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Austin host puts herself on national radio

Gary Dinges
gdinges@statesman.com
Downtown bar Dogwood is a favorite hangout for syndicated radio host Kim Iverson, who says she loves living in Austin.

Everyone needs a friend like Kim Iverson.

When it comes to advice on relationships or any number of other touchy topics, you might not like what she has to say, but deep down you know she's right. So, painful as it can be sometimes, you keep coming back for more.

It's that willingness to tell it like is that helped Iverson, 30, land her own national radio show based right here in Austin.

"I'm very real, very honest," she says. "I want to help people fix things."

And that's exactly what happens weeknights from 7 to midnight on "Your Time With Kim Iverson." Launched just over two years ago, the call-in program currently runs in nine cities. Central Texans can catch it on Mix 94.7.

Searching for Ms. Right

Executives at Entercom, owner of more than 100 AM and FM stations from coast to coast, including three in Austin, had a problem. They'd been trying for nearly two years to put together an evening show geared toward women but couldn't find the right host.

"I interviewed and discussed our goals with candidate after candidate," says Bill Pasha, the group's vice president of programming. "Many had remarkable radio backgrounds, but none seemed prepared to reveal themselves on the air."

Then he discovered Iverson, who, at the time, was part of a morning show airing in Champaign, Ill.

"Kim immediately impressed me," Pasha says. "It was obvious that Kim would put herself out there every night for the whole world to hear, without reservation, to create a safe place for women to network, learn and maybe even enjoy the guilty pleasure of radio voyeurism on everything from food, to family, to fooling around."

A deal was made and Iverson faced the first of many decisions to come: Where did she want to be based? Austin, of course.

"I'd actually never been here before," she admits. "I'd just heard how cool Austin is."

Getting off the ground

Settled in her adopted hometown, Iverson worked quickly to assemble a staff and piece together her show.

"I didn't want to do what everyone else was doing," she says. "Entercom's a great company. They're really talent-focused. They let me do what I want to do."

"Your Time" debuted in spring 2008, making the then-28-year-old host one of the youngest in radio syndication. Though she sounds smooth and at ease now, Iverson says that wasn't always the case.

"I don't even want to think about the first week of shows," she says with a laugh. "It was horrible."

Tune in any given night and you'll hear five to eight guests — authors, chefs, fashionistas, financial planners, therapists and more. Many — including Snap Kitchen's Ethan Holmes — are from the Austin area. You'll also get a hefty dose of Iverson, speaking openly with callers and guests about her love life — sorry, guys, she's seeing someone right now — and other topics many hosts tend to shy away from.

"I think that the listeners connect with her because she's real," says Jill Crapanzano, one of the show's producers. "She has embarrassing moments and moments of insecurity just like everyone else. But what's great about Kim is that she's not afraid to laugh at herself. She puts her life out on the air and comes across as a genuine, sincere, fun, upbeat woman that her listeners can relate to."

What's next?

Iverson's star is definitely rising. Just last month, she made it to the Top 10 in "Live With Regis and Kelly's" Women of Radio contest, narrowly missing a chance to fill in for co-host Kelly Ripa — even after some lobbying from lovable Regis Philbin, who called her "a real cutie from Austin."

"Your Time" will, it's hoped, spread to more cities. And friends keep pushing Iverson to do some sort of regular work on TV.

"I'm shocked my career has gone as far as it has, as fast it has," she says. "I'm just focusing on being better and better every day."

But those who know her best aren't surprised — and they say the best is yet to come.

"I truly believe she's heading down the right path to stardom," says Ken Rojas, another of the show's producers. "Millions are listening, especially the movers and the shakers and decision-makers that are all — or will be — knocking on Kim's door because of what they've heard via the show, which I'm running ... so, no pressure there, right?"

Whatever the future holds, Iverson is certain of one thing: It's going to be very, very hard to get her to leave Central Texas.

"Austin's full of beautiful people and has the best nightlife scene," she says. "I love it here, and plan on staying for a long time."

gdinges@statesman.com

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'Your Time With Kim Iverson'

7 p.m. to midnight Mondays-Fridays

Mix 94.7

On the Web: yourtimewithkim.com

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Around the dial

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