KOA’s Mandy Connell went from making a living in the air to on it

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It’s not that often you find a News/Talker putting their money where their busy mouth operates.

Kevin Miller is real. He’s not a poser. His radio career has included some pretty selfless stuff. In a determined world, ‘what do I gain?’ Miller achieved some of his proudest moments while acting in the interests of others, away from the microphone.

He went to Iraq twice in his early days in radio while working at the WPTF in Raleigh, North Carolina. “I had served in the Army Reserves in high school and college at the University of Akron,” Miller said.

“I wanted to show the tasks and experiences the average National Guard guy went through after his deployment. I wanted to try to capture what they went through. Here are guys who trained over the weekend and suddenly found themselves in Iraq. Miller said he pitched the idea for the trip to management and found money to pay for his expenses, but gave even more.

“There’s no life insurance offered to a guy like me if you do something like that, go to a war zone,” Miller explained. “Nobody else I knew wanted to sign the waiver saying you’re alone. But I did, and it was amazing. It was my first cross-platform experience. I wrote daily copy and produced videos that came out regularly.

Miller said he did the same later when he was at KIDO in Boise, Idaho, where he hosts his morning show today. “The second-largest National Guard deployment was from Idaho,” he said.

“There were also 2,000 letters addressed to the soldiers which we hand-delivered. It meant a lot to the soldiers to receive them. There are a lot of things we do in life where we don’t understand the meaning of what we’re doing,” Miller said. “When you enter a war zone, on patrol with the soldiers, it becomes real. It’s putting it into play.

He grew up a self-proclaimed “army brat”, moving seven times when he was younger, following his father, who was in the US Air Force. He spent 11 years training in Akron, Ohio, “east of the river,” as he describes it. I forgot to ask him which river he was talking about.

Miller got his first breath of figurative air for radio when he listened to Howie Chizek on WNIR, a station that Miller says was one of the first to feature news/talk. Chizek had the longest non-guest radio show in America. “He was always the devil’s advocate, but at the same time he was your best friend,” Miller explained. “He was subtle. Instead of yelling at his guests, he would say something more subtle like, “I don’t know, senator. » »

Over the course of his career, Miller, 54, said he got to know high profile speakers like Sean Hannity. “Sean believes in what he says,” Miller explained. “Off the air, he’s your friend, loyal to the extreme.

In addition to Chizek, Miller said he enjoyed the banter and the connections on the former CNN show, Crossfire, which ran from 1982 to 2005 and then from 2013 to 2014. “They were a little more civilian than we’re going to see today,” Miller said. “A show like Crossfire really made me think about things.

He worked in security when he was young, especially at night. “I would call local stations at night and ask for a song. It was fun asking Expose Point of no return at three o’clock in the morning.

With his daily show on KIDO, Miller said he was influenced by sports personalities Paul Finebaum and Pat Smith. “From these guys I learned that it was the show itself that was the star. I learned that the host can be devil’s advocate and recognize that there are two passionate sides in an interview. I try to avoid the echo chamber and radio tuned.

KIDO is a tough place to work radio because it’s not a powder keg like the rest of the nation. News/Talk ‘ammunition’ is not readily available as it is in major cities. “It’s difficult here because there’s no open anger; there is no anxiety. For a show that’s not afraid to mix it up, it’s not easy when the people are as nice as The Waltons, the 70s TV show family, not the family that owns the supercenter power plant,

With his career, Miller said he’s done thinking about being the next “big” thing. Instead, her focus shifted to making a difference in her listening area. There are times when being called a “turkey” can make you raise your feathers. Other times, like when Miller dresses up as a turkey on Thanksgiving and spends six days living in a Walmart, the term doesn’t bother him as much. And what does a turkey do in a Walmart when he has to go to the bathroom? It would give new meaning to “Cleaning Aisle Six”.

“I use Walmart twice a year,” Miller said. “On Thanksgiving Day, we broadcast live from the Walmart in Nampa, Idaho. That’s when we have a turkey drive for our Mission Turkey Drive to help provide the hungry and homeless in the community with hot dinners for the holidays. In addition to collecting thousands of turkeys, Miller said he recently raised $63,000 for Boise Rescue Mission Ministries.

“It’s not about me,” Miller said. “It’s a collective effort; we are a ship. Our ship aims to make a difference.

Miller said he was kind of a crook, in a good way.

So good that he actually cheated a radio station manager for his first gig. Okay, maybe he didn’t scam the guy, but he appealed to the man’s inclinations.

“I set up the guy with my chemistry teacher in exchange for a chance at the radio station,” Miller confessed. “Our class was doing science presentations in the room, and I started talking to this guy. I mentioned our chemistry teacher and stalked her. They went out on a date. Miller said that He wasn’t sure if any sparks were lit between the two, but it marked his first radio gig.

Miller also listened to Rush Limbaugh early on. “I had never listened to him before, and I thought he ripped off the character of Howie Chizek.” Later, Miller appeared on Limbaugh’s show three times.

He loves Boise and Idaho. “To be here, you have to want to be here,” Miller explained. “I found my family here. I went through difficult times, like a divorce, a bankruptcy. But you won’t make it here in Boise if you’re a jerk or a jerk. You see listeners all the time. During a ball game. At the grocery store, so you better be a decent guy.

Miller said the shouting, shouting and degrading of others wouldn’t fly with his KIDO listeners. “I like the idea that I learned early on. We have to agree to disagree. Be civil.

As we age, we tend to learn to focus on the things that really matter. Miller said the things that matter to him are right in front of him. “I have two granddaughters,” he said. While he married a second time, the daughter is from his wife; Miller said parenthood couldn’t be more special. “They call me Pops,” he said. “We play kickball and other games. It is fascinating to delve into the life of a child.

Miller is who he is, and he says you can’t be who you’re not. So, in that spirit of authenticity, Miller is, in the best possible way, a “turkey.”

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