Ask Deborah Begel what she likes to cover, and she’ll likely answer, “What I’m working on now.” Now that’s the kaleidoscope of news on KSFR. She broadcasts short news summaries weekdays mornings and some afternoons on the hour and longer ones at 7:29 a.m. and 12:06 pm. And that’s also the way of news, she says, because news changes constantly. New information comes in, often changing the slant and interpretation. “That’s why it’s good to be flexible and keep my mind open,” she says. “Listeners can decide for themselves what they think. What can be helpful to them is providing accurate and timely information.”
In her news career, Begel reported for WBAI in New York City, where she began as a volunteer reporter and documentary producer and worked up to co-editor and co-anchor in the news room with three other journalists. She’s also covered stories for National Public Radio, LatinoUSA, Living on Earth, Justice Talking, Pacifica National News, Monitor Radio, and National Native News, among others.
At other times in Begel’s multi-decade career, she’s delved into spoken word productions, finding herself both delighted and mesmerized with the seemingly infinite possibilities of mixing golden vocal moments with music and ambiances; add wonderful pacing and thoughtful sound design and poof! The magic appears. She produced profiles of Nobel-Prize winning poets Derek Walcott and Czeslaw Milosz for The Poet’s Voice, a season of Selected Shorts, and the 14 part series Rural Voices Radio, which featured student writers in 13 U.S. states reading their poems, stories and essays. She also edited narration tracks for Random House Audio Books and did quality control for Simon & Schuster Audiobooks.
In Arts and Public Affairs, Begel travelled from New York City to Philadelphia to fill in for producers at Fresh Air. She also produced documentaries on the Maya in Chiapas, Mexico, for broadcasters in Australia, Germany, Finland and France. In New Mexico, she has produced documentaries on what life was like before tractors and technology came to the Chama Valley and a checkup on the health of democracy in Rio Arriba County for the nationally distributed series Whose Democracy Is it?. She has also produced features on readings by authors like N. Scott Momaday, members of Tres Chicas Books, and Hampton Sides. A video she produced, Four Stories about Water, features Navajo men and women describing their problems getting clean water.
Last but not least: sports broadcasting. When she took the job as acting News and Sports Director at WXPN in Philadelphia, she gave her student interns at the University of Pennsylvania directions: “You get the facts right and I’ll do my best to make you sound good.” It worked out fine. One student even went on to work for CNN sports broadcasting.
Today, waking up early to go produce drive time newscasts at KSFR, Begel says she feels blessed. “I can’t wait to see what’s come over the transom overnight,” she says, “and try to figure out what would interest our listeners.” And, she notes, listeners are welcome to send comments and suggestions to email@example.com