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 at.” Debbie has since lived in the city of St. Louis since 2003. Her husband, Steve, is an urban ag advisor for Hort Americas. The couple 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.
Quick Questions with Debbie: Favorite restaurant? Favorite? Wow, that’s hard. I’ll pick a favorite AREA. That would be South Grand because there are so many nationalities and countries represented. Second favorite would be The Grove, for the same reasons.
Favorite St. Louis attraction? I always recommend that visitors go to City Museum. It’s our most unique attraction. And I think I’m the Duchess of City Museum on Yelp! It’s also home of Circus Harmony, a favorite organization of mine. But I wish I could enact a law that everyone visit Central Library downtown at least once. That’s my happy place. I love it.
Favorite music? Lately, I’ve been listening to tons of pop music, thanks to my kids. My comfort music is alternative 80s music! But I have a pretty eclectic music collection.
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? Greece has always been at the top of my list, but I haven’t made it there yet. Santorini, Crete…can’t wait!
Person who made the most impact on you? My parents. I’m blessed to have the most wonderful parents who’ve overcome so much and given my sister and me the very best foundation. The older I get, the more I realize how fortunate I am to have had those two people shaping my life.
If you could only keep three possessions, what would they be? My scrapbooks/photo albums, my iPhone (or iPad), my lip balm.
If you are not at work, you’re probably doing what? Sleeping, carting my kids somewhere, cleaning the house, reading. (Yeah, it’s a glamorous life).
If you won the lottery, what would you spend the money on? I would donate a big chunk to Circus Flora, Friends of Tower Grove Park, Stray Rescue and a few other great local organizations. And then I would totally do all the upgrades on my house that I’ve been putting off for too long! (And then I’d go to Greece.)