Written by Dennis Moore
February 15, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) - Kelly Cole, host of “Lites-Out” on KPRI 102.1FM and a resident of Santee since 1987, has music in her heart and soul. Born and raised in San Diego, she describes “Happiness” as family, good friends and music. It certainly comes across in her chosen profession.
Cole says that she was a little crazy in high school, but who wasn’t? She says that she worked construction and went to night school before finding her niche in life. Cole went to the Columbia School of Broadcasting after high school (Patrick Henry High) and after graduating she and her counselor at Columbia called virtually every radio station in a 100 mile radius of San Diego and it just so happened that KAMP FM in El Centro needed a weekend jock, which was the start of her illustrious and entertaining career. KAMP played the hits of the 50s, 60s and 70s from the original 45s that were sent to the station.
Actually, Cole indicates that it was her senior year in high school when she decided, it was comedy or radio and since she couldn’t handle the rejection of comedy, radio it was! We have that to be thankful for.
Cole describes “Lites-Out” as her dream come true. All those years of reading album covers and learning about artists and their special gifts is finally paying off. She says that she feels so lucky to share all this amazing music and to get a chance to discover and introduce new artists.
Cole worked for KIFM for over 20 years; as Music Director, Assistant Program Director and did the Afternoon Drive. She indicates that she had so many amazing moments at KIFM but “on air” the best had to be her interviewing David Sanborn. Her enthusiasm is infectious. She would later graduate to KPRI 102.1FM.
Now the host of “Lites-Out” on KPRI 102.1FM on Sunday evenings from 7 – 9, sponsored by Payne Pest Management and Valley View Casino and Hotel, we get to listen to her growth and maturation over the many years as a radio “Super Star.” Coles’s producer and husband “Big Mike” helps put the show together every week and they feature a mix of Contemporary Jazz, Soul and Fusion. Once a month they do the show live from Valley View Casino and Hotel and they will be there this Sunday. I hope to be able to catch her show.
I actually became aware of this Diamond of East County from Mikey Cohen, co-owner with his father of Smooth Jazz Live. Cole and Cohen share something in common, their love for music. Coming back from a recent Smooth Jazz Cruise, the glow and smiles on their faces definitely shows that. “Music Does Sooth the Savage Beast.” Cole stated in regard to that cruise: “The Smooth Jazz Cruise last month was like a dream come true. Just the fact that it left from San Diego was incredible. There was a whole group of friends from San Diego on board and they were “off the chain” fun. I sure hope they do it again.” I sure hope they include me in it next time!
Forever promoting the music she loves, Cole further states: “I am so excited about this year’s Payne Pest Management/BTW San Diego Jazz Festival, Memorial Day weekend. Last year was our 1st at La Costa and it was absolutely amazing. We will be back with an unbelievable lineup and an amazing stage.”
Perhaps what separates Cole from other radio personalities is her commitment to her radio station and the people and causes they support. Cole talks effusively about her causes and charitable work at KPRI, which is indicative of her soulful spirit that comes through on the radio. To sum that up, she states: “There are many causes we work for through the station at KPRI and that is one of the many reasons that I am honored to be a part of their family. I feel the homeless and foster programs are closest to my heart.” This is a lady, an East County resident, that I plan to follow.
Dennis Moore is a writer and book reviewer for the East County Magazine in San Diego and the book review editor for SDWriteway, an online newsletter that has partnered with the East County Magazine. He is also the author of a book about Chicago politics; “The City That Works: Power, Politics and Corruption in Chicago.” Mr. Moore can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow him on Twitter at: @DennisMoore8.