1961. Steve worked in the independent film-making industry in New York in the late sixties. He was a broadcast personality in Philadelphia and Houston, among other cities. Steve was the main consultant for creating WVMR in Pocahontas County, West Virginia. His first job in Alaska was reporting news for KTNX. Steve moved to APRN in 1984, starting as the network’s Anchorage reporter. He has been a news trainer for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the NPR Training Channel.

Steve’s first journalism award was the Golden Quill from the Pittsburgh Press Club for a documentary he produced with Johanna Eurich about attempts to cover up a water pollution incident in 1979. A number of others followed. Steve became a journalist because small market DJ’s tend to have to do some news reporting, and those sorts of skills run in his family. In 1972 when he was working at KILT-FM in Houston, the evening news job on the AM station came open and he got it and was successful.

Steve always thought there was potential in public broadcasting. As a child he listened to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the science programs put together by the Cooperative Extension office at Penn State University. Later he discovered Pacifica Foundation stations in New York and Houston. Steve got pretty disgusted with KILT when his bosses repeatedly ordered him not to talk about Richard Nixon. Steve thought public broadcasting might be a better option and moved over to Pacifica. He has mostly worked for public broadcasting since then.

Steve and Johanna were making their living as independent producers in rural West Virginia in 1982 when NPR had a financial crisis, which destabilized their sales. They sought employment in Alaska, where public broadcasting was more financially healthy. Johanna became News Director at KSKA. Steve applied for a job at APRN when openings came up. After a number of twists and turns, the organizations merged.

sheimel (at) alaskapublic (dot) org

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