20 Questions

Sarah Kay – A Colorful Personality On and Off the Air

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20 Questions is our opportunity to talk with various people in the country music industry. Everyone from musicians and singers to concert promoters and DJ’s.

This month we talk to Sarah Kay of Wynn, Kay and the Morning Crew on WQMX 94.9FM. The Ohio native has become a fixture of the Country Music scene since starting with the Akron radio station 9 years ago.

  1. You grew up in Northeast Ohio…what city and what high school did you attend?

“I grew up in Hartville and graduated from Lake High School. My parents still live in same house I grew up in!”

  1. You are a Kent State alum…how was your time at school there?

“I loved every minute of my time at KSU. I was good at college. I am a bit of book worm, so studying and going to class was so my thing. I got my degree in Broadcast News Journalism and at the time, Kent did not have a ton of focus on radio news. It was interesting because they let us few radio peeps do our own thing and make our own way. I learned so much by kind of jumping in the deep end and learning how to swim, if you will.”

  1. When did you first realize that you wanted to be in the radio industry?

“I would have to say high school. I knew I loved to talk – to anyone who would listen. I loved listening to radio morning shows and I do remember a moment when it hit me and I thought – I could do that. The rest is history.”

  1. You have been at WQMX since 2008, but what other stations were you with before?

“My first job, right out of college in 2004, was at WHBC Mix 94.1 in Canton. I started out part time and worked my way to the morning show. I left in 2008 and had a brief stint at WTUZ 99.9 in New Philadelphia, and then I landed at WQMX.”

  1. What was it like to get promoted to the Morning Show at WQMX?

“Honestly, It was a dream come true. For me, being on a morning show – especially this morning show on this station, is the best gig I could ever imagine. When I got the call saying ‘hey Sarah, we are going to move you up to morning show’….hands down one of the best moments of my life! As a broadcaster, that is the call you pray for.

  1. What is a typical day at work like for you?

“I wake up at 3:30am and try to be at the station by 4:45am – depends on if my hair is cooperating or not. When I get here I put together my Nashville News and produce it and then start some show prep and put together the Daily Scoop for the show. The show starts at 5:30am and to be honest, show prep never ends. I am always on the internet looking for something to chat about – all day. After the show, I pull clips from the show for promos to run throughout the day. We may have promos to record or I may have production to do, meetings etc.”

  1. You do a lot more than just host the WQMX Morning Show with Scott Wynn. What are some of the things that you do that the regular listener might not know?

The morning show is the main gig, but yes there is more. I video record for all of our Rising Star Showcases, Charity Shows and concerts, edit them and manage the station’s YouTube channel. During the morning show, I am in charge of all posts on the station’s social media platforms and WQMX.com. I write promos and you never know when you will see me at a concert picking people to go backstage. We have different remotes and events throughout the week as well.”

  1. What have been some of the highlights for you working at WQMX?

“Of course some highlights include winning the ACM Station of the Year in 2015 and all of our ACM nominations for Personality of the Year for the Morning Show – we are going to win one of these years! The biggest highlight has to be my promotion to the morning show. Being on the radio is my dream job, but mornings are the icing on the cake. When Sue Wilson decided to step aside and move me up, I was borderline speechless. She made my dreams come true and I still randomly tell her this. I get the privilege to work with top notch professionals everyday from Sue to Scott, Ryan Lang, Ken Steel and more at a locally owned and operated radio station. Dream!”

  1. What is your favorite part of your job? Is there a least favorite part?

“I get to talk on the radio everyday, gossip, keep people informed, give away great prizes, play music I love, support amazing causes by giving them a voice, work with friends and going to a concert is considered work – I love my job! The only drawback, and it has it’s perks, is getting up so early. Doing morning radio is more of a lifestyle than a job. You have to adjust your sleep schedule, operate on less sleep, always be looking for show material, etc. But on the same note, by getting up so early you have the rest of the day to do other things.”

  1. You are at a lot of country concerts and events. How do you manage to stay up late and get back up so early and still be so energetic on your show?

“NAPS! Naps are a no joke, a must do even for 20 minutes, everyday occurrence in my life! Ha!”

  1. You have stated more than once that Jennifer Nettles and Sugarland are your favorite country act. What are some of the other country acts at the top of your list?

“Have I mentioned that I love Sugarland a time or two? Really? Jennifer’s voice can move mountains, but I digress. I have a top 5 after my girl and my Sugars – Randy Houser, Lee Brice, Brett Eldredge and Sam Hunt. But, let me say this Garth Brooks lives in his own universe of awesomeness, and I am loving Chris Stapleton, Eric Church, Dierks Bentley, Billy Currington, Maren Morris and the Brothers Osborne right now, as well. The song I am currently obsessed with is “Yours” by Russell Dickerson. It makes me want to renew my vows. LOVE!”

  1. You also support so many charities and emcee benefits. What are some organizations that are near and dear to your heart?

“NEOPAT- Northeast Ohio Foundation for Patriotism, what this organization does for our military and veterans is a thing of beauty. There are days when saying, ‘thank you for your service’ isn’t enough and that is when NEOPAT comes in to help. The American Red Cross, American Cancer Society, Pay it Forward for Pets, Camp Quality, Haven of Rest, Muffins for Mammograms and many more. I do what I can, but I know I can do more.”

  1. I’m sure everyone knows your love of the color pink. When did the passion for the color start and what is the wildest pink item you own?

“The love of pink comes from my love of pigs. The pig came first! I started collecting pigs and piggy banks in elementary school and as you know, they are pink. When I was 13, a friend dared me to wear pink for a month and, well here I am 22 years later still wearing pink everyday. It is hard for me to imagine why everyone doesn’t wear pink. I would have to say my car is my wildest pink item that I own. It’s a Ford Explorer from Ganley and it’s big and pink and I love it!”

  1. You also sport some pretty fun and crazy hats. When did that tradition start and where do you find all of those hats?

“Kind of like with the pink love, the love of hats and head gear just snowballed. I remember having a pig hat for obvious reasons and then someone bought me a flamingo hat because it was pink and then I found myself buying a hat or headband for every holiday or event. An ice cream hat, a tiny sombrero, a cupcake, a cheeseburger, an octopus, an oyster, a pumpkin, a box of popcorn- you name it. And, if I don’t have it, I will find it.”

  1. You also have a love for Cleveland sports teams and Ohio State. What out of all the professional teams is your favorite?

“Ohhhhhhh, this is tough question. If I have to pick, which is what you are asking, I must say Ohio State. Football is my favorite with baseball and the Cleveland Indians being a close second. I turn into a HOT MESS when I watch sports.”

  1. What kind of advice would you give to someone that wanted to follow in your footsteps and get involved in radio?

“Be persistent and patient. Put together a demo and send your stuff to every station you want to work at, and then send it again. Whether you are on-air or in promotions or sales, try everything, volunteer and keep an open mind. At each job I have had in radio I started at the bottom, working overnights or nights and worked my way up to the morning show. When they ask you to work a shift or an event, don’t say no. Persistence pays off.”

  1. You get to emcee a lot of country shows at Blossom, The Country Fest, Rising Star Showcases, etc. But, do you have a favorite show from this past year?

“Hands down Eric Church’s Holdin My Tour at the Q this past February. Over 3 hours of Church. He brought in a choir and played every song you wanted to hear. Epic! Second favorite – Sam Hunt’s 15 in A 30 Tour at Blossom in June. This was his first time headlining and he nailed it with a high-energy show that I didn’t want to end. Maren Morris and Chris Janson were great opening acts as well.”

  1. If you were not in radio, what do you think you would be doing as a job?

“Even though I love to talk, I would love to be a librarian. I love to read! There are weeks that I read 4 or 5 books, so being surrounded by them and helping people find something to read is really appealing to me. And, I have the perfect glasses.”

  1. You blog and post Nashville news daily. But, how can your fans find you online and where?

“I have a website that I update daily with the Nashville News and concert info SarahKayRadio.com. And, of course I am all over social media: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.”

  1. You have some great listeners, what would you like to say to them?

“Our listeners are the best! Without them we would be nada. We do all of this for them and with them. They are loyal and wonderful and I thank them for listening and giving me the opportunity to do what I love every single day!”

Sarah Kay of WQMX with Sugarland – Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush.

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