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MAR 2024

By Salwa Khan

Dee Rambeau:

Empowering Wimberley's Path to Preparedness

On Air Personality Profile Picture



Salwa Khan
Dee Rambeau’s, show is called The Empowered Community, and it's on from 7 to 9 a. m. on Fridays on KWVH. Dee, can you start off by giving us a little background about yourself?

Dee Rambeau
I'm the oldest of three sons. I'm a graduate of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, where I ran track in the old Southwest Conference days and studied business. I have, had three different distinct career paths. I started out in the financial services space as an investment broker for a Wall Street firm, Drexel Burnham and did that for about eight years. And then I got persuaded by one of my clients to help him start a new company in sports marketing. We went into producing triathlon, bike racing and beach volleyball and things like that back in the late eighties and early nineties.

I did that for about 15 years, traveling around the country. I did event production and onsite public address announcing. Then I managed to find my way into television through that path, producing ski racing and beach volleyball shows for ESPN and Fox Sports Network.
I got tired of traveling around like a carny, being gone 48 weekends a year out of 52, and decided that I'd try something different. I took some of the things that I had learned in television and event production, and the big move from analog to digital that was taking place in that space while I was in it.

I started a little software company in mid 1999 in Denver and built that up to about 35 employees, and back in 2009, I sold that company to a company called PR Newswire. We were in the online media space, and we created a piece of software that helped public relations and communications executives manage their website presence without having a lot of technical expertise. That software is still in use by thousands of companies across the country to put their earnings, news releases, and other relevant information out to their websites on a timely basis.
As part of my purchase arrangement, I was an executive vice president with PR Newswire for six years and worked for that news distribution organization until 2015 when I retired. I moved to Wimberley in early 2016 and kind of changed my life at that point in a lot of ways. I have been here for coming up on eight years

Salwa Khan
How did you come to radio and to KWVH?

Dee Rambeau
When I was living in the mountains of Vail, Colorado and traveling all the time, I came across a little FM radio network called the Mountain Radio Network. It was one of the first of its kind back in the early nineties that did distribution from a central broadcast production studio to multiple distribution channels. There was a broadcast studio where we lived and operated in Vail where I did a skiing show and a morning show.
It had at its biggest, twenty-four different ski communities (in the network) around the Rocky Mountains in Utah and Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico.
Each market had their own little station, but they took a lot of their music programming down overnight via the internet and back in those days, it took most of the overnight hours to download a full day's programming. Then they would do inserts with local weather and local news events and things like that. So it allowed these small, low power FM stations to broadcast a much bigger sound than from their own particular station, let's say in Crested Butte.

When I moved away from Vail and got involved in running my company, I just kind of got away from radio altogether.
I moved down here to try living in a small community and more of a rural self-sustaining lifestyle because I'd been living in cities for most of my adult life. Not too long after I got to Wimberley, I was sitting in the. Wimberley Cafe by myself, reading the Wimberley View, and I was looking at an article that had a picture of John Brown and it was talking about this new station that was starting up in town. They were looking for production and on-air talent.
And I thought, huh, that might be an interesting way to meet people in this town that I don't know anybody in. So I called John Brown and set up an interview and we talked and next thing I knew I was in kind of a cattle call over at the Creekside Studios. I was in there and Coach was in there and Phil McKeon was in there.
John Brown looked at Phil and me and said, I want you guys to do a test together. And before we knew it, he assigned us the host duties of the Breakfast Taco at 7AM every morning, once the station went live in August of 2016. So we were the first show on the first day and the first thing you heard every morning on KWVH. And I did that for a couple of years.

Salwa Khan
Now you have your own program. How did the idea for the show come about?

Dee Rambeau
I left the Breakfast Taco after a couple of years and continued doing volunteer work and then came back a couple of years later and did a show with Abby Vasek that was about spiritual seeking and things like that.
In December of 2022, Abby decided to step aside and wanted to go do some other things. John McGimsey was producing that show for us, and John and I said, what do we want to do? At the time, everybody was coming out of the COVID stuff and we had gone through Snowmageddon and the historic floods here in Wimberley were years before, but we thought this would be an interesting idea to talk about, being more prepared for disasters.
We called Ken Strange at EMS and Tim Tempfer at Wimberley Rangers at the VFW, and said what do you think of this? They said, that's an incredible idea. We would a hundred percent support it, and you should do it. So we started doing it in January of 2023. I've had a wonderful lineup of guests about resilience and sustainability and preparation for society's disruptions, whatever they may be. We know that unexpected events are going to happen. The better prepared we are for those things, in simple ways, the better we're going to survive and be more resilient.

Salwa Khan
What is your process when you go about producing a show? What do you have to do to prepare?

Dee Rambeau
Originally, we thought we would do themes where we would put out a quarterly theme, like in Q1, we're going to talk about water. In Q2, we're going to talk about food and Q3, we're going to talk about energy in your household. But as the reality of getting guests on your shows comes to bear, it is really more catch as catch can.
We take on guests as we find them, and we have repeat guests. Generally, we'll line up a guest a week or two out. Our first 30 or maybe 60 minutes, from seven to eight o'clock, we touch on our main themes of food, water, energy, medicine, knowing your neighbors, gear, and physical fitness. Those are our pillars of being empowered. Then in the second hour or the 90 minutes or so, we have a guest on, to talk about a topic as it fits that theme.
We have a little website, and we do the best we can to try to keep up with it. We haven't done any podcasts yet, although that's something we'd like to do with the 50 or so recordings we've put together on the show, but we've had a great response with good listenership and people seem to like the topic.

Salwa Khan
So is John your co host or is he your producer?

Dee Rambeau
He's my producer, but he's also a co-host. We engage on the air and then we have a third floating co-host, which is Christy Degenhart, who owns Ace Hardware. She's probably on about once a month. She's got markets that she goes to to buy product for her store. So she'll come in a couple of weeks in a row and then we won't see her for a few weeks and then she'll come in. She's been wonderful at helping us secure guests that we weren't aware of because she's very connected in this community.

Salwa Khan
Give us an idea of what someone might expect to hear on a show.

Dee Rambeau
We focus on planning in moments of calm for the moments of chaos that we know are coming. That can involve preparing your children, preparing your household, taking care of your pets, taking care of your food needs, your water needs, your energy needs. We in this Wimberley Valley don't have to imagine that things are going to happen. We only have to witness that they already have, right?
Between the floods and the snow and the ice and the droughts and everything else that seems to impact us here in Central Texas, we want people to be better prepared. It's amazing to us how few people are actually prepared to go even a couple of days without going to H E B or, or Brookshire Brothers. How many could survive even a week when their power or their water is off for whatever reason?
We talk about being better prepared. We talk about our own investigations into that, the things that we've tried and learned. We've tasted MREs and packaged foods that you can buy online to store. We've talked about water storage.
We've had TESPA (Trinity Edwards Springs Protection Association) and David Baker, talking about droughts. We've had the Wimberley Water Board people. We've had the HEB executives on talking about food deliveries and the supply chain. We try to cover all the topics that might help people be better prepared for that eventuality where you might not have your normal routine available to you.
Maybe you can't leave your home or maybe you can't get back to your home. What are the things that you need to have on hand to be better prepared and how to plan for that ahead of time.

Salwa Khan
What are the challenges in producing your show?

Dee Rambeau
One challenge is that we're a morning show as part of the five-day lineup of Wimberley wake-up. So we have to cover other things besides our core topic, whereas if we were in the afternoon or weekend or something, we could do an hour or more just specifically on our core topic. But being a Friday morning show at that, which is an important day going into the weekend here in Wimberley, we need to cover local events and and talk about the sporting events going on and the community events.
We've heard from listeners that want to tune in and hear that core message that sometimes we don't get to until eight o'clock. They want to listen to that message from seven to eight, right? But that's a minor complaint because we actually love talking about all the other stuff too.

Salwa Khan
And then what are the rewards of doing your show?

Dee Rambeau
I think the rewards in general, of doing this show line up with my rewards of just being involved in KWVH. I can honestly track every single person that I know in Wimberley to my aligning with KWVH.
When I moved to town, I knew two other people. I knew my brother, who lives up in Woodcreek North, and his wife, my sister-in-law. I didn't know anybody else in town. When I met John Brown and started working with KWVH, every relationship I have in this town cascaded from there. I know a lot of people now, and I interact with a lot of people and I can trace every single one of them back to my work with the radio station. So that's a profound reward for me.

Salwa Khan
Is there anything else you’d like to say about your show?

Dee Rambeau
I promote the show on my Substack channel where I write a newsletter. I am going to start putting recordings of the show as podcasts into my Substack network.
I try to cross promote and link those two things together. I don't write about the same things on Substack. I write more about sobriety and recovery, which is an important part of my life. I'm on the board (of directors for KWVH) and working diligently to help improve what we're doing at the station from a communications standpoint.

Salwa Khan
Thank you so much, Dee, for your time.

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