A special meeting place for
Sharon Kelley
Broadcasting Pioneer
Webmaster note: As a guy who started his career in broadcasting in 1958 first in Tucson and then in Phoenix, I learned right away that there were no women in broadcast production. If they were on the air they hosted "women's shows" or were "weather girls."  They were not disc jockeys or announcers. If they worked at TV or radio stations they were secretaries, receptionists, in bookkeeping, or "did" traffic. They were not in production; not studio or control. In the 1970's there was a breakthrough...slow at first and then came the flood. One of those who made the breakthrough became Arizona's first female TV director, Sharon Kelley.
Sharon with
in the
control room

In 1973, at the age of 20,
Sharon Kelley won a television scholarship awarded by NATAS and presented to her at the "Playboy Club" in downtown Phoenix. Awarded on the basis of "academic excellence and the student's potential in television,"  it was also just the right shot of encouragement she needed to pursue communications as a lifelong career.

While working on a broadcasting degree at ASU, Sharon worked at KAET, Channel 8 first as a researcher, then as assistant producer of a weekly show called "Earthline."  Upon graduation, she got a job as a commercial copywriter at KRFM Radio, where she also occasionally hosted a public affairs talk show.   But when her husband won an architectural scholarship to live and work in England, Sharon, of course, went along-- and it was there while touring the ITV in London--that changed her life forever.
The director of ITV's noon newscast was a woman.  The excitement of being in the control room during a live newscast had a major impact.

Upon returning to the States, Sharon landed a job at independent station KPHO, Channel 5 as a camera operator-- a job, which in 1976, attracted very few women.  One of her first duties was operating the boom microphone on the daily hour-long Wallace & Ladmo Show -- a show Sharon had watched since the age of four.

She was promoted to video switcher a couple of years later --where her director training really began.  She learned how to operate Grass Valley, CDL and Ampex switchers, CMX editing and various character generators.  On the side, she taught "Broadcast Writing" at ASU.

In 1982, Sharon became the first female director at Channel 5.  She directed daily newscasts, produced specials and documentaries, and directed the Wallace & Ladmo Show, something she continued to do until it went off the air in 1989, some 1700 episodes later.

One of Sharon's most thrilling accomplishments is getting Steven Spielberg to do an on-camera tribute for Wallace & Ladmo -- where upon Spielberg (a lifelong W&L fan and in the middle of working on Indiana Jones III) asked: "how long would you like it and do you prefer 35mm film or Beta-sp??"

In the year 2000, she won an Emmy for producing, writing and editing the Wallace & Ladmo Tribute (part of KPHO's 50th Anniversary Celebration.)

In May of 2001, Sharon was awarded the Silver Circle Trophy from the Southwest Chapter of NATAS for her outstanding contributions to the field of broadcasting.

Today, she's still at Channel 5 (which became a CBS affiliate in '94) writing, producing & editing commercials and special projects.  She has never looked back.  She now works with a crew comprised of 50-50 men and woman, and hopes to encourage newcomers to aspire to a directing career --just as she was inspired over 20 years ago.

Sharon serves on the Board of Directors for the AZ Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame (May 2007) (azmusichalloffame.org)

Freelance work:
has included production assistance for: HBO, CBS Sports, NBC Sports, ESPN.  And location scouting and unit manager for: Bob Levenson Productions, New York on commercials for Jif Peanut Butter, Arid X-tra Dry, Oxydol, and Final Touch Fabric Softener.

Arizona State University - Bachelor of Arts, Broadcasting. Graduated with Honors.

Awards, Honors:
Phoenix Art Director's Award - "Hawaii 5-0 promo," 1983.
International Film Festival of N.Y.,  Award for - "Wallace & Ladmo 30th Anniversary Show."
Emmy Nomination - "Wallace & Ladmo 30th Anniversary Show, 1985.
Emmy Nomination - "Wallace & Ladmo 35th Anniversary Special," 1990.
AAP Awards- "Best Newscast: Director," 1991
Emmy Award- "Wallace & Ladmo Tribute," 2000.
Silver Circle Award (NATAS 2001)
Emmy Nomination  "News5 at 5/Best Director," 2002
Sharon produces a spot on location with Al McCoy
Sharon also supplied us with this great piece of Arizona broadcasting history: the photo below taken the day of the first newscast on Channel 5.  The host is Jack Murphy. The person on the extreme right is a young studio guy named Bill Thompson who would go on to be Wallace of Wallace & Ladmo fame. (Click on photo to enlarge)
e-mail: Sharon.Kelley@kpho.com