Guzman Grew Up with Radio

“Radio has always been a constant in my life,” said Chabella Guzman (KRVN, Rural Radio Network, Scottsbluff Nebraska).

“My family lived in the country in the ’70s and there were only three channels on TV, so I often listened to the radio for music, shows, and news. I adored the DJs who played my favorite songs,” Guzman said.

I lived in a community where you either knew someone or you worked in agriculture. I loved my childhood growing up on a small acreage farm, being in 4-H, and going to a small country school. I never thought of being a radio personality. I thought I would be a firefighter, a teacher, and then a writer. It wasn’t until college at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln when a friend helped me choose a major. I decided to follow what until then had been a dream, radio. I graduated with a BA in broadcast journalism. My first radio position was at KLDZ in Lincoln, Nebraska, a now-defunct oldies station. The spot was an overnight stint, but after a few months, it became clear I couldn’t make enough to support myself and pay for my college loans,” Guzman said.

“So, in 1991, I broke with the media business and went to work for a Goodyear warehouse; the pay was incredible. After a few years there, I had saved enough to move to California and follow another dream of working in Hollywood. Hollywood is no place for a semi-introvert with no connections. I went to countless cast calls and did some minor grip work. After a year or so of meeting people in the business, I decided I would need to be a salesperson --of myself and my skills. Sales is not something I’m good at, so I moved to Kansas City, Missouri.

“I spent two years in Kansas City before taking another chance, this time on Alaska. I had always wanted to move to Alaska and found a job at a fishery in Naknek. The work froze off the thin layer of my fingers as I packed frozen fish all day. It made me realize I didn’t want to live where the day and night were too much like seasons. I landed back in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, my hometown, to be closer to family. Plus, I was able to get back into journalism,” Guzman said.

“In 2003, I freelanced for The Business Farmer while working at a drug testing service. In 2004, I landed a position as a news clerk at The Star-Herald; and in 2008, a reporter position opened. I covered three beats, but none was agriculture. I left The Star-Herald in 2014 to run a small weekly paper, The Index, in Mitchell, Nebraska. I have the highest regard for salespeople, their creative abilities and thick skins. I could fill the paper with everything but advertising. The community supported me, but after a year, I knew I would never be able to grow unless I could generate more advertising outside of the community. After 18 months, I closed the doors on my dream of owning a successful paper,” Guzman said

“About the time I was closing The Index, KNEB was looking for a farm director. I applied; and in 2016, I began working with great people in a great company. I may not be like many of the young or veteran farm broadcasters, as I didn’t start in agriculture, but I made it in a roundabout way. Each day I look forward to working with my colleagues across the state at the Rural Radio Network and locally at KNEB. Mostly, though, I enjoy informing our listeners about the local and national news they can use, gather information from, and, at times, enjoy,” Guzman concluded.

Bottom photo: Chabella Guzman holds a snake when doing a remote broadcast at Riverside Discovery Zoo in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.