Beloved Olympia radio broadcaster Dick Pust finds himself in a familiar spot these days: in a studio and behind a microphone interviewing community leaders for two weekly radio shows on KXXO 96.1 FM, including “It’s Your Community,” which can be heard Sunday mornings.
It’s a welcome return to broadcasting for Pust because he remembers the difficult days after his 51-year career at KGY came to an end about three years ago.
He was unemployed for the first time in his life. He calls it an empty and awkward experience that left him with feelings of little self worth.
“You go from somebody to nobody,” Pust recalled.
Pust eventually became a job seeker like so many others at Thurston County WorkSource, including taking classes geared toward veterans — Pust served three years in the Army — before he realized he needed to reinvent himself — and to never give up.
It’s advice he would share with any job seeker.
“You are worth something; you can make it; you will make it; just never give up,” Pust said.
After time spent feeling sorry about his situation, Pust, 73, set about reinventing himself, beginning by running for mayor of Olympia in 2011. He eventually advanced to the general election but lost to current mayor Stephen Buxbaum.
His next stop was reaching out to the owners of radio station KXXO 96.1 FM, also known as Mixx 96. That effort resulted in his current weekly radio shows.
“I’m doing what I love still, just in a different venue,” he said, adding that the owners of the station have “adopted me like family.”
For “It’s Your Community,” Pust picks the guests and formulates the questions, interviewing two people in two, 15-minute segments.
Past guests include former Secretary of State Sam Reed, former Thurston County health officer Dr. Diana Yu, and Alicia Elliott, the woman who bought property at Division Street and Harrison Avenue in west Olympia and created West Central Park.
Pust also remains a fixture in the community.
He was master of ceremonies and donned period clothes for a recent gathering of Daughters of the American Revolution at Sylvester Park.
He’s also a member of West Olympia Rotary, co-chairman of Citizens for Schools and on the advisory board for the Salvation Army, he said.
Pust, too, contributes a monthly article to the magazine FTE, which is circulated among state workers. And when he’s not busy, you might see him at an area Starbucks with his friends, including former Olympia Mayor Mark Foutch, longtime sports broadcaster Dick Nichols and former Lacey Mayor Jon Halvorson, trying, Pust says, to “solve the world’s problems.”Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 firstname.lastname@example.org