Marilyn at her retirement
Marilyn Hyder at her retirement.

Recently retired radio news anchor and reporter Marilyn Hyder will miss this week’s Christmas Eve family tradition of dining on her brother’s kibbeh meatloaf dish. Bill died from COVID-19 on Aug. 9, 2020, at age 77.

“COVID has dramatically changed my life,” Hyder told Times of San Diego. The 65-year-old attributed her retirement from radio in August of this year to the pandemic.

“After 40 years of radio news reporting, I have had enough. COVID had taken its toll on me. It was a strain and drain,” said Hyder, who has since relocated to her hometown of Phoenix near family members.

“Day after day, newscast after newscast, since early 2020, I kept sharing with listeners another story about more cases and more deaths. My God, these were real people in our community. We didn’t have time to grieve. Then, my brother Bill was in the hospital for 41 days, most of those days on a ventilator, before he died. So, for me, it was time to move on,” Hyder said.

She started her radio news career at a community college in Phoenix, where she and her husband still own a home. In San Diego, she worked more than 30 years at KBZT, KPBS, KFMB, KSDO and KOGO.

Hyder said she covered an “infinite” number of school board and city council meetings during her reporting career, along with press conferences and breaking news events. Her most memorable stories included wildfires (she reported when her cousin’s Valley Center home was destroyed in the 1990s), the 1994 Northridge earthquake and the 1996 Republican National Convention in San Diego, as well the Padres in the World Series and the Chargers in the Super Bowl.

“One time I got lost driving to a house fire and Cliff said, ‘Just follow the smoke,” said Hyder, who added that much of her career was spent working alongside veteran San Diego radio journalist Cliff Albert, news director at KOGO-AM 600. “Marilyn is one of the most talented radio news anchors and reporters I have worked with over the years,” said Albert.

“I loved my career in radio. I loved going to work everyday,” Hyder said. “Many people never find their passion and calling, but I found mine and now I feel fulfilled. I feel so fortunate for the opportunity to retire on my own terms.

“However, I believe the emotional and grief-stricken impact of COVID-19 on reporters and journalists is one of the most under-reported stories in the American news media,” said Hyder. “Cliff is a dear friend to me. He first hired me in 1986. We worked together for most of my career. But, there were several times over the past year when Cliff was the only person in the newsroom who could honestly say, ‘I understand.’”

After her first four months of retirement, Hyder said she has intentionally reduced her news intake. “At the beginning, I kept checking my phone out of habit,” she said. “Later, I got rid of a bunch of news alerts. I admit it has been strange after being totally consumed by news for decades. I’ve gone cold-turkey. Now, I only occasionally check the headlines and it feels really good. My stress level is down and now I think mostly about home remodeling projects.”

When family members meet for holiday gatherings this week, Hyder said, “It will be tough on an emotional level, but I don’t want to be sad because of COVID and the losses of so many great people. Nobody could make kibbeh as good as my brother.”

Jazmin Aguilera Named Head of Audio for LA Times Podcast

The Los Angeles Times has named Jazmin Aguilera as head of audio for “The Times,” the newspaper’s daily news podcast launched in May of this year.

Jazmin Aguilera

Previously, Aguilera host and produced “The Cut” podcast for New York Magazine. Before that, the native of Santa Cruz worked as interim executive and senior producer at Condo Mast, developing, producing and scoring podcasts for such magazines as Vogue and Pitchfork. She also worked at The New York Times producing podcasts for “The Daily.”

In a statement to employees, Shani Hilton, LA Times managing editor, said, “We all know that The Times has made powerful, addictive podcasts, from deep narratives to smart and chatty interviews, and Aguilera will take us further. Aguilera’s assignment will be to help our daily news show, `The Times,’ continue to grow and to support the amazing work of our producers, editors and reporters. She’ll also develop new shows, collaborate with outside partners and talent and find ways to amplify our work in audio. For those of you who have been pitching podcasts these last few months, and for those of you who have been thinking about pitching podcasts, Aguilera will be a powerful partner.”

Health Center Partners Appoints Marketing Director

San Diego-based Health Center Partners of Southern California, a nonprofit consortium of 17 federally-qualified, community clinics and primary healthcare centers in San Diego, Imperial and Riverside counties, has appointed Anne Laughlin Carpita as director of marketing and communication.

HCP said Laughlin Carpita will oversee all internal and external communications for HCP, including member and media relations, with a focus on building awareness and recognition for HCP, a private nonprofit.

“Anne brings a wealth of experience to this critical leadership position and we’re excited to welcome her to the health care industry,” said Henry Tuttle, president and CEO, Health Center Partners. “As one of several recent additions to our leadership team, she will be responsible for a robust marketing and communications program, which will support our growing network of health centers in Southern California.”

Laughlin Carpita has 18 years of experience in marketing, communications and public affairs with some of the nation’s largest employers. Prior to joining HCP, she was a member of Amazon’s Operations PR team, where she helped launch the company’s Hispanic PR program for the Americas. Fluent in Spanish, Laughlin Carpita has devoted much of her career to working with Hispanic communities.

Her background includes teaching Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Washington in Seattle and serving as a media spokesperson in English and Spanish. She has a master’s degree in architecture and master’s degree in Hispanic studies from the University of Washington.

“Transitioning to the health care industry is a very deliberate move in my career,” said Laughlin Carpita. “The fact that health care is a noble profession has been underscored by the COVID-19 pandemic and I’m honored to be part of such a diverse team, dedicated to supporting our frontline health care professionals and those they serve. I look forward to driving our strategic PR initiatives and to putting my background to work for the community.”

Study: Radio Can Reach Swing Voters in Midterms

A new study from Cumulus Media, a nationwide radio station owner and operator, says political advertising on radio could make the difference at reaching swing voters in 2022’s midterm elections.

“Recent elections have been decided by the slimmest of margins,” said Pierre Bouvard, Cumulus chief insights officer. “This new study reveals AM/FM radio’s ability to generate mass reach among elusive swing voters who could make a meaningful difference in the upcoming 2022 midterm elections, when all 435 representatives, 34 senators and 39 governors will face the voters.”

As reported by Insider Radio, an industry trade publication, Cumulus said Nielsen data shows that four of 10 voters are light TV viewers who are difficult to reach through TV, while AM/FM reaches more than four in five registered voters, who also are light TV viewers.

Additionally, according to Edison’s “Share of Ear” study, among registered voters, AM/FM has a 74 percent share of ad-supported audio and an 87 percent share of ad-supported audio in the car.

Insider Radio said, “AM/FM’s mass reach, lack of political ad clutter, dominant share of ad-supported media time spent and its unique ability to reach light TV viewers make it an especially effective vehicle for political advertising.”

Rick Griffin is a San Diego-based public relations and marketing consultant. His MarketInk column appears weekly on Mondays in Times of San Diego.