Carrie Moten, the fast-talking gossip queen on KRQQ's (93.7-FM) popular "Johnjay and Rich" morning radio program, shocked its loyal listening audience by quitting the show late last month.

"Congrats to Carrie," wrote host Johnjay Van Es on his Twitter account July 31, announcing her departure. "She is off to chase her TV and radio dreams outside of our show. Good luck."

In a phone interview with the Star Thursday, Moten, 32, said it was the hardest and the easiest thing she has ever had to do.

"The show is in a great place, but a different place than I am right now," she added. "The easiest part was finally making that decision to stand up for myself and really take into account my worth and the things I wanted to do with my life."

A Sahuaro High School graduate, Moten joined "Johnjay and Rich" seven years ago when it was still based in Tucson. Since that time it has moved to Phoenix and now broadcasts through most of Arizona and in parts of Colorado and Oregon.

As it continued to grow, Moten said, she became less and less enthusiastic about her role.

"It was being somewhere and knowing that it wasn't my path anymore," she said. "It didn't feel like I was supposed to be there. I knew that I was ready for the next challenge."

So what is that next challenge?

Moten isn't sure.

She still writes for 944, a fashion and lifestyle Web site and publication, and plans on returning to host "The Very Bad Movie" on Tucson's KTTU-TV, when it kicks off its fourth season later this year.

Other than that, Moten said she is entertaining offers, both in and out of state.

She has an agent and knows she wants to stay in radio or television. She hopes to find something that will allow her to keep the fans she has made over the years.

"I really felt like I bonded with listeners," she said. "I went through breakups and makeups. You can put yourself in a vulnerable place on radio. I grew into my role, and I don't feel like I could have done that without having such supportive listeners."

Travel's 'Dr. Mike' visits Sonoran Desert

Television personality Dr. Mike Leahy takes on the Sonoran Desert in an episode of "Bite Me With Dr. Mike" airing Tuesday on the Travel Channel.

The series follows Leahy as he gets way too up close and personal with some of the world's most renowned predators and pests. More often than not, these creatures are not pleased and respond accordingly.

During his time in Arizona, Leahy goes head-to-head with a Gila monster and tempts fate by handling a brown recluse spider.

Leahy also travels to Florida in the episode. It begins at 7 p.m. and repeats at 11 p.m.

Contact reporter Gerald M. Gay at 573-4137 or