ST. GEORGE — Following the news that radio personality Marty Lane is stepping down as co-host of the KONY Country morning show, Canyon Media has announced that Carl Lamar will be returning to share the mic with Amy Chesley each morning.
Lamar is no stranger to the world of radio.
Lamar has always had a natural affinity for entertaining and informing. He got his start in radio early on, participating in his high school’s country radio show beginning his junior year. Before that, he spent months of reading announcements over the intercom system and acting as master of ceremonies at every school assembly in Flagstaff, Arizona.
“Even in high school, after I graduated, the school counselor said, ‘What are you going to do?'” Lamar said. “I said, ‘Well, I’m program director of a country station right now. I kind of think that’s what I’m going to do.'”
After graduation, Lamar worked at three radio stations in Flagstaff before serving as general sales manager for the Navajo Nation’s 50,000-watt station. Only 10 years later, he was making his move from Flagstaff to Southern Utah, settling in St. George in 1987 where he worked as general manager and morning show co-host for the brand new KONY radio station.
Several years ago, Lamar moved to KONY’s afternoon show where he entertains and informs listeners on recent news. Now, he is making the move back to mornings to sit alongside Chesley, who was hired on with Lane three years ago.
“It’s nice to know that they hear me in the morning when they get up, and they associate me with starting a brand new day,” Lamar said. “I try to make it as pleasant as I can, as fun as I can to start off the day for them so they can have a good day’s experience at work, regardless of what their problems might be, what their stresses might be.”
Lamar said he is excited to be working with a talented and community-driven co-host like Chesley. Chesley, he said, loves the community and is a voice that so many can identify with.
Chesley is excited to be working with a legend in radio, she told St. George News.
“He started KONY Country,” she said. “He is going to end his career with KONY Country, rightfully so.”
Chesley likened her relationship with Lamar to Regis and Kelly, offering a different dynamic from Lane and Chesley’s style of co-hosting.
“I love Marty Lane,” Chesley said. “I always will. He’s one of my really good friends, and I wish the best for him and his new journey.”
Chesley never expected to get involved in radio but fell in love with the people and the opportunity to interact with listeners. Now, Chesley hosts the morning show with a mission to make their over 52,000 listeners “laugh, cry and have a good time.”
This change, she said, will help the station to hit more age groups and offer even more family fun, although they have a few surprises up their sleeves.
Lamar said it’s his goal to add to what KONY Country has become, not detract from it, and hopes to watch the KONY Country community continue to grow for many years to come.
Canyon Media General Manager Ben Lindquist told St. George News he has worked with Lamar for 18 years, and pairing Chesley and Lamar was a unique opportunity the company couldn’t pass up.
“You talk about a guy that basically signifies radio in Southern Utah, and Carl is that guy,” Lindquist said. “He is so well-connected to what’s going on in the community.”
The prospect of starting something brand new is what initially drew Lamar to Southern Utah, although he had also heard that St. George was a wonderful place to start a family. At the time, he had four young children who have since graduated from local high schools. In the years since, Lamar has also welcomed 14 grandchildren.
Since relocating to the area, Lamar has dove into the community, serving as former chairman and board member of the Washington County School District Foundation, past president of the Dixie Sunshiners, past member of the Noon Exchange Club, former chairman and board member of the Bloomington Community Council, past member of the St. George Rotary Club, past member of the St. George Area Chamber of Commerce and former vice president for Red Rock Broadcasting.
Lamar is also currently the brand manager for St. George News Radio and the executive vice president of Canyon Media. He has earned community recognition for his acts of service, most notably for his part in the KONY Coins for Kids annual charity event.
KONY Coins for Kids, which Lamar is president of, is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing Christmas presents for disadvantaged children in Washington County. In 2018, the entity registered and qualified 1,703 children in 578 families, shopping, wrapping and delivering holiday gifts to 1,688 children in 408 families.
“I’ve literally met thousands of people involved in shopping, and wrapping, and delivering, and that’s been just a real thrill for me to be involved in that,” he said. “I’ve met young parents whose parents had applied for the program and they were the recipients of toys when they were children. Now, they are parents with children and they are giving back because they once received as children.”
Despite the recent change in the morning show, the purpose of KONY Country is going to remain the same: “To entertain, to inform, to be a friend, to be a voice the community is familiar with and can trust,” Lamar said.
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