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Wednesday, April 2, 2008 02:58 pm

Bound for glory

WUIS’s popular Kavitha Cardoza accepts Washington, D.C., gig

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Kavitha Cardoza
Untitled Document The inevitable has happened. As anyone who listens to WUIS (91.9 FM) knows, reporter Kavitha Cardoza always had too much talent to be broadcasting from a radio station next to a cornfield — and, sure enough, she has just landed a job with National Public Radio’s Washington, D.C., affiliate, WAMU-FM. She will sign off at WUIS on April 21, and begin work at WAMU on April 28. Such a giant leap forward in her career should send Cardoza into a celebratory mood. Instead, she’s been spending her days sobbing. “I’ll miss everything,” she says. “I feel like there are friends here who are life friends. There are so many people I feel I will miss.”
The ones she’ll miss most probably won’t even understand why she’s leaving: Cardoza, who is single, has an incurable habit of doting on other people’s children. “I will miss not being here to see my friends’ kids grow. I’m such an auntie,” she says. Cardoza — raised in England, Wales, and India — was hired here almost six years ago by WUIS news director Rich Bradley, who was charmed by her accent and a little surprised by her skills. “She can be tenacious and very aggressive. It’s next to impossible to throw her off the track,” he says. “Within a year after she started here, I knew that she had the talent to go far.”
Cardoza has made a lasting impression on a legion of listeners, on her fellow reporters, on the students she taught part-time at the University of Illinois at Springfield, and even on UIS graduates — at least half of whom heard her liquid-Valium voice call their names as they marched across the stage to receive their diplomas.
WAMU news director Jim Asendio predicts that Cardoza will make the same kind of splash, even in the much bigger pond of the nation’s capital. He says her new job title — senior reporter — really means that “she’s going to be my principal storyteller.”
“I hire passion,” Asendio says. “I Iook for people who are passionate about life, passionate about conveying stories, passionate about journalism, and she’s got it.”
He chose Cardoza from among approximately 100 qualified candidates without meeting her in person or even checking her references. The fact that she was working in a microscopic market didn’t bother him. “Experiences like that make you better,” he says. “She’s in Springfield — no wonder nobody else found her. But thank God I did.”

Contact Dusty Rhodes at drhodes@illinoistimes.com.
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