SanDiegoRadio Spotlight - August 2015

By Joe Nelson
   This edition of the SanDiegoRadio Spotlight is very special to me. Its subject, Coe Lewis happily agreed to do it and the interview was a pleasure to do from my end especially considering Coe's tenure in San Diego and her contributions to radio through all these years. But Coe and I have also formed a friendship through the years and she has been dealt several blows of late. We can start with the killing of Cecil the lion (I'm sure you are aware of Coe's constant avocation of animal rights), and Coe has also recently lost some friends way too soon. One of those friends was of course her close friend and fellow KGB jock Sue Delany.

(Sue and Coe)
 After letting this sit for a few days, I am choosing to run it now. 

   August 2015 SanDiegoRadio Spotlight - Coe Lewis

Joe: What is your current position?
Coe: Morning show co-host on 101KGB FM  "The Bob & Coe Show" Mon- Fri 6-10a.  Creator and host of non profit Coe's List on KGB

JN: How are things with you right now? Life, work….
CL:Things are very busy and mixed with good and bad. The good is the station is great and  the show is doing great.  I LOVE my job, and my  radio partner Bob and I co-founded Nsefu Wildlife Conservation Foundation (a nonprofit and have been INSANELY busy developing our anti-poaching programs in Zambia and hopefully Southern Africa.  We are growing by leaps and bounds and it's hard to keep my arms around it all.  I need a Coe clone to get everything done! The bad is I lost a listener to suicide a few months ago and it really threw me. I was blindsided. I had helped her a couple of years earlier with Coe's List and tried to be a good friend while she was going through a lot of stuff. I just didn't see it coming though...:0( She made me the executrix of her estate and I want to have her legacy live on by charitable work.  I am so blessed she trusted me with her affairs because I am working hard to support worthy causes and make sure she knows she is loved and appreciated.  And just recently, a wonderful friend of mine was diagnosed stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Tough few months.  Lots of tears.  But I have a lot of wonderful things happening as well.  I feel God all around me.

JN: San Diego… What is your favorite place to visit?
CL: We love going to Coronado...I just love the feeling of walking through history at the Del and enjoying a cold drink with my honey Mitch watching the waves and life go by and a nice lunch. I just need to grab the little breaks I have to enjoy where we live.  Oh, and we LOVE going camping with our neighbor bestfriends, Stu and Shelly.

JN: Is your job still as exciting like it was day one?
CL: Yes, it has changed so much...but I am always learning, always recreating, always looking for new ways to do things.  Having a great partner with the same work ethic REALLY helps.

JN: What are some facts about you that maybe no one knows, but could be interesting?
CL: Gosh, I just found out that I was nominated for San Diego Magazine's Woman of the Year Award!!! Wow...who knew!  I am simply blown away by that...seriously.  Every day I just try to be the best person I can be...and somebody actually acknowledged it. I wish my dad knew.  he was the first person I wanted to tell because he would be SO THRILLED...but he is late stages alzheimers.   I sunk emotionally when I realized I couldn't share it with my hero...:o/ but i am very humbled by the nomination.

JN: How do you view radio now, compared to the past, then looking to the future?
CL: Well I cannot even explain how much it has changed.  it used to be us (KGB) against the world, but now we are part of a huge company on the same side.  It is very different.  With national programming etc, it is more difficult for new jocks to cut their that there are less full time positions.  Getting a lot of shows under your belt makes you a better jock.  Hey, I did overnights for two years and it really helped me hone my skills.  The great jocks can swerve and curve through anything because they HAD to learn on the spot, so nothing throws them ever. I swear I could have a marching band and bulldozer go through the studio and I won't skip a beat. And sadly today's jocks have no idea how crazy fun it used to be.  It was such a rock and roll lifestyle...we lived it and breathed it. radio was simply in our blood. It is definitely more of a business now.

JN: How vital is the connection between an on-air personality and the listener?
CL: It is THE most important connection. I owe everything to my listeners. We have grown up together, they share their lives with me and vice versa. Their being taken care of, treated respectfully, and cherished is my job one.  It is ALL about the listener.  I tell them every single day on the radio "I love you".  I have said that for 30 years and will never stop. I DO love them...they have no idea :0)

JN: What is your favorite movie?
CL: Jesus of Nazareth, Pink Panther right behind!

JN: With Social Media being so prevalent, tell me the advantages of using FB, Instagram, Twitter to connect with your listeners.
CL: Well especially with FB, I have 5,000 people I can share things with...especially stuff with radio  and entertaining things. Nothing better than a hilarious video! and also it is a powerful tool for my stuff with fighting to save endangered species.  I feel good that I have educated people about the crisis in Africa. We are losing 100 elephants every day! We lose a rhino every 8 hours! And lions number less than 25k.  These animals will be wiped out forever from the wild within 8 years if we don't stop it. Poaching is the most vicious and heinous crime. Poaching funds terrorist groups not to mention crime syndicates and hostile countries and weapons. Of course it is the cause for total decimation of wildlife.  Black market narcissists driving species into extinction all for worthless potions and greed. It is absolutely horrific and if you ever saw what happens to these animals first would crawl into a corner and sob. I have seen the strongest and most solid men crumble and shudder violently from sobbing over the way an animal or a mother and baby died.  People NEED to know this is out there.  FB has allowed me to show people what is going and what they can do to fight it.  It is an amazing tool.  I am NOT a selfie you will RARELY ever see me taking a photo of myself...not my style.  I would rather use the power of social media for good...not boring people with my vacation or what oh-so-fabulous thing I am doing ;0)

JN: What is your favorite radio moment?
CL: Robert plant mentioning me on the air....sighhhhhhhh :0)

JN: How long have you been in radio?
CL: 30 years...yowza! 27 at KGB

JN: What broadcasters do you look up to?
CL: Gosh, I work in a building filled with really great talent.  and no one sounded better on the radio than the late, great long John Leslie.  He was BORN to do radio.

JN: If you could go back in time and work during any era of radio for a few days - which would you choose?
CL: The 20's, right when radio became more accessible.

JN: Is there anything more about your wildlife preservation you'd like to share?
CL: Thanks for asking...our nonprofit has groundbreaking strategies and programs that can change poaching. we have the top wildlife crime expert in the world on our board and we have multiple solutions to attack the problem from all angles with the introduction of programs which will allow people to earn a living and not rely on the quick money from poaching. we have uavs (unmanner aerial vehicles) that we fly and mathematics and algorithms that predict where poaching WILL happen. it is groundbreaking but it costs money. I am pursuing every possible source of funding and I have days where I feel...I just can't do this all by myself! I need help, because this WILL SAVE ANIMALS. I pray a huge investor will walk into our lives and i will make things happen like a f5 tornado.  Our board members  are extraordinarily passionate and visionary.  Hey we even had the US Ambassador to Zambia at our basecamp Zikomo safari two weeks ago.  We are only 8 months old...that is pretty awesome.  We are getting a lot of attention from people...but we need all the help we can get.  Money makes the world go round.  People can learn more at I am so proud of this, I just can't even verbalize it.  I was meant to do this, kind of like radio.

JN: You do such a great job keeping your personal beliefs on animal rights away from the microphone. How difficult is that balance and how do you do it?
CL: Well people know where I stand...and I feel I have the right to say something from an educational point of view if something is called for. But if you leave an animal in the car in the summer, Bob and I will both call you out.  Believe you me, because common sense is common sense. If you let a baby or animal die in excruciating heat, you WILL hear about it.  But overall, I need to walk that line of being even-keeled and hearing both sides.  I know when I meet people and talk to them...I win them to the cause.  But if you hammer people over the head, you run the risk of losing them forever.  I don't have the "right" to preach my views only...  that isn't fair to anyone else. I am a pro and must behave accordingly.  But on my time, I work hard to create awareness. but again I try to see both sides of everything.  I fight for anything innocent, human or animal.  That is why Coe's List was created years ago. I just can't sit idly by and do nothing.  I literally mean...I physically cannot just let bad things happen and do nothing! So both nonprofits I founded cover pretty much everything :0) If you are respectful of the views of others, you will find that common ground and build from there. I would rather earn people's trust and give them the facts.  People are have to let them take it in on their terms...not me demanding them to agree with me.  Make sense? I have seen listeners absolutely jump feet first into stuff I am working on.  They did it on their terms...and it makes me so proud to have them along.

JN: Anything else?

CL: I really mean it when I say I thank God all the time for the career He has given me. Sometimes I sit in my car before going into the station and I say 'Thank You God'. I feel for those not working, or in a job they can't stand.  I deeply feel that, and I want to always be grateful. I have had amazing experiences, I have met the most wonderful listeners who i treasure...and I have met the artists who inspired me to be in this career.  I will never stop being grateful and appreciative.

Coe, thank you so much for your time and especially our friendship. You know that I have your back, should you ever need me!

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