The man and mind behind KMOX’s Whole ‘nother Story and annual Holiday Radio Show is celebrating 20 years with NewsRadio 1120 KMOX.
In his decades-long career with KMOX, Kevin Killeen has worked through the transition of technology in the newsroom – from a time of 8-tracks, reel-to-reel tapes, rolodexes and newspaper clippings, to the Internet and Google.
Even the sounds of the newsroom are different, he says. No more does one hear the vibration of the cart eraser, the AP wire machine or electric typewriters.
Kevin has always been a fan of journalism. As a child, he played the part of Jimmy Olsen while his older brother played Superman.
“I was mostly attracted to it because you could smoke a pipe while you typed the news,” he says.
Kevin grew up in Webster Groves, the second-oldest of eight siblings.
He attended DeSmet High School and the University of Missouri – St. Louis, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communication.
Kevin was hired as a morning editor for KMOX in 1995 – running down the hall with 8-track carts and scripts at the crack of dawn, sometimes perfecting scripts right up until the news jingle was playing and the “anchors were grinding their teeth.”
“And they soon figured out that I was a much better reporter than I was a morning editor,” he says. “And that was fine with me because that meant I didn’t have to get up at 3:30 in the morning anymore.”
Kevin picked up side projects along the way, including Whole ‘nother Story because he “was always getting in trouble for injecting humor into the news.”
What keeps him in the field? Journalism is different every day, Kevin says, with a variety of people and ideas, so you don’t feel boxed in.
“Here’s another thing I like. You get to be a truth seeker,” he says. “There’s so many voices out there … telling us their version of reality, but the reporter gets to say, ‘Wait a minute,’ and then ask the question that everyone is thinking.
“That’s the royalty of the job. It’s not the money. It’s that you’re viewed as somebody who’s not making up stuff. You’re trying to get to the truth.”
Webster Groves is still home for Kevin, and he lives there with his wife of 30 years, Nancy. They have four children – Katie, Kevin, Jack, and Emily.
Kevin says his two boys are very much into science, “which impresses me because I was not good at science.”
His oldest daughter, Katie, is an English teacher, “so she took after me in the world of words.”
And Kevin’s youngest daughter, Emily, “likes to sing Broadway showtunes to her record player in her room.”
Kevin enjoys playing the piano, reading, watching old movies and going to garage sales and flea markets.
He has written two novels – “Never Hug a Nun” and “Try to Kiss a Girl”. His third novel, “Snow Globes and Hand Grenades”, the adventures of an eighth-grade girl, is due out in November.
Quick Questions with Kevin:
Favorite restaurant? Steak ‘n Shake. I usually have a Patty Melt, cup of chili and chocolate malt. No fries.
Favorite St. Louis attraction? Staying at home.
Favorite music? Whatever the kids are playing on the piano. We get Chopin, Duke Ellington, Hoagey Carmichael. They’re pretty good.
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? Dubuque, Iowa, in the 1890s to visit my great-grandfather I never met.
Person who made the most impact on you? It’s a tie – Mom and Dad.
If you could only keep three possessions, what would they be? A toothbrush, a razor and clean underwear.
If you are not at work, you’re probably doing what? Wondering what it’s all about.
If you won the lottery, what would you spend the money on? Get my wife a new kitchen, because the cabinet doors constantly need tightening with a screwdriver. I’m like a submariner tightening bolts all the time.
If you could interview one person, who would that be? My great-great-grandson.
What is your strongest personal quality? Inconsistency.
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A jury finds former student Sean Johnson guilty in the January 2013 shooting that left his financial aid adviser wounded at Stevens Institute of Business and Arts downtown.