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Familiar faces: Mary Jane Popp — Talk show host at KAHI radio’s "Poppoff" and noon news

By: Stephanie Breitbart/Journal Staff Writer
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By Stephanie Breitbart Journal Staff Writer Q. How long have you been a talk show host at KAHI? A. I was here for two years and then left and came back again, so a total of five or six years. I couldn’t resist coming back. Q. Where did you grow up? A. I grew up in South Chicago. I went to Indiana University for my bachelor’s and master’s degree and was working on a Ph.D. when someone told me I should audition for a TV show. I was a talk show host in Indianapolis for four years and then decided to come to California. Q. When did you move to this area? A. I moved to Sacramento in 1977. I did some television and then just fell into radio and loved it. It was so one-on-one and personal. I went back and forth from radio to television and did weather and features for TV — like going bungee jumping for the news. Q. What are your hobbies? A. I play with my dogs. I love my dogs Encore and Misty and that’s what I do on my off time. I don’t have many hobbies because I love what I do. I love following the news and entertainment. It’s a joy for me to do what I do. Q. What is your favorite movie and TV show? A. My favorite movie is the original “The Day the Earth Stood Still.” I’m fascinated with outer space. My other favorite movie is “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.” It’s funny and it gets more funny every time. I love “CSI,” “Law and Order” and “Bones,” too. Q. What kind of books do you enjoy? A. I read every day for the interviews I do. I also read two to three newspapers. I’m constantly reading, but my favorite book is one that I wrote called, “Marilyn, Joe & Me: June DiMaggio Tells It Like It Was.” Q. What kind of music do you listen to? A. I like the kind of laid back club music, like “The Shadow of Your Smile” and “Moon River.” I love musicals, too. I used to sing in the Holiday Inn circuit while getting my master’s. It helped pay my way through school. Q. Do you still sing or act? A. I periodically still do a show and some singing. I did “Auburn Sings.” But it takes a lot of time and the talk show is still my No. 1 priority. Q. What are you most proud of? A. I think some of the people I interviewed because some are gone now, like Rock Hudson, Bob Hope and Art Linkletter. The accomplishment is not that I got to do the interviews, but that I learned lessons from all these people and, hopefully, I got to share those lessons with my audience. Also, making a difference in people’s lives through all the telethons I’ve done. I enjoyed it because I was helping people in need. Q. What is a future goal of yours? A. I would love to do a syndicated show out of here and reach more people. I would also love to do a simulcast show with radio and television. Q. What is something unique about you that others may not know? A. I’m an individualist. Some people are Republicans or Democrats, but I’m not influenced by others. I will listen to all sides, but I make my own decisions. I was actually asked to run for office once … but I’d rather stay on the air and say what I need to say. What you see is what you get. On the air or off the air I'm the same person, same opinions. Q. What’s the best part about working in Auburn? A. The people. I love the people. They are down to earth. I love the small-town feel and I love people waving at us as we are on the air.