Tony Ganzer Found His Voice in Radio
News career takes JAMM grad to Arizona, Switzerland, Ohio
After graduating from the University of Idaho in 2006, radio journalist Tony Ganzer didn’t know how to make it into his chosen field: public radio. Someone had once told Ganzer his voice wasn’t right for public radio, suggesting he should choose another career. He didn't.
“I didn’t have a lot of hits after I graduated,” Ganzer said. “I kept filing spots (stories) on my own, and we (adviser Glenn Mosley and I) uploaded it onto a server so (Northwest Public Radio) stations could use it.” The occasional short stories filed to stations did not lead to full-time employment, so Ganzer continued to send resumes.
Finally, Ganzer got a break. Tom Banse of Northwest News Network in Olympia was going on vacation and he offered Ganzer a chance to fill-in. That gave him an opportunity to polish his reporting skills.
“While working at the (Washington state) Capitol, I had to cover a governor’s press conference,” Ganzer said. His recorder malfunctioned. “It was terrible and I thought my life was going to end,” he adds, jokingly. “[My editor] told me that it was fine, but now I should know to always check my equipment before an assignment.”
His editor in Olympia, Cathy Duchamp, offered to coach Ganzer on delivery of his radio stories. “Cathy helped me to think about delivering my radio stories in different ways, to really think about inflection, intonation, pace,” he said. “Finding one’s voice, or persona, in radio is almost a constant process. You must keep trying, and take advice offered to you. I encourage other journalism students to keep trying, because as long as you practice you can succeed.”
As a student, Ganzer was a staff writer for The Argonaut, a volunteer disc jockey at KUOI-FM, an intern at the Moscow-Pullman Daily News and an intern for Northwest Public Radio.
After graduation, and his stint in Olympia, Ganzer landed a full-time position as the morning producer and reporter at KJZZ, the NPR station in Phoenix.
In 2008, he was awarded an Arthur F. Burns fellowship from the International Center for Journalists, allowing him to travel through and work in Germany for two months. A year later, Ganzer, who had since learned German, was awarded another fellowship from the Robert Bosch Foundation, to live and work in Germany for a year. He worked with West German Public Radio and Bavarian Public Radio, traveling to Oslo, Norway, to cover the presentation of the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama.
After the fellowship, Ganzer found a position with World Radio Switzerland, then part of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation. But when the station was privatized, he decided to return to the United States. Through online coursework, he earned a master’s degree in International Relations and World Order from the University of Leicester in England. Then, he found his current job as the afternoon host for WCPN, the NPR station in Cleveland, Ohio.
Before heading east, Ganzer stopped in Moscow to meet fellow UI alumnus Michael Kirk, creator of the PBS documentary series, Frontline, who was on campus to receive an honorary degree. Seven years earlier, Ganzer won the Michael Kirk award for the outstanding senior in broadcast journalism.
“For me to have won his namesake award, and then get to meet him, it was a surreal and amazing experience,” said Ganzer, who asked Kirk to sign the original certificate.