Sunday, July 29, 2007
Kathy Hart is the co-host of the top-rated Eric & Kathy show on WTMX 101.9 FM
Oh my. Here we go……….. ’95-current WTMX; ’94-’95 WNCI in Columbus, OH; ’92-’94 KVRY (KZZP) and KDKB Phoenix; ’90-’92 WTRG and G105 in Raleigh, NC; ’87-’90 WZOK in Rockford; ’85-’87 Z95 in Milwaukee; ’83-’85 WYFE/WKKN in Rockford.
Rick: People may not remember that you were actually doing the morning show at WTMX before Eric arrived in town. What do you remember from those days, and how did you first react to Eric when he arrived?
Kathy: The program director fired the morning show (Patterson and Faulkenberry) while I was doing PT/vacation fill-in. They put me in mornings while they looked for a replacement. They decided I “would do” in the meantime, but eventually I asked for a partner. I got into radio because it wasn’t a lot of work. Doing mornings by myself, I was waking up at 2:50am. That’s STUPID early. I was thrilled when Eric (photo) came on board because it meant less work for me and he grew up in Chicago. Bringing on a local boy meant not having to ‘explain’ Chicago to him.
Rick: The show was not an instant success, but it slowly but surely built an audience, despite some pretty big-name competition (Brandmeier, Stern, Mancow, etc.). What was it about the Eric and Kathy show that helped you break through the clutter and beat all of the bigger name competition?
Kathy: As much as I would like to take credit for our talent being the reason for our success, I believe our early success was a result of good timing. When we were finding our groove, Brandmeier and Wendy & Bill left the airwaves. It seems we got a few listeners ‘by default’ early on but eventually it was our incredible talent that kept them around. (Laughs) The sarcasm doesn’t translate on paper, does it?! In all seriousness, I believe it was as simple as our ability to relate to the audience and include them in the show.
Rick: The Eric & Kathy show really is an ensemble. There's also Barry, Melissa, Swany, and Cynthia. Not many shows have six names that are recognized by the audience. How would you describe everyone's role on the show?
Kathy: Over the years, every member of the show has become an integral part of “The Eric & Kathy Show”. They each bring a different opinion/lifestyle to the show.
Rick: Your company, Bonneville, has never been shy about advertising your show. That certainly hasn't hurt your success, but how weird is it to walk or drive around the city and see your face everywhere? Do people ever stop you, point to your face, then point to the billboard, and say..."Hey, aren't you...?"
Kathy: Bonneville has been incredibly generous in marketing the show. The first time I drove past a billboard with my face on it was a bit surreal. I have to admit……I took a picture of it and sent it to my mom in Phoenix! Now, I just thank God for Photoshop!!
Rick: One of the things that your show is famous for is having the biggest-name guests. In the ten plus years you've been doing the show, you've literally had almost every celebrity on the air. Is there anybody left who you'd still like to have on the air?
Kathy: I would like to have Jennifer Aniston, Bono and Mayor Daley on the show.
Rick: Who were your favorite and least favorite guests and why?
Kathy: One of my favorite guests was Lenny Kravitz. I was a Lenny fan before he got radio play. I was like a giddy schoolgirl when he came in the studio the first time. I even went out and bought a new outfit! Matt Damon was also cool because he remembered the names of everyone on the morning show. I don’t have many least favorite guests because I’m happy with the experience of any interview, however, Cyndi Lauper comes to mind. She was very serious and rambled on and on about nothing. As much as we tried to turn it around, she would have none of it!
Rick: Recently your show was in the news because of the couple that was supposed to get married on the air without ever meeting each other. In retrospect, how do you feel about that promotion?
Kathy: While “Two Strangers and A Wedding” did not result in a marriage, it answered our question on whether or not love is blind. In the case of Ted and Laura, it was not. And anytime a radio station gets TV coverage on a local and NATIONAL level that is a huge success!
Rick: Speaking of marriages, you and Eric probably spend as much time together as you and your husband do. In what ways is your radio marriage the same or different as your real marriage?
Kathy: I’ve been with Eric almost as long as I’ve been with my husband. The relationships are the same in that we ‘get’ each other, we embrace our differences and actually enjoy our time together. I don’t think I need to go into details on how it’s different. (laughs)
Rick: So where does the Eric and Kathy show go from here? How long do you see yourself doing this show?
Kathy: It’s difficult to think about ‘where the Eric & Kathy Show” goes from here’ because I am having so much fun, I can’t imagine doing anything else. As long as Chicago will have us, I hope to stick around.