Arizona Broadcasters Association

honoree bios

Art Brooks

Among his many accomplishments, Brooks led the way helping Arizona broadcasters make history in 2008 with the award-winning documentary, “Crystal Darkness.”  Arizona was the first state in the nation to bring its broadcasters together to address a major social issue through a “roadblock” – the program, designed to raise awareness of the impact of methamphetamines, aired on all Arizona television stations and most radio stations at the same time.  Then again in 2015, a similar partnership tackled the state’s growing heroin addiction and in 2017 addressed the devastating impact of prescription drugs. 

During his tenure, Brooks led a committee of broadcasters and law enforcement to develop a plan which ultimately became the state’s AMBER (America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response) Alert program.  The program has assisted in the speedy recovery of many endangered children.  Brooks served as the state coordinator from 2002-2018, before the duty was passed off to law enforcement. 

Brooks assumed a major advocacy role on issues important to the industry, helped lead the transition to high definition television and created programs to provide member stations with access to sales training and legal help.  Brooks started the ABA Hall of Fame which recognizes Arizona broadcasters and raises money to help fund journalism scholarships.  He also instituted one of the nation’s first Native American Broadcast Journalism Institutes for high school students at Northern Arizona University. 

J.D. Freeman

J.D. Freeman’s broadcast career of 41 years started at KPGE in Page, Arizona. Next he spend several years in Flagstaff radio before moving to Phoenix doing afternoons on KTUF-KNIX. His career moved from on-air to Program Director, General Sales Manager, General Manager, Senior Vice President, to major market President. During his over 20 years in Phoenix, he was involved in 11 different AM and FM stations. His broadcast career also included working in Los Angeles, Dallas, and San Francisco major markets. During his tenure in Dallas he was instrumental in creating and developing the Amber Alert System.

Past affiliations include Chairman of the Arizona Broadcaster’s Association, NAB Board Member, Chairman of the Southern California Broadcaster’s Association, Texas Association of Broadcasters board member and President of the Dallas Radio Manager’s Association.

Additionally, he is past President of the Arizona Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and a graduate of Phoenix Valley Leadership Class XI.

J.D. attended the University of Utah and currently resides in Summerland, California with his wife Dianne

johnjay and rich

As a child, Johnjay Van Es always dreamed of being on the radio. He was raised in Tucson and Chandler Arizona, his family moved to San Diego for his fathers work, there he applied for an internship at 91X in San Diego in 1990 and eventually started working in sales for a number of radio stations, but he never let go of his lifelong dream to be on the air. It wasn’t until 1996, after training with the LA-based improv troupe The Groundlings that he would get his first on-air job hosting a morning show on WKRQ in Cincinnati. After just three months on the air, he won the “Best of Cincinnati” award. After years of dominating the market in Cincinnati, Johnjay moved on to Houston, Texas and made his mark in the Country format.

A St. Louis native, Rich Berra was captivated by radio at 14 during an afternoon bike ride. After stumbling upon a YMCA-owned radio station, KYMC, he’d found his calling in the studio and jumped on board as a part-time employee. By the time he was 17, Rich was running the entire station, while also working a part-time gig that kicked off his career in morning radio. WKBQ recruited Rich to produce morning shows for Big Ron O’Brien and Steve and DC. In 1991, Rich caught the attention of Dave Shelly and Chainsaw at KGB in San Diego and, like his run St. Louis, took the show from #10 to #1 in less than a year. After a successful stint in San Diego, the Texas-based Kidd Kraddick Show asked him to join their on-air team. Rich’s stretch on KISS in Dallas produced the highest ratings the station has ever had in mornings. Cross-town rival rocker, The Eagle, snatched up Rich next, where he brought #1 ratings in mornings at the station for the first time.

Johnjay was in New Orleans interviewing for a co-host and there is where he met Rich. The beginning of The Johnjay and Rich era began in 2001 with their first show airing on KRQQ in Tucson. In 2006, the program moved to KISS-FM in Phoenix, Ariz. and became Arizona’s Morning Show and was syndicated in select markets nationwide. Johnjay and his wife have 3 kids, each one born in a different city in AZ. Jake was born in Yuma, Kemp was born in Phoenix and Dutch was born in Tucson

In 2014, the program joined Premiere Networks lineup of nationally syndicated programs. Airing Monday through Friday from 5 to 10 a.m. MT, The Johnjay & Rich Show is a non-stop blend of pop culture, news and events, welcoming a wide range of music artists, news makers and celebrities. Joined on-air by Kyle Unfug and Suzette Rodriguez, the show is a special brand of “reality radio,” in which listeners become an engaged and integral part of the program by interacting with the crew via all forms of social media - Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, email and text messaging. The Johnjay & Rich Show is also available on iHeartRadio, iHeartMedia's free all-in-one streaming music and live radio service, and

In addition to hosting their daily radio program, Johnjay and Rich remain steadfastly connected to the community.

In 2014 Johnjay founded #LOVEUP - an accidental movement started by Johnjay Van Es when autocorrect changed his friend, Hall of Fame NFL Super Bowl Quarterback, Kurt Warner’s text from Love It to LoveUp….a phenomenon was born!

Johnjay discussed #LOVEUP concept on air with Rich and Kyle and thought #LoveUP would be a great way to remind people to pay it forward and spread the love.

The Johnjay and Rich Care for Kids Foundation recently changed their name to The Johnjay & Rich LoveUp Foundation, to support the movement and promote #LoveUp.

Profits from the sales of #LoveUp Shirts support the Foundation Programs:

#LOVEPUP is a dog rescue started by Johnjay and his wife Blake they have saved over 1500 dogs and counting.

donna rossi

Five-time Emmy Award-winning reporter Donna Rossi has logged three decades covering and uncovering some of the most high profile stories in the state of Arizona.

Donna's reputation as a fair, accurate and compassionate journalist has earned her the respect of her colleagues and community. Her talent as a reporter has earned her more than a dozen Arizona Associated Press awards and five Emmy statues.

Donna started her professional journalism career at KNAZ – TV 2 in Flagstaff, Arizona while still attending Northern Arizona University to complete her B.A. in Broadcast Journalism. She then moved to the CBS affiliate in Tucson, Arizona, and joined CBS 5 News in Phoenix, in September 1994.

Donna's experience as a 4 year veteran of the Phoenix Police Department gives her a keen sense of crime and court stories. She offered gavel to gavel coverage of the 1999 sleepwalking murder trial of Scott Falater, and the trial and conviction of retired Catholic Bishop Thomas O'Brien for a fatal hit and run accident. She also spent 2 straight weeks in northeastern Arizona in the summer of 2011 covering the Wallow Fire, the largest wildfire in Arizona history.

Donna is a past president of the Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences and continues to serve on the NATAS Board of Governors.

Donna was born in New York and moved to the Valley with her family when she was 9 years old. She is a graduate of Maryvale High School and attended Arizona State University. She graduated cum laude from Northern Arizona University.

In her free time, Donna enjoys boating, all forms of music and theatre. Donna frequently donates her time to speak to community organizations and emcee their events. She is a past board member of DUET, a non-profit which helps promote health and well-being for older adults. Donna also loves donating her time to youth organizations and groups which work to secure and safeguard human rights.

One of the most gratifying moments of her career was when the Phoenix Police Department changed its policy on how it deals with officers after critical incidents, such as officer involved shooting and other traumatic events. These changes were promulgated by a series of report Donna did on police officers and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. That body of work also resulted in the Arizona Legislature passing a law to protect first responders with PTSD.

On Oct. 17, 2015, Donna was honored for her amazing work over the years. The Rocky Mountain Chapter of the National Academy of Televisions Arts and Sciences inducted her into its Silver Circle. It's one of the organization's most prestigious honors for which only a few candidates are selected each year.

426 North 44th Street, #310, Phoenix, AZ  85008  |  Phone: 602-252-4833  |  Fax:  602-252-5265

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