June 22, 1922 - May 8, 2013
Mary Denman rightly claims, with justifiable pride, that she is one of the “Oldest Broads In Broadcasting." Her first professional Telecast occurred more than 50 years ago when she was in her late 20's. "Toyland Time" featured her as “The Song Lady” on KVDO, the first TV station in Corpus Christi, Texas. When that program ended after a year and half, free-lance production of radio and tv commercials kept her on the air.
Her husband's job move to San Antonio provided Mary with the opportunity to become the host-producer of "Our Town," a weekday interview program on KENS-TV. After eight years, she became the station's first woman co-anchor of a newscast. After a year of twice as much work and responsibility but nowhere near twice the salary, she was wooed away to take a public relations position with a beauty firm.
After a year and a half, weary of the constant travel that kept her away too much from husband and home, she decided to return to free-lance talent work in San Antonio. Shortly thereafter, WOAI radio started the first all-talk format and hired Mary to be the producer and co-host of "morning magazine", airing from 9 to noon Monday through Friday. Eleven and a half years later, she joined KRRT, as host producer of "The Mary Denman Show."
New owners and a format change ended that venture in less than a year, so she and her husband formed their own ad agency, "Mary Denman, Inc." They ran it together until his death in 1991.
The next year, WOAI asked her to develop a program for seniors and "Prime Plus" was the result. For the next 13 years, the program was aired every Sunday morning from 10 to 11 first on WOAI-AM, then KENS-AM and finally on KLUP-AM until a major format change eliminated most of the local on-air hosts in October 2004. She continues to do free-lance voice work.
Her passion for theater began even before her broadcasting career. On-stage she has played everything from chorus parts to lead roles. She and her husband were cofounders and board members of a short lived summer stock company, her board service at Corpus Christi Little Theatre and then San Pedro Playhouse spans many years and continues today. At the latter, she served ten years, three as chair, on the capital campaign committee which renovated and restored the 70-plus year old Playhouse. In her work on the board of the Alamo Theater Arts Council, she emceed the Globe Awards gala for three years. She performs often with the "Extended Run Players", a reader's theater group primarily for seniors which she helped to form.
Even after almost half a century, the love affair between Mary Denman and the broadcasting profession continues unabated. She claims she'll continue as long as her mind and voice hold out - and as long as there is a job for her to do.