10 Questions with ... Michelle Mckormick
January 17, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Started in Grand Rapids part time while going to college at WGRD; worked in Grand Rapids for the next 15 years. Moved to New Jersey to work at New Jersey 101.5. Back to GR, then to Detroit to host "Motor City Middays" for CBS for five years. Back to GR to host "Mouth 2 Mouth" on WOOD AM, then to WJRW and WLAV in Grand Rapids.
1. How did you get your start in radio? Why radio?
I was going to Central Michigan University -- they have such a great radio program. I have always wanted to be on the radio. My brother had a "base station" CB radio when we were in grade school. I got on that mic and I was hooked.
2. About what are you most passionate these days?
Radio. Helping to develop young talent... I feel like we don't "train" our up and comers. THAT is my mission. Radio lives. Sadly for my husband, I could talk radio for hours....
3. You work both sides of radio, on a music station morning show and hosting talk, and you've done both in the past. What got you into talk radio, and do you approach your talk show differently from a prep angle or a mindset angle from how you approach working on the morning show?
I got into talk because I wanted to give it a shot. I had been doing mornings and I was given an opportunity to do an evening talk show in Jersey. I knew what I had to say, but I wanted more time to talk to listeners and hear what THEY had to say. The prep is much the same for both mornings and the talk show: if it's entertaining and interesting enough to talk about to one audience, it is for the other.
4. You worked on FM stations that did lifestyle and "guy" talk. How different was it to move to AM talk (first at WOOD, now at WJRW)? Do the different available audiences prompt you to change how you present topics?
Just had to tweak my delivery: same content, just tone down the attitude. I mean, you really can't have, ya know, "Mr. Bondage" come in to an AM talk station, but ya CAN talk about it. Again, if it's interesting and I can find a good angle or spin that is not offensive but makes you want to hear more about it, then it works. But so many hosts automatically think that they have to change WHO they are because now they do talk. I don't think that way. I can cover good content and STILL be my non-political (yawn) non-conservative self and still do a show worthy of the station. You can get "political" talk on ANY dial these days. It really IS okay to be passionate about OTHER things on a talk show.
5. How do you use social media and the web in conjunction with the on-air product? How important are Twitter and Facebook to what you do on the air?
VERY VERY interactive. I try to ask and answer questions. It is a big part of my content. Those who may not call a station WILL comment and be a passionate on Facebook; such great content. I try to keep an OPEN dialogue on my pages even on my off hours. The discussion some days goes longer than any radio show can.
6. Who have been your mentors and inspirations in your career?
Jim Davis -- He was "Big Jim Edwards on CKLW" back in the day. He is one of the good ones who loves the "show" part of radio show. He taught me to care. Everybody wants to do what we do; if you don't give your best, someone else will. Words to live by.
7. You were among the hosts at the FM talker in Detroit, WKRK, which fell into the "guy talk" category. That format, after the abortive "Free FM" experiment, has fallen mostly by the wayside as a 24/7 thing. Do you think it's still a viable concept? Do you think it will ever come back, or is that kind of talk destined to be a morning show or podcast thing from here on out?
That station (loved it) was about ten years before its time... now all of these conservative AM's are switching to FM to get those dollars. I think these will morph into FM talkers (non-conservative, fun content). Our motto was "morning radio all day!"; It was great, and now, with everybody getting "downloadable music," I think people want MORE on the radio. THIS FORMAT WILL COME BACK! It was so damn "listenable"!!!
8. Of what are you most proud?
I have a really great son... and I recently remarried his dad (we had been divorced for 18 years). I am proud that I finally grew up....
9. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without .________________.
...a good belly laugh.
10. What's the most important lesson you've learned in your career?
Lawsuits are not a badge of honor... and be nice. Just be nice. Your time is more valuable to others than it is to yourself.