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Mary Jo West has been called “the First Lady of TV News in Phoenix.” She became the first prime time anchorwoman in Phoenix in 1976, thus opening the door for the women who followed her.
She came to Phoenix in 1975 and worked as a producer-host at the Public Broadcasting Station KAET-TV in Tempe. In 1976 Mary Jo accepted a job at KOOL-TV Channel 10, the CBS affiliate.
Her first years there were not easy. Her male co-anchor was not happy having a woman sitting next to him on the evening news. He saw the newsroom as a “man’s domain” and wasn’t pleased that a 27-year-old woman would be sharing his anchor desk.
Mary Jo wanted to talk about issues that were vital and to report stories of substance.
Mary Jo has won her industry’s top awards including the Peabody, two Rocky Mountain Emmys, 13 Arizona Press Club awards, and the national “Gracie Allen Award” from American Women in Radio and TV. She was the first news woman inducted into the Arizona Broadcasters Hall of Fame. The City of Phoenix honored her with the Martin Luther King Living the Dream Award for her work fighting discrimination against the mentally ill.
Mary Jo has made a difference. She led the way for female television broadcasters in Phoenix.
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