A new voice with a familiar name can now be heard over the Valley airwaves.
Stuart Turgel, former president and CEO of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Phoenix, hosts “The Phoenix File,” airing on Radio Phoenix, one of the largest Internet community radio stations in the country. The Phoenix File debuted on Oct. 25, and will air every Tuesday from 6:30-7 p.m. The public can listen to the broadcast on radiophoenix.org.
Guests will come from a variety of areas that have a positive effect on the Valley, such as social service, social justice, arts, culture, education and nonprofit volunteerism.
“It’s not my intent to have a point-counterpoint show, but there might be some topics that people could consider controversial,” Turgel said, adding that his program will also deal with civic, political, public affairs and certain newsworthy topics.
While on-air, Turgel said he will play the role of moderator, allowing his guests to have their say. However, in his “The Phoenix File” blog, he will feature his own opinions.
Turgel’s goal is to have all of his shows air live, but he admits that The Phoenix File on Nov. 8 – Election Day – will be pre-recorded.
“I plan to be glued to the TV like the rest of America,” Turgel joked.
His guest that night will be Patrick McWhorter, state chair for Open Primaries Arizona. They will discuss election reform and making the election process more equitable.
Turgel had planned his shows through Jan. 24, before realizing that six of his guests on his first 10 shows, including the Aug. 20 pilot, are members of the Jewish community.
“That wasn’t my intention, but it just worked out that way,” he said.
Alison Rapping discussed the new women’s leadership initiative, Take the Lead, on the pilot; and Victor Aronow, president of the Arizona Community Media Foundation, the nonprofit that operates Radio Phoenix, was the guest on the show’s Oct. 25 debut.
On Nov. 22, Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz, president and dean of Valley Beit Midrash, will discuss what motivates him to be a social justice advocate; on Nov. 29, Matt Lehrman with Audience Avenue will talk about the challenges faced by arts and cultural organizations in the Valley; and on Dec. 6, Sharon and Stewart Levine will discuss their work with the national organization, Shoes That Fit, which helps underprivileged school-age children have appropriate shoes to wear.
“Other than Rabbi Yanklowitz, who obviously is immersed in the Jewish community, my other guests who are Jewish are there representing programs and projects that affect the whole community,” Turgel said. “I think it speaks highly of the motivation of Jews in our community to work within and outside of the Jewish community.”
With “The Phoenix File,” Turgel has been able to return to his first professional love – radio. As a child growing up in Boston, Tugel listened to programs through his homemade crystal radio, which soon gave way to an AM radio. Later, a short-wave set allowed him to listen to broadcasts from the BBC and Radio Moscow.
Turgel first took the microphone at his college radio station in Ohio, and after joining the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, he was part of the military news team that broadcast the splashdown and recovery of the Apollo 11 capsule.
When his military career ended, Turgel, concerned about the instability of the broadcast journalism field, moved on to his first job in the philanthropic world as a public relations professional at a national medical center in Denver. Over the course of his 42-year career, Turgel did manage to get close to broadcasting again as one of the early developers of the Children’s Miracle Network Telethon.
After retiring in 2013, Turgel began consulting for philanthropic groups. Later, a friend told him about Radio Phoenix, and following a six-week training program that had him working for the first time with digital equipment, he was ready to pitch “The Phoenix File.”
“And now I’m really eager to get good ideas for guests, for topics – the public is welcome to offer its input,” he said.
Listeners can submit their ideas at thephoenixfile.net/podcasts, where they can also learn more about “The Phoenix File,” listen to previously aired episodes and podcasts and read Turgel’s blogs.