Kathryn Zox '65
April 11, 2023

A mission and a microphone

Abbot alumna inspires and educates through radio show
by Allyson Irish

Kathryn Platz Zox ’65 has built a long and successful career integrating disparate skills and interests, including social work and the performing arts. At age 50, these myriad talents converged into a new career as a talk radio producer and host.

Now in her 25th year in broadcasting, Zox has interviewed more than 3,000 guests. She is currently producer and host of The Kathryn Zox Show: Your Social Worker with a Microphone™. At a time when many of her contemporaries are enjoying retirement, Zox is navigating her fourth quarter with zeal and enthusiasm.

“Our family joke was that I never stopped talking,” Zox says, describing heated debates at the dinner table over social and political issues like reproductive freedom and the Vietnam War.

Growing up in Maine, Zox was a member of her high school champion debate team, an activity that she continued at Abbot Academy, becoming president of the Debate Club. Continuing an interest in drama that began in elementary school, Zox also took part in the performing arts at Andover, where she landed the lead role in Jean Anouilh's play, Antigone.

After earning a BA in psychology from Boston University, she traveled with her now ex-husband to Colombia as part of the Peace Corps. The experience was both exhilarating and challenging, fueling a lifetime interest in embracing new opportunities.

I see the show as an extension of my social work—which is essentially about helping others—by promoting individual and social change through the medium of radio.

Zox has several advanced degrees, including a master’s in social work from the University at Albany, State University of New York, a school that is very dear to her. Through the years, Zox has worked with her alma mater to create, produce, and host UAlbany’s “The Social Workers Radio Talk Show.” She also has mentored social work graduate students and served as the announcer and master of ceremonies for several graduations and special events. In 2018, Zox interviewed Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman (see photo above) as part of the UAlbany Speaker Series. For her work and commitment to the school, Zox was honored with the UAlbany Alumni Association Excellence Award in Public Service. (Photo credit: Lori Van Buren/Times Union)

Returning to the United States, Zox earned a master’s degree in counseling psychology from BU and took a demanding social work position at a large New Jersey rehabilitation hospital. In the early ’80s, she and her growing family relocated to upstate New York, where she earned another master’s degree, this time in social work from the University at Albany, State University of New York.

Zox was also performing in community theatre and local TV commercials when a fellow actor introduced her to a volunteer radio program reading for the print disabled at the regional NPR station. “That was my jumping-off point,” Zox says. “I loved it.”

Excited about this new opportunity, Zox enrolled in a certificate program to learn more and shortly afterward landed her first radio show at a small station outside of Albany. She drove 80 miles a day, five days a week to the station, often picking up her talk show guests on the way. “I guess you could say it was very much a do-it-yourself program,” she explains.

In 2007, The Kathryn Zox Show was launched; the program airs live each Wednesday on the VoiceAmerica Network. Through conversations with experts, influencers, and ordinary people, Zox draws on her experience as a social worker and a performer to deftly manage difficult conversations, such as those about addiction, divorce, and disabilities.

“I see the show as an extension of my social work—which is essentially about helping others—by promoting individual and social change through the medium of radio.”

When asked about her Abbot experience, Zox says, “The school helped instill in me a resilience and determination to take on formidable challenges.” The focus on rhetoric and drama, brought together in high school, was a combination that eventually blossomed into her broadcast career.

"At Abbot, I found my passion and honed my skills, and I continue to tackle the topics of the day.”

Categories: Alumni, Magazine, Magazine Online

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