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A Woman’s Place is in the Kitchen

Gloria Penner began working at KPBS as a journalist in 1969.

Above: Gloria Penner began working at KPBS as a journalist in 1969.

It was December 1, 1969 and my younger son was having his third birthday. For both of us, it would be a day of great change. Brad was spending his first day at "Humpty-Dumpty Pre-School," admitted after he had mastered the prerequisite civilized behaviors. My older son, Steve, was in morning kindergarten. And I was stepping back into the media world after a five year hiatus devoted to my role as parent and homemaker. It was a half-time position which worked for my schedule and for the KEBS (now KPBS) budget.

Original KPBS administration building
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Above: Original KPBS administration building

Traditional multi-story office buildings were the venue for my earlier jobs in radio and television in Washington, D.C. and Hawaii. But on that Monday morning, my destination was an aging two-story apartment house built around a deteriorating swimming pool near the SDSU campus.

KEBS general manager John Witherspoon witnesses President Johnson signing of ...

Above: KEBS general manager John Witherspoon witnesses President Johnson signing of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967. Witherspoon joins the board of directors for National Public Radio in 1969. Witherspoon is a 2010 KPBS Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Inductee.

There I met General Manager John Witherspoon and Program Director Brad Warner in their offices, a living room for John and a bedroom for Brad. It was an unlikely place of business. My doubts about this strange broadcast operation grew when I was shown to my office: a galley-type kitchen lined with traditional kitchen cabinets. The sink was there, but no stove or refrigerator. Instead, there was a desk and chair and nothing more. I had traded one kitchen for another. My adventure had begun...

Look for a new story from Gloria Penner every month.

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