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Anne Keefe, Trailblazing Local Broadcaster Has Died

Credit: St. Louis Media History Foundation

A trailblazing broadcaster whose career  took her from Rochester to St. Louis, before moving back to this area has died at the age of 90. 

Anne Keefe started in  1946 at WHAM Radio after graduating from the University of Rochester.

She  started out playing bit parts in soap operas, and then moved with the station to its new location on Humboldt Street.

The first local news broadcast aired at WROC-TV in 1957. Keefe said she had a lot of opportunities to learn her craft during those early days of broadcasting, and she talked about that during an interview with Scott Fybush  on WXXI in May of 2013.

“It was the war years, the boys were gone, girls could run the newspaper, girls could run the drama club, they had big influence because the guys were gone. So, that was lucky, I edited a paper, I edited a yearbook and I did it all.”

In the  mid 1970s, Anne Keefe moved to St. Louis, and hosted radio shows on the legendary  station there, KMOX.  She also worked for the public TV station in St. Louis.

Keefe said in her WXXI interview  that one of the secrets to her long career was her ability to talk to women as well as men, at a time when that wasn't always the case on the air.

“Because I was the first one to say, you don’t have to vote the way your husband does or even think the way he does; You’ve got to know your husband and if he’s a certain kind of guy you don’t tell him what you think, but you have a right to think whatever you like, and if he’s the kind of guy that will take it, lay it on the line and say, wait a minute, there are two of us here, and women really appreciated that, you know?”

Keefe  retired in 1998 and left  St. Louis in 2011 to come back to Rochester and be closer to her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. 

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.