Long-Time Ellsworth Radio Station Owner Passes Away Following Lengthy Battle With Cancer
The radio community in Eastern Maine is a small one. And while friendly competition does exist, so does an overlaying feeling of family when it comes to those who work in the business. So when one of our own passes away, even if from another radio station, we all feel it. When that person happens to have been a legend in the industry, not necessarily in front of the microphone, but a powerhouse behind the scenes, it's a ripple of sadness that touches us all.
That's why it hit especially close to home, for many of us, when we learned that long-time radio station owner and broadcasting community member Natalie Knox passed away this week, after a hard-fought battle with Cancer. She was 68 years young.
Natalie Knox worked in the Maine Radio Industry for decades. She co-founded the local radio station, Kiss 94 FM (WKSQ) and owned many others in the area, most recently, radio station Star 97.7 out of Ellsworth.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a broadcaster that hasn't, at the very least, met Knox let alone worked for her. She had a reputation as one of the best; a go-getter who was really good at what she did, and always gave extra of herself to those around her.
It's not surprising that Knox was once named Ellsworth's Chamber Citizen of the Year, for all of her efforts.
I was lucky enough to work for Natalie Knox at Star 97.7 for a few years before leaving Radio for a bit to have children.
As her employee, I got to see firsthand just how dedicated she was to her job, her company, her staff, and the community around her.
Everywhere she went, she'd show up with the biggest smile...and the most perfectly manicured nails. Contagiously enthusiastic and always optimistic, working with Nat was a pleasure.
She always knew everyone, and everyone always knew her. And when I say she knew everyone, she actually knew everyone...the details about their lives, their families, what they were going through in life. She cared so much for the people she met.
Aside from her work at the radio stations and in broadcasting, Knox was intertwined with the community in Ellsworth. She sat on numerous boards, for various organizations, as mentioned in her obituary.
"Natalie was very active in local community affairs. She served on the board of trustees for Maine Coast Memorial Hospital, the board of directors of Woodlawn Museum and the Hancock County SPCA, and served what is believed to be the greatest number of years on the board of the Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce, including a term as its president. She was a leader in Searsport District High School Alumni Association, and was president of Searsport's Save Our Schools project, raising money to renovate the high school gym. Natalie also was a significant fundraiser for the Mary Dow Center for Cancer Care."
Whenever I saw her, she was on her way out to volunteer at a local animal shelter, changing cat boxes. That's one of the things I was most impressed with and inspired by; Natalie Knox worked hard and gained influence in the community, and then turned around and used that influence for good...but was never above getting her hands dirty and doing the hard work that needed to be done.
Knox always kept in touch, even after I left her station to raise a family. We'd exchange Christmas cards and cookies.
"Cori, I'm sitting here nibbling on your out-of-this-world-yummy Xmas cookies. Perfect w/ my morning coffee. The decorations are AMAZING! Thanks for remembering us w/ these DELIGHTFUL sweets. Yum-Oh-La!!!"
She was always super positive, choosing to celebrate life as much as possible. For instance, she didn't celebrate birthdays, but rather birth months.
She was the catalyst behind my return to the microphone after I unexpectedly ended up as a single mom. She hired me back to work a few weekend events, which led to me ultimately getting the job that I have now.
"Hold onto MY promise to you, Cori. It WILL get better. You WILL feel like yourself again. I PROMISE. And how do I know? Cuz I've walked through that valley of death before you. It DOES get better. Love you!!! Just go it a day at a time....that's all you CAN do for now. However, you WILL be the one who comes out on top. I GUARANTEE that!"
I know my story is not unique when it comes to the lives Natalie Knox impacted. There are many people in the broadcasting community, and beyond, who were positively impacted by her generosity, care, and kindness.
Although she may have worked for "the competition", I am sure many others in the business would agree with me that the passing of a behind-the-scenes broadcasting legend such as Natalie Knox warrants taking a moment to pay our respects.
To her longtime radio partner, Mark Osborne, and all of the staff at Star 97.7, we here at Townsquare Media send our sincerest condolences.
To her longtime fiance, Mark Phillips, and her entire family, we send our love and support.
And to the community of the greater Ellsworth area, we are thinking of you as you mourn the loss of such an amazing citizen.
To find out the funeral arrangements for the services being set up to honor Natalie Knox, just click here.