San Antonio media legend Mary Denman, who would joke that she was the 'oldest broad in broadcasting' has died at the age of 90, 1200 WOAI news reports.
The list of things in radio and television that Mary was the first to do would go on into tomorrow. Among them, she was the first woman to appear on television in Corpus Christi, when she hosted Toyland Time' as 'The Song Lady' on KVDO back in the early 1950s.
In San Antonio, Denman became the first woman to co-anchor a newscast on KENS-TV, where she also hosted 'Our Town,' a weekday interview program.
She worked in public relations, and then she joined WOAI Radio in 1975, when the station made the switch to news/talk. She produced talk shows and was the first host of the 'Morning Magazine' show, which aired every morning from 9 to 11.
Eliza Sonneland, who joined WOAI as Mary's producer and later succeeded her on the show, remembers Mary as somebody who was fighting for women's equality before there was such a thing.
“When she was being told that you can’t have a raise, and you are already married and you already have a husband who makes money and he is supporting the family, a lot of people back then would be going, ‘well, that’s true’,” she said. “Not Mary.”
Mary won the Broadcaster of the Year Award from American Women in Radio and TV back in 1973, when there weren’t many woman in radio and TV. She won Joske’s Woman of Achievement Award in 1984, and the National Achievement Award and the Silver Award of Excellence from American Women in Radio and Television in 1995.
Mary died Wednesday of complications from Alzheimer’s Disease, according to her friend, former Bexar County Court at Law Judge Bonnie Reed. She had been in declining health for two years.
After leaving “Morning Magazine,” Mary hosted ‘Prime Plus’ on WOAI, as well as on the old KENS-AM and then on KLUP-AM until December of 2004.
She also ran a local marketing and public relations agency with her husband, who died in 1991.
Mary was also very active in local theater, serving on several boards at the San Pedro Playhouse and performing in numerous productions.
“She fought for her right, and she did interesting things. She actually had her face life recorded and made a program out of it, to tell other women, this is what you go through, this is what it was like,” Sonneland said. “She feared nothing.”