Behind the mic: UPR general manager, fundraising expert busy helping out communityBy Kim Burgess
If you want to get to know Cathy Ives, first you’ll have to keep up with her.
Cathy Ives holds a dog that is available for adoption at the Cache Human Society. (Eli Lucero/Herald Journal)
The general manager of Utah Public Radio is a vivacious fireball who is fun, warm and personable — if you can pin her down to talk.
Ives keeps a packed schedule organizing UPR, sitting on two nonprofit boards and pursing hobbies like motorcycling and playing with her two dogs.
“I like to be involved with the community,” said Ives before a meeting for the Cache Humane Society board of directors.
A fundraising expert, Ives is currently helping CHS organize its Sweat for a Pet 5K run, which will be held 7 a.m. Saturday at the Cache Valley Fairgrounds.
Ives also lends her expertise to the Stokes Nature Center Board. She said that working for the environment and animal welfare are two of her passions.
Through all her activities, Ives generally wears a smile and a perfectly color-coordinated outfit. At the CHS meeting, she’s decked out in head-to-toe purple — including purple pumps.
Kerry Bringhurst, Utah Public Radio’s news director, commented that Ives is something of a fashion trendsetter around the UPR offices.
“She has more designer (eyeglass) frames than any person I know,” Bringhurst said. “Her eyeglasses always coordinate with whatever she’s wearing. That’s a signature-Cathy thing.”
Asked to further describe her boss, Bringhurst mentions the words “creative,” “organized,” “spontaneous” and “diverse.”
“Her big keyword is partnership,” Bringhurst said. “I hear her say, ‘Let’s partner with them. This would be a great partnership.’ Partnership is the word I’ve heard her use more than any other word.”
Cache Humane director Michael Bishop agreed, saying that Ives has a unique ability to communicate with people of all backgrounds.
At UPR, Ives has used these talents to boost the station’s profile, hosting National Public Radio stars like Corey Flintoff, Fred Child and Carl Kasell, who is visiting this month.
She has also led the most successful fundraising drives in UPR’s history and built a new downtown studio on Logan’s Main Street.
But the accomplishment she points to with the most pride is reviving Utah State University’s student radio station. The new effort, Fusion HD3, is carried online and broadcast to radios with high definition tuners.
“This is something that students have wanted for decades,” Ives said.
The Connecticut native’s accomplishments are even more impressive considering she ended up in radio by accident.
While working as a head hunter in New Hampshire during the late 1970s, Ives placed several people in jobs at a radio station and was invited to work there. She became a salesperson in commercial radio before switching to public radio in 1990, rising to vice president of New Hampshire Public Radio.
Ives explained that she “fell in love with the (radio) industry and have been in it ever since.”
In 2006 she moved to Utah with her husband, Frank, to work at UPR.
While Ives misses her siblings and three stepchildren, who still live in New England, she added that she considers her UPR colleagues an “extended family.”
“It is a labor of love for all of us,” Ives said of the UPR team.
Utah Public Radio is a service of Utah State University, broadcasting a mix of information, public affairs and fine arts programming. In Cache Valley, it can be heard at 89.5 FM and 91.5 FM. Or http://www.upr.org/listen.html
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