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Longtime KJZZ News Director Al Macias elected to Arizona Broadcasters Hall of Fame

Former KJZZ News Director Al Macias spent decades commanding newsrooms and speaking to Valley audiences in his authoritative, baritone voice.

But the latest news from the Arizona Media Association left the longtime journalist at a loss for words: Macias has been announced as one of five inductees into the organization’s next Hall of Fame class.

"Wow, wow, wow, that’s — that’s — wow,” Macias said when first informed of the honor, laughing in disbelief. “Thank you. That’s something I hadn’t thought of or considered. Wow. You’ve left me something that doesn’t happen often: speechless."

Seldom at a loss for words, the charismatic and wise-cracking Macias mentored countless journalists and students throughout his nearly 50-year career, during which he served as an adjunct professor at Arizona State University and was a founding member of the Arizona Latino Media Association.

A lifelong Phoenix resident, Macias began working as a TV reporter after graduating from ASU with a degree in broadcast communications. He quickly rose to positions of leadership, becoming an institution in the local TV news market, with stints at 3TV, 12News and ABC15 before arriving at KJZZ and pivoting to radio.

"I know people get tired — especially my wife — of hearing old stories about things that I saw or things that I did,” Macias said, reflecting on his career. “But I guess in my mind there were just snippets here and there. I rarely look back at them as a body of work. It was more like a train that kept running and I just never got off."

During his nearly 12 years at KJZZ, the station earned over 30 Radio Television Digital News Association Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards and two national Murrow Awards.

Macias collaborated with seven other stations to launch the regional Fronteras Desk, a reporting project that amplified coverage of border issues, immigration and the changing face of the Southwest. He also helped to oversee expansion into both Mexico City and Hermosillo, Mexico, resulting in KJZZ becoming the only public radio station in the U.S. with international bureaus.

“We at KJZZ are very proud of Al’s contributions to both our station and the Arizona broadcasting community as a whole,” said Jon Hoban, vice president of the Division of Public Service at Rio Salado College, which is home to the station.

Macias retired as KJZZ’s news director in 2022 but still contributes some feature reporting.

He will be officially inducted into the Arizona Broadcasters Hall of Fame on Jan. 26, along with sportscasters Bruce Cooper and Floyd Simmons, and TV news host Terri Ouellette. The fifth member of the class, newspaper executive Kit Atwell, will be inducted into the Arizona Newspapers Hall of Fame.

News director Chad Snow joined the KJZZ newsroom in 2016.