Longtime Chattanooga broadcaster Kevin West retiring as WGOW program director

Staff Photo by Matt Hamilton / Retired U.S. Navy Capt. and guest speaker Kevin West addresses the crowd during the Memorial Day program at the Chattanooga National Cemetery in 2022. West, the program director for WGOW, announced his retirement from radio Friday after 43 years in the business.

WGOW Program Director Kevin West announced his retirement from radio broadcasting Friday on Talk Radio 102.3's Chattanooga morning show, "The Morning Press," according to a news release from Cumulus Media Chattanooga.

A 43-year radio veteran, West started his radio career in 1979 as a disc jockey at the University of Michigan's campus radio station.

He came to Chattanooga in 1987 as the morning news anchor and street reporter for WGOW-AM. At Pineville Road since 1994, West has led the WGOW Talk AM and FM stations as program director, the news release stated.

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Along with his broadcasting career, West, who announced his retirement Friday, served in the U.S. Navy, beginning with the Navy Reserves and ending with his retirement as a Navy captain in 2021.

While serving, West deployed to Afghanistan in 2016 and 2017 as the deputy director of public affairs at Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul and served as commanding officer of the 6th Fleet Public Affairs, 7th Fleet Public Affairs and Navy Public Affairs Support Element Headquarters, according to the release.

"Kevin has been the trusted voice guiding our stations, audiences and neighbors for over three decades," Scott Chase, Cumulus Chattanooga operations manager, said in the release. "While we will miss him, we know that his energy and community commitment will continue to be a force in Chattanooga."

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WGOW Marketing Manager John Lewis said West, during his years at Cumulus, made many significant contributions to the growth and success of WGOW and the Chattanooga community.

"He has been an invaluable asset and member of our team and can never truly be replaced," Lewis said. "I am 100% confident that Kevin will demonstrate the same winning ways with this new, exciting opportunity."

— Compiled by Jody Park