10 Questions with ... Charli McKenzie
September 22, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I am from the Upper Peninsula-Marquette, Michigan. When I was 20 and flunking out of college I was approached by a guy I use to bartend with, who said my voice was amazing and I should look into radio. Well, I was going to school for entertainment/broadcasting so it fit! I spent seven years playing radio on the shores of Lake Superior where winter is from September until June and had the best education of my life. I was then fortunate enough to get an interview at WNCY (Y100) and this is where I've made my home for the last eight and a half years.
1) Hey Charli, you work in Green Bay, also known as Title Town, home of the Packers. Can you describe exactly how cool that is?
It is amazing. We are a very small town with a big town feel because of our Green Bay Packers. What's great is you can drive about 10 minutes out of town and become completely surrounded by calm, quiet and country living and the people are amazing!
2) You've been doing mornings on WNCY for eight years with Bear. That's longer than some marriages last. What makes it work?
We are complete opposites yet get each other. I always tell people that we have a "Regis and Kelly" relationship. I get the pop culture and what is hot now factor, where Bear is quite the radio guy with experience and knows the country audience and what works. Plus, he'll buy everyone he promises a beer at concerts, I stick with a guy like that!
3) So, describe the show. What are the respective roles for you and Bear?
I am the fly by the seat of my pants, young mother with a "put-Bear-in-his-place" type of attitude. I am the girl to go to on any celebrity gossip and get the country music chatter down to a science. He is the most patriotic man I've ever known and is funny because he tries to be funny. It just works. We cover a variety of things every weekday morning and never stay on a subject too long!
4) You're married and have two young girls. How much of your personal life do you include on the show?
A little too much. My husband is always freaked out when someone comes up and out of the blue will say "How is Josie's teething coming" Or "Did Presley get rid of that attitude yet"? I have to re-assure him that making the audience feel that they are part of your friends circle or family member is what makes a show work!
5) You are also the MD for WNCY. If you were forced to choose between mornings and music duties, which would it be?
I would HATE to choose and don't know if I could. I am a born performer and have to be on a show, yet I cannot stand the thought of not having the music duties.
6) You have a distinctive voice that really cuts through. Did people suggest radio as a career when you were young?
My mother always told me to be in entertainment but it was when I was waiting tables and going to school for communications that my bartender heard me and told me I had to go into radio. He worked afternoons at a station; I went there the next day and the rest is radio history.
7) Is there anything about the Green Bay market that makes it unique from the rest of the Country in terms of musical tastes and or trends?
We LOVE the underdog that sings about the working man or woman. But there a lot of young people in Green Bay that are switching to our format thanks to Luke Bryan , Jake Owen and Florida Georgia Line.
8) Put on your MD hat here: Who do you think are the emerging stars of this format?
I think Thomas Rhett can be around for a long time, I also love Drake White, what a talent! I think Bret Eldredge has what it takes as well as Josh Thompson and Jon Pardi So much talent.
9) Country is enjoying huge success right now. Let's pretend you're in charge of the entire format. What are you going to do to keep Country so hot?
Keeping the fun, running out of moonlight, drinking songs coming. They've always worked in Country and still will. I also would try and focus on getting some more hot females in our format. We definitely need some more.
10) What about touring? Does Green Bay or any nearby area get a lot of shows coming through?
Our Research Center is amazing, sits about 8,000 and is sold out for quite a few shows. We also have an old, majestic theatre called The Meyer that has amazing acoustics that needs some more acts to stop and play at.
1. Lambeau Field: Is the tundra really frozen there?
Come in December or January and find out. See if you can even budge some grass or dirt out!
2. How many Green Bay Packers have you met in eight years with WNCY?
Too many to count! The only one I want to get my hands on, er I mean meet is Clay Matthews
3. Say I'm coming to Green Bay this weekend. Tell me three must-see destinations there.
- Obviously Lambeau Field. AMAZING
- Bay Beach. It's an outdoor amusement park where you can get on rides for a quarter! Plus, it has the Zippen Pippen, transported from Memphis. Elvis' favorite roller coaster; come on, need I say more?
- Kroll's restaurant. It's a staple in Green Bay. The best burger you will ever meet, I challenge you!