Story by Ashley Traylor, Contributing writer
After 26 years, Kate Lochte will retire from her position as station manager at WKMS, an NPR station operated by Murray State, effective Oct. 1.
Lochte attended Murray State for her Master of Arts in English. She came to Murray State with television and radio broadcast knowledge when her husband, Bob Lochte, joined the Journalism and Mass Communications Department staff.
Kate Lochte joined WKMS in 1989 as secretary, but quickly proved herself worthy of station manager. She said she has held positions from manager, program producer and host and on-air fundraising and interviewing to copy editor at WKMS.
“My favorite thing about working for WKMS was learning something new every day,” she said.
Lochte said over the years she has gained knowledge from the community and her regular listeners, as well as programming produced by other WKMS staff and volunteers. She said she also enjoys NPR, BBC and APM programming.
Her on-air work includes “Sounds Good,” the half-hour community arts show “What’s Goin’ On,” music programs such as “Ports of Call” and holiday specials such as “A Kentucky Christmas.”
Lochte worked with Allen Fowler, chief engineer for WKMS, to create not only a broader coverage area, but also to deliver a more reliable signal to rural areas.
Lochte and Fowler addressed this by adding low-power auxiliary systems, back-up service and ground systems to reduce interruption due to weather. The radio station now reaches nearly 6,700 square miles.
During Lochte’s time as manager, she was a participant in the Corporation for Public Broadcasting National Leadership Program “Next Generation,” where she began relationships with grant, policy and program makers.
As a result, Murray State received funding assistance for new studio equipment. Lochte’s participation in the program also helped with the expansion of WKMS.
Lochte was not only a driving force at WKMS, but also in the Murray community. Lochte served on the boards of Angel’s Attic, Calloway County’s Red Cross, Paducah Symphony Orchestra and Kentucky Broadcasters Association. She volunteered as a public information officer with the Calloway County local emergency management planning committee.
With Kate Lochte’s retirement becoming official on Oct. 1, Murray State is conducting a nationwide search for someone to fill her position.
Assistant Station Manager and News Director, Chad Lampe, was named interim station manager. This is the first time the radio station will have a new manager in 27 years.
The University honored Kate Lochte’s time devoted to WKMS by awarding Lochte with the “Kate B. Lochte Transmission Fund” this summer to be used for infrastructure and equipment.
Lochte said she is looking forward to retirement.
“I intend to explore my new life fully, apply myself to personal interests busily and enjoy my family attentively,” she said.