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A storyteller who’s focused on community

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Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

It’s appropriate that David Gonzalez has worked in broadcast news for most of his career. Gonzalez is a storyteller. He pays attention to the world around him, and he seeks to serve where he can. Broadcast communications have given him a place to put these three traits to work in a big way. Mostly he has served Roswell.

Born and raised in Roswell, Gonzalez worked alongside his brothers and sisters on a farm west of town. Like all his siblings, Gonzalez went to college. His parents wanted all their children to live the American dream. He wanted to be a broadcast journalist.

“I went to work in Midland-Odessa right out of college,” he said. “A friend of mine and co-anchor on our college station said he had sent a tape to KMID and they saw me on it. He said they wanted to interview me. They hired me right away.

“I was in Midland for about a year when that same guy — his name was Roger Riley — was working at KBIM TV. He called me and said, ‘There’s an opening, do you want to come to Roswell?’ Yeah, I wanted to come back to Roswell!

“I went to visit the station. Joe Carrier was the station manager. They were in a warehouse because KBIM had just burned down. I said, ‘Joe, I don’t want to work in this kind of situation,’ and I went home to tell my mom I was going back to Midland.

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“Joe called me and said, ‘I want to talk to you one more time.’ So I went back to the station and he said, ‘You really need to work here. You have a lot to offer this community. You’re from here.’ He said, ‘This building is a temporary situation.’ He really impressed me by doing that, so I took the job.

“I worked with Dave Brown and John Anderson. He was a great guy — fun to work with, nice as could be, very humble. I think I was the first Hispanic to work there as a reporter, and eventually on air and then I became the news director there. I was there about 20 years.”

KBIM had a show called New Mexico Today. It ran for decades. Gonzalez missed a chance to be on that show as a child, but as an adult, it was quite another story.

“When I was in elementary school they were doing square dancing,” he said. “I didn’t want to square dance so I sat it out. The teacher said, ‘We are going to be on New Mexico Today. Because you didn’t want to square dance, you don’t get to go.’ I didn’t mind that. But years later, I was working on New Mexico Today, I was anchoring New Mexico Today. I worked with Scott Alley for a while, then with Sharon Bell. I also worked with Theresa Davis McKee on the show.”

In the ‘90s, Gonzalez moved around a bit. He anchored the news at KRQE in Albuquerque for a year. He managed KRSY radio and remained there when it became KPSA (Que Pasa). Then his friend Kim Stecklein told him that KBIM needed a general manager. He went back for a while. Then he got another phone call.

“I’ve never really had to look for jobs,” Gonzalez said. “I’d have somebody say they had an opening and I’d apply. That happened here at Cable One. I went to Phoenix and went through 17 interviews because all of the department heads were interviewing me. My last interview was with the president of the company.

“The guy who had originally called me was driving me to the airport. He said, ‘The president doesn’t think you’ll fit because you’re not from within the cable system.’ But we as a group told him that we were going to hire you, so he did. A couple of years later, he came down here and said, ‘You’re a perfect fit for this system and I had originally not wanted you, but I’m glad that you got hired.’ I think I was one of the first general managers who had not come from the cable industry. I’ve been here now 16 years.”

The cable industry proved somewhat of a respite for Gonzalez at first. Broadcast television had been stressful.

“There was a high level of anxiety finding 30 minutes of news every day on a deadline,” he said. “At 5 o’clock, BOOM! You had to have your stories ready. I was working mostly with college graduates and so I had to teach them how to write stories and meet deadlines. When I left it was like a big weight was lifted off my shoulders.”

Gonzalez is clear that he works to take care of his family. They are everything to him.

“My heroes are my kids, my wife and my grandkids,” he said. “I watch how they’re working together, bettering themselves, and I see that as a part of me.”

His work in the community has generally come from his love for his family.

“Being involved in the community is important to me,” he said. “I tried coaching Little League, but it wasn’t for me. My son was playing Little League baseball. Right before the season started, his coach got killed in a car accident. They were about to disband the team and I said I’d coach the team to keep it going. I did the best I could with them, but it was tough. I did learn not to be so demanding and critical of Little League coaches. Now I appreciate the fact that they’re volunteering.”

He also coached a women’s softball team through 10 years of consecutive wins.

“We won some national rankings,” he said, “and we won some state championships. We got a different sponsor each year to associate with different parts of the community.”

Gonzalez announced football games at the Wool Bowl for more than 15 years. He’s also announced the names at high school graduations. His wife, Mary, is the choir director at Goddard High School and encourages the tradition.

“It’s an honor to do that,” he said. “The kids remember it. I try to make sure that people are happy with the work I’m doing. I’d hate for someone to remember me as the guy who messed up their name. You can be really good at what you do,” he said, “but if your attitude isn’t into what you’re doing, it’s no good.”

Having been the face of Roswell news for 20 years, Gonzalez is humble. He will always credit his glory to God and his heart belongs to his family. From that place, Gonzalez continues to serve his hometown.