TWIN FALLS — Even if you haven’t met Doug Maughan, chances are you’ve heard his voice.
The College of Southern Idaho‘s public information officer is often an emcee at community events and the voice you hear on the radio promoting CSI. And years ago, he hosted radio shows and was a news anchor for KMVT.
After nearly 20 years at CSI, Maughan plans to retire Sept. 1.
“Oh my gosh, it’s been a wonderful adventure,” he said Tuesday. “I’ve enjoyed it so much.”
Maughan is iconic at the college and his voice is recognized around town, said coworker Kimberlee LaPray, public information specialist at CSI. “He’s someone whose shoes can’t be filled.”
She said Maughan has taught her the importance of meeting with people face-to-face and sending hand-written cards instead of just emailing. “He’s taught me a lot about really connecting with people.”
Shawn Barigar, president and chief executive officer of the Twin Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, grew up watching Maughan on KMVT. Plus, one of Barigar’s uncles graduated from Buhl High School with Maughan.
Maughan also gave Barigar his first professional broadcasting job and they worked together for six years, becoming good friends.
Over the years, Maughan has been involved in promoting the good things about Twin Falls — including serving on a committee for the city’s centennial — and has raised visibility for CSI, Barigar said. “I think he’s had a lot of positive influence in the community, always working in the public eye.”
Barigar described Maughan as a genuine, kind person who has a great sense of humor and embraces life.
For CSI President Jeff Fox — whose father was a radio broadcaster — he recognized Maughan quickly as someone who has a classic radio broadcasting voice.
As a KMVT anchor, “he was able to be a good newsperson on air because he felt trustworthy,” Fox said.
Once at CSI, Maughan helped ramp up the college’s presence in the world, Fox said, and brought a recognition of the importance of public relations.
As public information officer, Maughan is measured and calm in his words, and understands the big picture, Fox said.
Maughan has been an integral part of the college, Fox said. “He’s going to be hugely missed here.”
‘It still takes me back’
Maughan’s roots are right here in the Magic Valley, where he grew up. As a teenager, he got his first big break in radio as a student at Buhl High School.
As a member of the school’s madrigal ensemble, he and his classmates performed at venues such as the Sun Valley Lodge at Christmastime. And they made regular appearances at a local pizza place.
During one performance at the restaurant, “while we were there, I just announced a couple of songs,” Maughan said.
The director of the KTFI radio station heard him speaking and asked if the 17-year-old would consider working for the station.
Maughan recalls thinking it would be the coolest job and it was “an exhilarating feeling.” Every weeknight, he drove from Buhl to Twin Falls to host a radio show from 7 p.m. to midnight.
After a couple of years with the station, “a local radio development came along called FM,” Maughan said. He was part of the original crew for K96 FM, now known as KOOL 96.5, when the station signed on in 1974.
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He had his own weeknight show playing hits and requests. “I hear music from the day and it still takes me back,” he said.
The owner of another local radio station, KLIX, ended up buying K96. At the time, many people lost their jobs with the advent of automation, Maughan said, but he was offered a job in the station’s news department.
Maughan discovered reporting news was a lot of fun. Plus, “it kind of gave me a new skill set,” he said. He was a news reporter for KLIX from 1979-81.
In 1981, Maughan was hired at KMVT as a television news anchor. He also took on news director responsibilities beginning in 1985.
One highlight for Maughan: broadcasting live during President Ronald Reagan’s 1986 visit to Twin Falls for a campaign rally for U.S. Sen. Steve Symms.
“It’s about the only news event I can recall we went live,” Maughan said. “I really felt like, ‘Wow, I’ve arrived. I’m really in my element here.’”
But in later years, Maughan said he went home at night with a headache and stomachache, and felt he couldn’t do much more in the Twin Falls television market.
After 17 years at KMVT, he said, “something had to change.”
‘A wonderful adventure’
Maughan heard from a friend who worked at CSI as the college’s first public relations specialist. She was looking to retire and encouraged him to apply for the job.
After he applied, nothing happened for months.
Finally, Maughan received a phone call from then-CSI President Gerald Meyerhoeffer, who expressed interest in hiring him.
His first day at CSI was the Monday after Thanksgiving in 1998. The college had just stopped sending out press releases via the U.S. Postal Service, opting for faxing instead.
Eventually, after a request from the Times-News, “gradually, we started emailing more and more of them,” Maughan said.
One of Maughan’s career highlights was working with LaPray to plan to college’s 50th anniversary festivities in 2015.
Maughan said he also enjoys “the whole concept of being a public information officer.” Whether the college was dealing with good times or bad, he said he hopes he put the right words or face on it.
“Sometimes, things come up in any organization you have to deal with,” he said, that can be embarrassing, tragic or the organization’s fault.
Maughan said his first rule on dealing with unfortunate circumstances is to “fess up” and then explain what the college is doing to address the situation. “It doesn’t do you any good to try to keep things from your public.”
But beyond difficult events, Maughan said the majority of his time was spent telling the successes of students, employees and programs. “It’s the little things that become the fabric of the CSI story.”
Once he retires, Maughan will still be on campus a few hours a week, helping to take new photos around CSI and archiving old ones.
It would be tough to just leave for good, Maughan said, and he doesn’t want to do that. He’d miss the people and campus too much.
But he does plan to enjoy retirement. He and his wife, Darlene, are looking forward to traveling to places they’ve never been, including the Grand Canyon.