Jamie Dupree: Celebrating 30 years at Cox Media Group

The  start of the new year also marks a new milestone for Jamie Dupree: 30 years covering Congress and Washington DC for Cox Media Group.

Shortly before Dupree joined Cox Media three decades ago, he considered leaving radio.

He was working as a freelancer at stations throughout the U.S., Canada and Australia, barely making enough money to get by, when the radio job opened up at the Cox Washington News Bureau in December 1988.

Dupree interviewed for the position just before Christmas and was offered the job a few days later.

“As we filled out the paperwork, [Andy Cassells, former DC bureau chief] said he would put my on the payroll starting on Jan. 1 – which meant my first day at work was a vacation day!” Dupree recalled.

The pair continues to stay in touch and Dupree sent him a note recently, thanking Cassells for hiring him.

“I should be the one thanking you,” Cassells responded. “ Your hire was one of a couple I never regretted and never needed to look back on the decision...I know you have had to overcome some tremendous challenges and I am so proud of the way you have done it. Many others would have thrown in the towel in the face of such adversity. Keep it up!”

One of those challenges is tongue protrusion dystonia, a rare neurological disorder that took Dupree’s voice and kept him off radio for two years.

On June 18, listeners were introduced to Jamie Dupree 2.0, a voice created from his past recordings and paired with text-to-speech programming, allowing Dupree to get back on radio.

“I tuned in from home to see how it would sound,” he wrote. “It all seemed so normal. The anchor reading the intro: ‘More from Jamie Dupree in Washington.’ And then my story played on the radio, just like up until the spring of 2016.”

In November, the Radio Television Correspondents' Association honored Dupree with the Career Achievement Award for Distinguished Reporting on Congress.

“I will never, ever give up,” he said in his acceptance speech.

With more than 30 years covering Congress, Dupree has more than a few stories to share.

“I’ve been lucky to cover some very interesting people from the state. Senators like Howard Metzenbaum and John Glenn, Congressman Tony Hall — I’ll always remember when he went on a hunger strike,” he recalled.

Dupree also covered Rep. John Boehner and his journey to Speaker of the House of Representatives.

“I got to know Boehner well because he would sit for hours in the House Speaker’s Lobby and smoke cigarettes with his fellow lawmakers — back when smoking was allowed in the Capitol,” Dupree said.

He’s also made close friends at WHIO throughout his career, including Larry Hansgen, Jim Barrett, Nancy Wilson and many others.

Though he spends most of his time in DC, Dupree makes sure to swing by and visit Dayton.

“One other reason I like to come to Dayton is that I’m a licensed ham radio operator as well, so I’ve often come to town for the Dayton Hamvention, which has been held in recent years in Xenia,” he said.

Dupree is also working on a book covering his years as a reporter.

The working title? “Alcohol is a depressant, but so is the Senate.”

You can hear WHIO Radio’s Jamie Dupree reporting as “Jamie Dupree 2.0” on AM 1290 and News 95.7 WHIO. Listen here: on.whio.com/WHIORadio.