What started as a guest spot led to an opportunity to become a community producer. Gloria Tiller, owner of Kazoo Books, takes brief steps away from her elaborate bookshelves to serves as producer and host of The Local Scene. She brings her love for learning into the studios of Public Media Network to highlight the stories of local community members and their contributions to the community.
Gloria grew up in Sparta, Michigan where she awoke to the fresh, sweet smell of apples on the orchard where her family lived. After high school, she went on to study English at Western Michigan University and earned a pilot’s license from WMU’s School of Aviation. She loved Kalamazoo and decided to make it her home.
After years of selling real estate, Gloria opened a bookstore called, Book Exchange, in 1988. The bookstore evolved into Kazoo Books with two locations, one on West Main, and the primary location on 2413 Parkview Ave. When her husband passed away, she closed the West Main store, but continues to offer a prime outlet to readers who want to support an independent bookstore. In addition, authors of local, state, and national acclaim, are invited to the store for book talks and signings.
Her reputation as a literary expert led to an interview on Public Media Network with Keith Roe.
“Keith Roe asked me to be a guest on his Monday Night Live show and I became a regular once a month to talk about books,” Gloria said. “One thing led to another and I started doing the second Monday as host to give Keith a week off. Then I walked in a couple years ago and they told me Keith retired, and asked me to do every Monday.”
The power of public media is something Gloria supports. She said, those with a passion for dialog should consider creating their own show based on their interests. She also is willing to coach anyone interested in pointers to create their own studio talk show.
While she enjoys the guests and sharing new information with viewers, Gloria said her greatest challenge is finding movers and shakers in the community to serve as guests. Because her ideal guests are extremely busy, it is often difficult to get them to commit to the interview time in the studio. And, while her relaxed style of interviewing is enjoyable, the stress of putting a show together and running a business, has led to fewer shows than she would like.
“I love doing the shows as an education platform to let the people in Kalamazoo know about the great local businesses, organizations and people we have here,” Gloria said. “I hope the information we provide can help someone who is watching.”
If you are interested in serving as a production assistant for The Local Scene with Gloria Tiller or others, call Public Media Network for more information at: 269-343-2211. Or fill out our online volunteer interest form. No experience is necessary, we provide all the training needed. Just bring your creativity and be ready to have fun making media.