1. Although executive directors of radio shows usually stay behind the scenes, you can often hear Arik Korman on air during the Bob Rivers morning radio talk show on KJR-FM in Seattle (and on the web). He describes his on-air persona as “traveling philosopher, walking encyclopedia.”
Arik (pronounced “Eric”) worked his way up at KIRO radio before the show moved to KJR in 2011, but he got to radio in a roundabout way.
Originally planning to be a doctor, he headed to University of California, San Diego after graduating Redlands High School. Once there, “the areas I really enjoyed were visual arts and French,” he said. “So I just did a reboot,” and he left school.
Heading to Seattle to visit family and see Expo 86 in Vancouver, B.C., he was blown away by the beauty of “the South Sound, and the islands and the mountains and the trees,” that he saw from the airplane. It was not the gray, rainy place he’d been told it was, and he decided to move here.
After a variety of jobs — in retail, as a bank teller, and a political canvasser — Arik realized that he enjoyed talking to people and wondered how to get paid to do that. “It dawned on me: I should do radio,” he said. He enrolled in the now defunct National Broadcasting School, which netted him exactly one job interview. It was in Wenatchee, in winter, and required him to rent a car and buy chains to get over the pass.
He didn’t get the job.
Eventually he did get a temporary position there. That led to a weekend job in Seattle screening calls for advice shows on then-KING 1090. Bored during downtime, “I started grabbing newspaper or magazine articles and rewriting them for broadcast,” Arik says. He continued to get more duties — including on-air stints when anchors were ill — eventually landing at KIRO radio working with Jim French. He stayed nine years, becoming executive producer of all talk programs.
His association with Rivers began with KIRO’s effort to attract younger listeners. Arik invited Rivers, a KISW DJ, to come over and eventually he did.
The Bob Rivers Show features seven on-air personalities, including news anchor Jodi Brothers (featured as an MOT, “Radio personality not afraid to say she’s from New Jersey,” Jan. 23, 2009), Bob Spike and “Downtown” Joe Bryant. Spike heads the station band “Spike and the Impalers.” Arik recently took up the bass guitar and has been able to play a few gigs with them.
The show is a big supporter of World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization. All staff members sponsor children (Arik sponsors five) through the international charity, and run an annual on-air fundraiser. “Our listeners are contributing $1.8 million per year,” he says, funding agricultural development, healthcare, school supplies, and microloans in Africa and India.
“We have a physical trip to the field every year,” says Arik, who has been to India and Senegal and is thinking of going to Africa again.
When he’s not working, Arik and his wife Monique keep busy with their 3-1/2-year-old son. When time permits, he enjoys playing tennis, and he says, “I love Washington wine.” Arik says he’s also very community driven. “When I meet someone, I want to leave them better off than when I found them,” he says. “It’s one of my driving mantras.”
You can read about Arik’s recent India trip at www.BobRivers.com under the “blogs” tab.
2. On the visual side of broadcasting is Seattle-native Steve Bunin, who has graced these pages before. Steve was a basketball coach and good friend of Ari Grashin, of blessed memory, a Northwest Yeshiva High School and Seattle Hebrew Academy student who died of leukemia in 2002. (The gym at Seattle Hebrew Academy carries his name.) When Steve married his wife, Viviane, in Brazil in 2005, we heard about Viviane’s discovery of, and return to, her Jewish roots (“A story of love, loss, and recovered identity,” Apr. 29, 2005).
Now, after nine years as a host on ESPN, Steve, Viviane and their 3-year-old, Gabriela, have moved to Houston where Steve has joined Comcast SportsNet. He will be lead anchor for the 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. editions of “SportsNet Central” and also report for “CSN Houston.”
Steve has continued his passion for coaching and mentoring at-risk teens, and will take this up again in Houston. He received a Presidential Service Award in 2012 for his volunteer work.