For Debbie Monterrey, being behind a microphone has always been natural.
And whether it was singing into the cord of a coffee percolator, interviewing her dolls, or handing out a neighborhood newsletter, the KMOX Morning Drive anchor has found a way to share her message.
“I was always that person who wanted to tell people about stuff, so the radio gives me 50,000 watts to do that,” she says.
Debbie is the daughter of immigrant parents. Her mother was born in the Netherlands, and her father was born in Indonesia, making Debbie a first-generation American.
She was born and raised in Chicago, and graduated from then-Northeast Missouri State University with a degree in mass communications.
Her first radio gig was at a radio station in Kirksville, Mo., during her sophomore year of college.
Since then, she’s mostly worked in radio, jumping in and out of public relations and work in Wisconsin government.
“I’ve done other things, but radio somehow always comes calling, again,” Debbie says.
She relocated from Madison, Wisc., to St. Louis after being asked if she would be interested in working mornings on-air at KMOX, saying such an opportunity is “nothing you could ever turn your nose at.”
Debbie has since lived in the city of St. Louis for 12 years. Her husband, Steve, is an urban ag advisor for Hort Americas, and he designs urban grow and lighting stations and conducts plant trials.
The couple has two children, a daughter, Caeli, born in China, and a son, Beck, born in Ethiopia.
Debbie loves the tight-knit community feeling of city life.
A self-proclaimed cheerleader for St. Louis city, she and her family live in Tower Grove South, and much of her free time (what little she has) is spent enjoying her neighborhood and the businesses and people in it.
“It’s just, it’s like this great small town, and I just feel really proud of it because everybody really pulls together, everybody really is interested in the success of the neighborhood,” she says.
One wish Debbie has for St. Louis is for the city to “stop talking and start doing” in order to change an overall negative attitude some have about the city – and she thinks there’s enough of a nucleus of people who can make that happen.
Quick Questions with Debbie:
Favorite restaurant? Favorite? Wow, that’s hard. I’ll pick a favorite AREA. That would be South Grand because there are so many nationalities and countries represented. Second favorite would be The Grove, for the same reasons.
Favorite St. Louis attraction? I always recommend that visitors go to City Museum. It’s our most unique attraction. And I think I’m the Duchess of City Museum on Yelp! It’s also home of Circus Harmony, a favorite organization of mine. But I wish I could enact a law that everyone visit Central Library downtown at least once. That’s my happy place. I love it.
Favorite music? Lately, I’ve been listening to tons of pop music, thanks to my kids. My comfort music is alternative 80s music! But I have a pretty eclectic music collection.
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? Greece has always been at the top of my list, but I haven’t made it there yet. Santorini, Crete…can’t wait!
Person who made the most impact on you? My parents. I’m blessed to have the most wonderful parents who’ve overcome so much and given my sister and me the very best foundation. The older I get, the more I realize how fortunate I am to have had those two people shaping my life.
If you could only keep three possessions, what would they be? My scrapbooks/photo albums, my iPhone (or iPad), my lip balm.
If you are not at work, you’re probably doing what? Sleeping, carting my kids somewhere, cleaning the house, reading. (Yeah, it’s a glamorous life).
If you won the lottery, what would you spend the money on? I would donate a big chunk to Circus Flora, Friends of Tower Grove Park, Stray Rescue and a few other great local organizations. And then I would totally do all the upgrades on my house that I’ve been putting off for too long! (And then I’d go to Greece.)
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and its premise could change your life. Showing gratitude on this day, and every day, will make you a happier person. There’s simply no downside to being positive.
Anthony Kiekow, now with the St. Louis Symphony, is a familiar face to many in St. Louis as a former reporter and news anchor for FOX 2 and KMOV. He speaks with Debbie Monterrey about how his careers came about despite major obstacles in his teenage years.
We remember longtime St. Louis Broadcaster Bill Wilkerson who recently passed. Wilkerson enjoyed a 40-year career in St. Louis, first at KMOX, and then KTRS radio. From February 2016, here’s Bill Wilkerson and Wendy Wiese with Debbie Monterrey.
Scott Steinberg, award-winning professional speaker and trends expert, author of numerous books, including “The Modern Parent’s Guide to Facebook and Social Networks,” “Make Change Work for You,” and “Reinventing Yourself.” He chats with Debbie Monterrey.
Tim Nowak is the executive director of World Trade Center St. Louis. Since 1993, WTCSTL has been helping companies in our region grow globally. He and Debbie Monterrey discuss St. Louis’ global presence, foreign investment and the importance of diversity.
She’s a familiar face if you are involved in non-profits in St. Louis. For more than a dozen years, Debra Hollingsworth managed the multi-million dollar philanthropic fund for SBC/AT&T in St. Louis. She speaks with Debbie Monterrey about the ripple effect of doing good.
Ken and Nancy Kranzberg are one of St. Louis’ most philanthropic couples, having donated millions to the arts and helping rebuild Grand Center. They discuss their loves, lives and the joy of giving with Debbie Monterrey.
KMOX’s Debbie Monterrey profiles Sean Spencer, the Executive Director of Tower Grove Neighborhoods Community Development Corporation. There is plenty of good news in the city. Twelve years ago, the TGNCDC was dealing with 80 vacant buildings in Shaw alone. That number is down to 3 or 4. Families with children are returning in droves to the South City, new schools are opening and expanding and new businesses opening.
He’s a radio veteran and a bit of a journeyman–a familiar and beloved voice for many St. Louisians during the hey-day of rock radio. On this edition of KMOX Profiles Debbie Monterrey catches up with Randy Raley.
Jorge Riopedre is the President of Casa de Salud and chats with Debbie Monterrey about its success, the Mosaic project, and why he won’t be vacationing in Cuba on this episode of KMOX Profiles.