Alumna revered as local celebrity

By
February 26, 2004

Mills College Weekly

You may recognize her from Evening Magazine, have heard her on
the FM radio dial or maybe even announcing a Giants game at SBC
Park. She is revered by many as a Bay Area celebrity for her
contributions in broadcast media, community service work, and as
host of a multitude of events. We proudly know her at Mills, as one
of ours. Renel Brooks-Moon graduated from Mills in 1980, and over
the past 24 years has built an incredible career for herself that
she says happened by accident.

Forty-five year-old Brooks-Moon, a Bay Area native, said that
when she graduated from Mills with an English Literature degree,
she didn’t know what she wanted to do. She had been on interviews
with banks and other corporate jobs that didn’t interest her. It
was at an Urban League job fair that Brooks-Moon learned about
opportunities in radio.

“I had no focus, my career was a complete accident,” said
Brooks-Moon. “This career counselor [at the job fair] was flipping
through his binder and told me about an entry-level job at KCBS. It
sounded interesting, so I went for an interview. I got the job and
I was basically a glorified gopher, at first, but I loved it.”

Now, she’s making history. Five years ago, Brooks-Moon was named
the first African-American female announcer in National League
Baseball, according to Mills History professor, Bertram Gordon.

She works for the San Francisco Giants at SBC Park as the public
address announcer and was the first woman to announce a World
Series in 2002. As a result, the scorecard that she kept from game
three of that series is in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Her first job in broadcast media with KCBS set her on a course
that has been unstoppable. She worked in production and, public
affairs, and eventually ran the newsroom.

Recalling her love for music, she decided to take her skills to
a music format station. After four years at KCBS, Brooks-Moon left
and went to work at KFRC in public affairs. It was there that she
caught the attention of the programming director, who soon asked
her to make him a demo tape. Within a couple of months, she was on
the air a few shifts a week, while still working in public affairs.
That was in 1985.

She went on to have an 11-year stint with Clear Channel station
KMEL, where she began on the 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. shift. Within a year
she was on the morning show, the most prominent time slot in
radio.

It’s no wonder that she rose so quickly, as many that know her
say that she is “just like she is on the radio, in real life.” What
that means is that Brooks-Moon is funny, warm and down to earth,
the same way she is on her show.

“She is the same off the air that she is on the air, maybe even
funnier,” said Gerry Dove, Assistant promotions Director of 98.1
KISS FM, about his colleague.

When Clear Channel started 98.1 KISS FM eight years ago, they
knew just the right woman. The demographic of the station is
targeted for the 30 and older African-American woman, the same
listeners that had grown up with Brooks-Moon and were now ready to
move from KMEL’s hip-hop format to a more laid-back R&B format
that could be heard on KISS.

Her show has been thriving ever since.

A few years ago, the station decided to change formats and run a
syndicated show in the morning, while putting Brooks-Moon in the
afternoon time slot. It only took a matter of months for the
listeners to insist that the station reverse that decision and
bring her back to the morning time slot.

Brooks-Moon said that although she doesn’t feel like she is good
at balancing work with her private life, she is blessed to have so
much understanding, love, and support from her husband Tommy, as
well as her friends and family.

“I like to talk about Tommy [on the air],” she said. ” I want
women to know that it’s possible to have a good strong
relationship. We respect and support each other, have our own work,
lives and friends, and Tommy is very proud of me.”

She has also done a lot of freelance work, including CBS News
and Sports for the past eight years, special segments for UPN 44,
and she just signed a deal with Fox-Sports to do 25 Giants pre-game
shows with baseball legend Bip Roberts.

In addition, Brooks-Moon does a variety of community work and is
involved in two causes that are “very dear” to her. She serves on
the boards of both “The Giants Community Fund” and “Friends of
Faith”.

“The Giants Community Fund” raises money and awareness for
at-risk youth, while the largest part of the program is the Junior
Giants, where 9,000 Bay Area girls and boys get to “learn life
lessons through baseball,” according to Brooks-Moon.

“Friends of Faith” is a breast cancer awareness organization
that was born out of long-time friend and television newscaster
Faith Fancher’s battle with the disease that took her life last
year. The group works at the grassroots level to help uninsured and
financially needy women get preventative care and treatment if
necessary. So far they have raised $100,000.

To learn more go to www.sfgiants.com and click on Giants
Community Fund. For more information on Friends of Faith call
510-48-faith or write to P.O. Box 324, 6114 LaSalle Ave., Oakland,
94611.


Alumna revered as local celebrity was published on February 26, 2004 in Features

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