Meet the Friends Board Fridays continues with Friends of Idaho Public Television Second Vice President Randy Morgan. Randy has been a board director for several years, and after he serves a year as president (in a couple of years) he will be able to renew his service for another three years.
Beyond the board, Randy has been involved with Idaho Public Television since 1997. “Really, it came from working at Intermountain Gas,” he says. He’s worked his way up to be the district manager for the Boise office. “Back in 1997, IdahoPTV had an opportunity for me to volunteer my time, as part of Festival. And that’s when I and my wife, Rebecca, became members of Idaho Public Television as well. It was shortly after I moved to Idaho for her. That’s why I came here to begin with,” he adds. Every once in a while, you can see him on-air during Festival, leading the volunteers from Intermountain Gas who come to work the phones. Also, the company generously donates a natural gas barbecue grill for one lucky donor to bid on.
Randy grew up in neighboring Oregon. “I grew up in Central Oregon, in a small town called Metolius, which is north of Bend…back then, there were only 350 people living in that community. And there’s, I think, 750 there now. I mean it’s still very small.” He went to school in the nearby community of Madras, eventually going to college at Eastern Oregon State College, now University. He was involved in the school, to the point where he was the station manager of the college radio station.
He started his career with Intermountain Gas in Boise. Eventually, the utility needed him to move from Boise to Hailey, then to Pocatello, and back to the Treasure Valley. “We’ve been in essentially all of southern Idaho, which is kinda nice.” One of his favorite spots in the Gem State is in the Sawtooth Mountains. “Just north of Galena Summit. If you go over the summit, drop down in there, Pettit Lake is up there. It’s just crystal-clear waters and granite falls with a huge slide that’s just massive.” Randy adds, “But then there’s just the trails all the way around the lake that go up to other mountain lakes farther above.”
Despite the lure of the mountains, Randy’s favorite part of Idaho is the Treasure Valley. “For me, it’s because, first and foremost, the weather. You get the four distinct seasons, but none of them are horrendous…or you could get the horrendous snow that you see in other parts (of the state): Sun Valley, for one. When we moved up to Hailey, the snow was about four and a half feet tall on the level. And it didn’t go away until May.” Randy adds, “With the Treasure Valley, you’ve got a small community feel with bigger city amenities. The Greenbelt is amazing to walk or ride your bicycle on. We’ve got fantastic parks throughout our community.”
Randy has fond memories of the Boise River Fest and going to Bronco athletics, to boot. “Whether it’s football, volleyball, gymnastics, or basketball. Those all give you something to do. As well as the minor league events: hockey, baseball.” Plus, just a short drive away is some wilderness to explore. “You don’t have to spend much time in the car and you’re in the mountains, the forest, or you can go out to the desert. Or, you can go to a river.” He doesn’t lament the rapid pace of growth in the valley. “It has changed a little bit with all the people discovering Idaho. Living here for 30-plus years, you can see that things have changed…but I think the growth has happened everywhere in Idaho, because people have recognized what this state has to offer. I do blame Outdoor Idaho for a portion of that,” he laughs.
He keeps it close to the vest when it comes to what he prefers in the snacking realm. “My wife usually says, ‘Do you need that?’”
And when it comes to his favorite PBS Kids character, Randy hearkens back to the classics. “What sticks in my mind is Sesame Street, with Bert and Ernie and The Count and Grover. And Oscar the Grouch. Mackenzie (my daughter) used to like Arthur a lot. That was the one we watched a great deal of.”
Randy adds, “We call Idaho the Gem State, and the greatest gem we have, that is beneficial to the citizens and just a huge boon to the nation, is Idaho Public Television. I think that the value that it brings to the viewers, the members…if you look at what Idaho Public Television brings to the table, the value there for the investment, is a hundred-fold. It really is. And I say this with all my years of being on the phone groups, of being on the camera, or volunteering as a ‘talent,’ if you will, during Festival, the job that staff does is second to none…there’s a real passion that everyone on staff brings to the station. And it shows in the work, the productions that they produce. They are phenomenal…you don’t get that in-depth, commercial-free storytelling anywhere else.”