For Debbie Monterrey, being behind a microphone has always been natural. And whether it was singing into the cord of a coffee percolator, interviewing her dolls, or handing out a neighborhood newsletter, the KMOX Morning Drive anchor has found a way to share her message.
“I was always that person who wanted to tell people about stuff, so the radio gives me 50,000 watts to do that,” she says.
Debbie is the daughter of immigrant parents. Her mother was born in the Netherlands, and her father was born in Indonesia, making Debbie a first-generation American. She was born and raised in Chicago, and graduated from then-Northeast Missouri State University with a degree in mass communications. Her first radio gig was at a radio station in Kirksville, Mo., during her sophomore year of college. Since then, she’s mostly worked in radio, jumping in and out of public relations and work in Wisconsin government. “I’ve done other things, but radio somehow always comes calling, again,” Debbie says.
She relocated from Madison, Wisc., to St. Louis after being asked if she would be interested in working mornings on-air at KMOX, saying such an opportunity is “nothing you could ever turn your nose up at.”
Debbie has since lived in the city of St. Louis since 2003. She has two children, a daughter, Caeli, born in China, and a son, Beck, born in Ethiopia. Debbie loves the tight-knit community feeling of city life. A self-proclaimed cheerleader for St. Louis city, she and her family live in Tower Grove South, and much of her free time (what little she has) is spent enjoying her neighborhood and the businesses and people in it.
“It’s just, it’s like this great small town, and I just feel really proud of it because everybody really pulls together, everybody really is interested in the success of the neighborhood,” she says. One wish Debbie has for St. Louis is for the city to “stop talking and start doing” in order to change an overall negative attitude some have about the city - and she thinks there’s enough of a nucleus of people who can make that happen.