Tom Anderson, radio station owner and civic leader, passes on
If there was ever anything close to being a media mogul in Carbon County it was Tom Anderson.
Anderson, who had been suffering with cancer for years, finally succumbed to the illness early Thursday morning. He was 71 years old.
Anderson had owned and operated the Castle Valley Radio stations group for nearly 40 years at the time of his death.
Anderson moved to Carbon County with his widowed mother when he was seven years old in 1947. She taught school and Anderson went to school and graduated from Carbon High. But at 17 years of age his mother died and he had become an orphan.
It was then that he needed money and he was able to secure a job with Jack and Rita Richards who owned KOAL radio at the time.
"They had no children, and I had no parents," said Anderson in a 2011 interview with the Sun Advocate. "It was just one of those things where it kind of fit."
Not long after that Anderson went away to college at the University of Utah. Following his graduation in 1965 with a BS in Marketing, Anderson returned to Price to serve as salesman/manager for the Richards.
Rita Richards died in 1971 and Jack continued in the station but with less involvement than before. In an unusual turn of events in 1980 when Jack was 85 and Tom was 40, Jack legally adopted Tom. Jack Richards died in 1986 at the age of 90.
Anderson was always very proud of Eastern Utah Broadcasting, and rightly so. It grew from a little rural radio station that Richards and two partners developed to a three station powerhouse with KOAL still being the AM anchor, and two FM stations, KARB (country) and KRPX now adding more depth of field to the broadcast portfolio.
For many years KOAL was the only local station in the area. It served the area well through its Mine Report (a twice a day broadcast that let miners know if they were working at certain mines that day or not), its music (the only source of teenage music for years in the 1950s) and its news service.
While Anderson was known for his radio stations, his involvement in the community was also a hallmark of the man. Anderson had been involved in many things in the county over the years, but one organization that was always very close to his heart was the Kiwanis Club. His dedication to their causes for children has been shown often and never more than in April of each year when the station donates a whole day of broadcasting to the locally well known Kiwanis Radio Auction. That tradition started in 1967.
Anderson was also the president of the Price Chamber of Commerce in the early 1970s, which he always said was a great experience.
In 2011 Anderson also received an award that meant a great deal to him: he was one of the original inductees into the Utah Broadcasters Hall of Fame. His induction was for his extensive contribution to small market radio.
"I learned a great deal from Tom Anderson while I worked there," said C.J. McManus, now a reporter for the Sun Advocate. "He really knew his business."
Tom is survived by his wife Gigi, his two daughters Kelly and Christina, and son Paul.