Cory Baker: Broadcaster with a big heart
Radio and TV broadcaster Cory Baker was born in Toronto, Canada and moved to Los Angeles in 1964 and then to the High Desert in 1984.
He and his wife, Tami, have been married for 22 years and have five “awesome” kids, ages 3 to 20.
Baker started his broadcast career at KBHS, a campus wide radio station at Birmingham High School in Van Nuys, where he met some of his favorite L.A. deejays. He was an intern at a couple of stations, including KGBS/Ten Q, where he eventually ended up on the air on KGBS playing country music, thanks to his mentor Bob Morgan.
“When that gig ended, I worked at several other stations including one in Bakersfield, where I worked for country legend Buck Owens,” said Baker. “I also worked in Cheyenne Wyo., and Las Vegas, before heading back to sunny California, where I was on the air in Ventura, Palmdale, Victorville and eventually Barstow where I did the morning show for about 12 years.”
At the same time he did a second shift in the afternoons — both on Highway Radio. In August of 2009 the station did away with their live announcers in favor of canned voice tracks, and since then have become “The Highway Vibe.”
“I always seemed to work two and sometimes three jobs at a time even when I was in radio,” Baker said. “So I did retail stints at the old Black and Decker Factory Store and Music For A Song, and also worked for the Tanger Outlet Center as the coordinator for the California Welcome Center. After that, I was the publicity guy at the Barstow Chamber of Commerce and am currently a front desk clerk and the Community Relations person at the Ramada Inn in Barstow.”
Q: Describe a special memory you have in the High Desert.
A: Working at KXXZ...Kicks 96 at Factory Merchants Mall where I met my then future wife and best friend, Tami, who was the manager of the toy store there.
Q: What do you do in your free time?
A: Besides watching TV and playing with my kids, I’m also on two Chamber committees … Military Affairs and Ambassadors. I also represent the Ramada with AUSA — Association of the U.S. Army High Desert Chapter — as part of their marketing committee. I also volunteer with several local organizations.
Q: Tell us one thing that most people don’t know about you.
A: I’m a Backstreet Boys fan!
Q: If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
A: As cliché as it is, I’m a big supporter of the late Rodney King’s statement “Can’t we all just get along?”
Q: If you could change one thing about the High Desert, what would it be?
A: I'd change the weather. Take away the wind and keep the temperature at a comfortable 82 degrees all year long, except for the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Q: What person, living or from history, would you most like to have dinner with and why?
A: Tough question. My Dad for sure. He just turned 78 and lives in Reedsport Ore., so I don't get to see him very often. Next in line would be dinner with both Tommy Lasorda and Vin Scully together. Tommy is a great motivator, and Vin is one of the inspirations I had for going into broadcasting. Plus I'm a big Dodger fan!
Q: Who is someone who had a big influence on your life?
A: My parents who tried to raise me right (which worked most of the time!), and my friend and mentor, Bob Morgan, who back at KGBS took me under his wing to get me up to speed to start my professional radio career by getting me on the air at KGBS. He and I have been friends for what seems like a zillion years, and has been like a second Dad to me. And also my friend and former manager at Black and Decker, Debi Haggerty Silva who taught me more about customer service and how to treat people than I ever knew. She's the happiest person I ever met and a great motivator!
Q: What talent do you most wish you had?
A: I can’t dance. I’d love to learn how to dance well enough that my wife and kids won’t laugh at me anymore when I do! Our 25th anniversary is coming up in a couple of years, and I want to dance with her then!
Q: What is your favorite quotation?
A: “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff”
Q: What words of advice do you have for the next generation?
A: Study hard, get a college degree, give back to your community and treat people the way you want to be treated.
Q: Tell us about the charities or causes that are close to your heart and why.
A: I’m on the local Relay for Life Committee, because between friends and relatives, I’ve known too many people who have been affected by cancer and want to help the cause to get rid of that horrible disease. In 2013 I’ll be the co-chair for the annual March of Dimes March For Babies, because I’ve been blessed with five healthy babies and want others to do the same. Plus, I volunteer with Christmas Cops and Kids, because every kid deserves a toy at Christmas.
Q: What is something you are particularly proud of?
A: My kids, they’re all very smart and have goals. My youngest is the last of my five to be in Tot Time with the wonderful Loretta Carruthers. My 12-year-old has won major awards in the Science Fair, most recently as the “Hacker Cracker.” He’ll be big in the tech world when he grows up. My 13-year-old wants to be a marine biologist, my 17-year-old daughter will be a veterinarian. And my oldest daughter is a junior at Cal State Chico studying to be a math teacher and wants to come home to teach in the Barstow School District.
Q: What’s your favorite movie and why?
A: It’s a tie between three: “Road House” and any of the “Die Hard’s” for the action and humor, and “Pure Country” with George Strait, for the soundtrack and romance. A true love story. I’ll watch any of these when they come on TV.
Q: Tell us about your favorite thing about living in the High Desert?
A: The people. For the most part they’re friendly, caring and have big hearts.
Q: What is the best thing about your job?
A: Meeting people from all over the world and teaching them about our little town.
Q: What book had a significant impact on you?
A: I’m more of a magazine kind of guy. I like to soak up information at a rapid pace on various subjects.
Q: Of all the places you’ve been, what’s your favorite and why?
A: For about seven years, I represented California’s Desert Region for the State of California’s Tourism division at the International Pow Wow — a large annual tourism convention where the various destinations from the U.S. talked to tour operators from around the world to make our areas a destination for their customers. Pow Wow was held in a different city every year, and I was privileged to go to places like New York City, St. Louis, (Pre Katrina) New Orleans, and twice to Orlando Fla, where one of the side trips was to Daytona Beach. As a NASCAR fan I was thrilled to be at Daytona Speedway to see their motorsports museum and a backstage tour of the track. That same trip also took us to the Kennedy Space Center and all it had to offer including an inside look at one the Space Shuttles. Those two places trumped the private parties at Sea World, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Universal’s Theme park. My stay at the Hard Rock Hotel in Orlando was the icing on the cake!
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
A: I’d love to be able to get in a RV and take my family to see all 50 states. I’ve also wanted to take a trip to see a baseball game at every Major League Park in the country and Canada.
Q: Tell us about one thing you want to accomplish in life.
A: To live long enough to see all of my kids graduate from college. Something I was unable to accomplish myself due to career goals.
Q: What’s your favorite place to eat in the High Desert?
A: Too many to choose from, but when I get the chance I love Steer ’N Stein in Victorville and the cheese burritos from Bakers Drive Thru. Locally, Sizzler, Los Domingos, and Poorky's are great too.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
A: Still working, helping to raise my kids, and help those in my community who need it.!
Q: What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?
A: Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food ice cream.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to say?
A: Thanks for the opportunity to let people know more about who I am. And if you know anyone who has a radio station, ask them to hire me so I can get back to entertaining people on the air instead of on Facebook!