CapRadio anchor and proud alumnus celebrates 30 years on the air

Capital Public Radio's morning news anchor Steve Milne
Capital Public Radio morning news anchor Steve Milne broadcasts “Morning Edition,” the station’s most popular news program. (Sacramento State/Steve McKay)

For thousands of listeners across Northern California and beyond, Steve Milne’s voice is one of the first they hear every morning.

This past week, the Capital Public Radio morning news anchor celebrated three decades with the nonprofit news operation – a major milestone in a journalistic career that started not far from the booth from which he broadcasts today.

Capital Public Radio is licensed to and headquartered at Sacramento State, from which Milne earned a bachelor’s degree in government/journalism in 1985. As the host of “Morning Edition,” his is one of the station’s most prominent and recognizable voices, reaching more than 100,000 listeners each week.

“I got into journalism because I wanted to try to make a difference, to tell stories about people who don’t really have voices,” Milne says. “My experience at Sacramento State really drove me in that direction.”

Growing up, Milne would tag along with his dad to the Sac State campus and says he never doubted he, too, would be a Hornet. He broke into broadcasting with Capital Public Radio as a student intern in 1983.

Over the past 30 years, Milne has served in a multitude of roles on and off the air: He hosted the popular world music program “Global Beat,” reported hard-news stories as a newscaster, contributed to award-winning documentary series, anchored “All Things Considered,” and in 2009 took over as co-anchor of “Morning Edition” – the station’s most popular program.

But for all the accolades he has earned over the years, Milne says his greatest reward is still simply being able to use his voice to inform, educate, and inspire his listeners, to tell stories that otherwise wouldn’t be heard.

He says Sac State and Professors William Dorman and the late Joe Serna Jr., who served as the city’s mayor from 1993 to 1999, had a profound impact on him personally and professionally.

“For both William Dorman and Joe Serna, there was passion but also the high ideals of what journalism could do to change society (and) make the public aware of injustices in the world … instilling in the students that we had a great future ahead of us and that we could make a difference,” Milne says.

As he celebrates 30 years of making a difference, Milne is still embodying the principles and ideals that inspired him to get into journalism all those years ago.

Congratulations to Steve on a truly remarkable career, and here’s to many more years on the air! Be sure to check out his Made at Sac State profile for a more detailed look into the life of one of the most popular personalities in public radio.


These women mean business

Four Sacramento State alumnae made the Sacramento Business Journal's 2016 list of "Women Who Mean Business."
(Sacramento State/Sam Macapagal)

Congratulations to the four dynamic Sac State alumnae named to the Sacramento Business Journal‘s 2016 class of “Women Who Mean Business.”

Christine Ault, Carol Burger, Judy Kjelstrom, and Keri Thomas have excelled as leaders in careers that span the region’s professional spectrum.

Each year, the Sacramento Business Journal celebrates the capital region’s top female movers and shakers with its “Women Who Mean Business” awards.

This year, Sacramento State was well-represented by alumnae who are shaping the future of Sacramento in everything from health care and culture to science and economics:

  • As an independent communications consultant, Christine Ault has worked with organizations throughout the region to unite economic interests, hone in on the city’s strengths, and take steps forward to create jobs and bolster the local economy.
  • When it comes to the well-being of the city, Keri Thomas has had some of the biggest impacts as the director for governmental and community relations for Sutter Health Valley Area. A champion of the region’s most underserved populations, she is personally responsible for programs and initiatives that bring health care to people in the region who need it the most.
  • In that same vein, Carol Burger has been helping patients get back on their feet since 1978, when she founded her own outpatient therapy business, Burger Rehabilitation, which provides physical, occupational, and speech therapy for people around the region.
  • Finally, as director of the biotechnology program at UC Davis since 2004, Judy Kjelstrom presides over a program that shapes students who make real-world impacts on everything from agriculture to pharmaceuticals.

The “Women Who Mean Business” awards luncheon will be held June 17 at the Hyatt Regency Sacramento and will honor 17 awardees who join a group of 112 elite women who have been honored by the Business Journal over the past 12 years.

Congratulations to our four outstanding alumnae for their remarkable careers and these well-deserved honors – they are Made at Sac State.

The (Silk) Road to success

Payam Fardanesh on "Made at Sac State — The Video Magazine" Season One
Payam Fardanesh (center) chats with “Made at Sac State – The Video Magazine” host Gloria Moraga and Professor Seung Bach, interim associate dean for undergraduate programs, about Silk Road Soda.

When Payam Fardanesh founded Silk Road Soda, his line of Mediterranean-inspired drinks, in 2012, he was selling one bottle at a time out of the trunk of his car. Four years later, he’s bringing the tastes of his childhood to the entire country.

In the past year alone, Fardanesh has inked deals with some of the biggest names in retail, catapulting his brand into the national spotlight. Still, the Sac State alumnus remains grounded in his family roots and the memories of his grandmother, brewing and sipping the same suds he sells today.

“I was re-creating my childhood when I made the product,” Fardanesh says. “It’s a pretty simple drink, but everyone in Iran has it.”

The entrepreneur spent his formative childhood years in Iran. The Silk Road Soda line is his version of his grandmother’s own recipe for the sweet-and-sour Mediterranean drink sekanjabin. It is traditional and simple, made primarily with mint, sugar and vinegar, and it is a staple in countries like Iran, Greece, and India.

Fardanesh was the first to bring it stateside on a commercial scale. Sacramento, he says, was the perfect place to test the market, thanks to the city’s diversity.

“There are so many different cultures that are really tied to Sacramento,” he says. “We really have a melting pot here. … It really was a launching pad for us.”

Silk Road Soda may have its roots in the Middle East, but the company got its start at Sac State: Fardanesh met his original business partner in the Master of Business Administration for Executives (EMBA) program. He earned his degree in 2011, launched the brand in 2012, and hasn’t looked back since.

In 2016, Fardanesh signed his first national contract with Cost Plus, and Silk Road Soda today is shipped by 10 different distributors to nearly every state in the country. The company’s growing success snowballed into a blockbuster pact with CostCo, where they will begin rolling out his product by the case starting in the Pacific Northwest later this year. That deal alone, he says, could end up accounting for over one-fifth of the company’s business.

This year, Fardanesh expects to sell more than 30,000 cases — an amount that no longer fits in the trunk of his car. That’s a problem he’s happy to have.

“For the younger entrepreneurs that think they can’t get it done here in town, I would say they’re wrong,” he says. “If you have a great idea and a good pitch and good promise, there are the faculties in our community to grow a small business.”

Click here to see Payam’s interview with Gloria Moraga in the College of Business Administration episode of the first season of Made at Sac State — The Video Magazine.