Month: June 2014

Becoming a Morning Radio Host; Create and Take Your Opportunities

Word has traveled far and wide that I am moving to Indianapolis to become the new host of Indy’s Morning News with Tony Katz on 93.1FM WIBC. The columns and the comments about the move have been mostly complimentary, with a few people lamenting the fact that someone with the ability to wake people up might actually, you know, wake people up.

It has been an amazing run since starting the radio show from scratch just over four years ago; Amazing, tiring, exciting and filled with mistakes and mis-steps that had to be overcome.

The question I’ve been asked most (aside from, “Do you have any idea how cold it gets in Indianapolis? The answer is yes, I do. Yes, I’ve purchased many coats. Yes, my cigars will keep me warm.”) is, why a morning radio host?

If I’ve learned anything about this business, it’s that opportunity is everything. I never saw myself as a morning host, but I never ruled it out. When I first had an interest in radio, I did mornings on a very small station in Clearwater, FL for two hours each morning. It was fun.

I went on to do shows in the afternoon, and in the evenings. I filled-in for people in the mornings and the mid-day. It was all fun. Every part of every day on the air was (and is!) fun. Sometimes, the off-air stuff wasn’t fun. The technical issues were not fun. At times, the personalities I had to deal with were not fun. But once the mic was hot? Every moment has been great, regardless of the time slot.

Opportunity is everything, and being ready, willing and able to take advantage of the opportunity – when it presents itself – is the most important skill an entrepreneur can have. (And, really, every radio host is an entrepreneur. Or, at least, the successful ones I’ve met and studied.) When the opportunity to do late nights at WIBC came available, I took it gladly.

I’ve been fortunate to have two outstanding program directors; Jeff Allen at KFTK in St. Louis (who, after listening to me fill in for Dana Loesch repeatedly, gave me a weekend show) and David Wood, who is my current program director at WIBC. Both took interest in the show I was doing and the way I was doing it. Both considered it important to help make it better; Not with negatives, but with ideas and thoughts and research and the valuable insight of their experiences in radio.

I have been very fortunate, indeed. Fortunate to have great people on my side,  and fortunate that I understood early on that I needed to be ready when the opportunity arises, and be willing everyday to do what it takes to make those opportunities happen.

It was David who called me one day and said, “Hey. What do you think of mornings?” I said, “I think mornings are great, and I’d love to have the opportunity. But, I don’t know how others will see me as a morning host.” He said, clearly and deliberately, “Don’t worry. I see it. And they will, too.”

Opportunity presented. Opportunity seized! Mornings is a unique beast. It’s faster. It’s more demanding. It’s a challenge. In the immortal words of Barney Stintson, “Challenge Accepted!”

TONY KATZ GOES TO MORNINGS ON WIBC

It is with great joy that I announce that I am moving to Indianapolis, IN to become the new morning host on 93.1FM WIBC.

This is an incredible opportunity, and I’m looking forward to being on at 5am everyday. I’ve purchased three alarm clocks and four coffee pots.

I will have more on my thoughts about this in the coming days.

From the IBJ story:

Friday was the last day on the air at WIBC-FM 93.1 for longtime radio news personality Steve Simpson.

“We now have more empathy than ever for what the [Indianapolis] Colts went through with Peyton Manning,” said Emmis market manager Charlie Morgan. “This certainly has nothing to do with Steve’s performance. … This should not be taken in any way as our lack of appreciation for Steve’s 22 years of service at WIBC.

“He’s just not the right guy for what the role of host now requires,” Morgan added. “What we’re asking our hosts to do is offer opinion and perspective, and [Simpson] was not comfortable with that. He was more comfortable in a more traditional news role.”

Simpson’s slot, weekdays from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m., will be filled by conservative news talk show host Tony Katz, Morgan said.

Katz, who is based out of Los Angeles, had been doing a show on WIBC from 9 p.m. to midnight. Katz is in the process of selling his L.A. home and moving to Carmel, Morgan said.

“Tony’s is a local show,” Morgan emphasized, “not a syndicated show.”

Katz will take his new post as morning news host June 30. Until that time, Abdul-Hakim Shabazz will fill in during the morning drive-time slot.

With Katz in the driver’s seat, there will be no less emphasis on news, traffic and weather, Morgan added.

“It’s just that the role we’re asking our host to take has shifted,” he said.