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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, July 24, 2014

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In Milwaukee Buzz

"The First Lady of Wisconsin News Broadcasters." (PHOTO: Neil Kiekhofer of Front Room Photography )

In Milwaukee Buzz

Wendt holds her own with Brian Nelson (pictured) and Bob Madden. (PHOTO: Neil Kiekhofer of Front Room Photography )

In Milwaukee Buzz

In addition to news, Wendt also does traffic reports. (PHOTO: Neil Kiekhofer of Front Room Photography )

In Milwaukee Buzz

A Bob's-eye view of Carrie at work. (PHOTO: Neil Kiekhofer of Front Room Photography )

Milwaukee Talks: Carrie Wendt, 2007


Regular listeners to "Bob and Brian in the Morning" on The Hog (102.9 FM) and other stations around the state know that the conversation between hosts Bob Madden and Brian Nelson can ping-pong between Russian military history, global warming, Brett Favre, "The Golden Girls," truck stop food and supermodels.

And, that's all in one segment.

Carrie Wendt, billed on the show as "The First Lady of Wisconsin News Broadcasters," often adds a woman's perspective to the proceedings but isn't afraid to "mix it up" and be "one of the guys." A fixture on the show for nearly a decade, Wendt uses her quick wit, sharp tongue and vast array of personal experiences to steer the conversations down different avenues.

After interviewing Bob and Brian in this space about a year ago, we thought it was time to catch up with the woman who keeps them in line (on the air, anyway).

Enjoy this Milwaukee Talks interview with Carrie Wendt:

OnMilwaukee.com: A lot has happened in the world since your previous OMC interview. The country was attacked. We went to war. Your station changed from Lazer 103 to The Hog. What's been happening in your life?

Carrie Wendt: Since 2001? Well, let's see ... I lost my mom to breast cancer. That's what I remember most about my OnMilwaukee.com interview the first time around. I had just sort of come out of that.

Then, on the flip side of that, I had a little boy. He's just the most gorgeous thing and the man of my dreams. He's the guy I've been waiting to meet all my life. He's the coolest of the cool.

OMC: In the previous interview, you were engaged to the man of your dreams.

CW: That didn't work out, but he in fact led me to the man of my dreams. So, it all worked out in the end.

OMC: Becoming a parent is a life-changing event. How have things changed for you?

CW: First of all, I'm not drunk any more when I come in to work. There were plenty of mornings when I came in and I was still drunk. When I look back now, when I first started here, I was just a party girl.

OMC: And now, you're a soccer mom ...

CW: I have to say, Drew Olson, you are always calling me a soccer mom now. My son is not yet in soccer, but he will be in Keith Tozer's Milwaukee Wave camp this summer. I don't drive a minivan and I still can knock back more tequila than you, so enough of that soccer mom talk already!

OMC: Has raising a young man given you any insights into what makes Bob and Brian tick? In what ways has being a mother changed your approach to the show?

CW: It's improved in one way. Those guys (Bob and Brian) are parents. I was just party girl, hanging out there twisting in the wind. Those guys never knew what I was talking about. I would say things like, 'Oh, I went to The Nomad last night and blah, blah, blah.' And they would just look at me and say "Huh? What?'

Conversely, they would be talking about SpongeBob and Patrick and all these characters (from children's shows) and I would say, 'Who are these people?' I had no idea what they were talking about. We had no real middle ground to relate to. Especially since they are so conservative and I'm ... well, they think they've molded me (into a conservative), but I've retained a few of my earlier influences.

OMC: You mean you've stayed in touch with your East Side liberal leanings?

CW: Definitely. And they hate it.

OMC: I bet you hear a lot of people comment about Bob and Brian's political views. It seems like even people who disagree with them keep listening because the show is funny. Have your views changed from hanging around the guys?

CW: I've learned a little bit. I've learned about the liberal bias in the media. But, there are other things. Global warming is still a huge issue between Brian and me. I think he's wrong. I don't know for sure if he's wrong; and, I don't know if I'm right. I don't sit and read all this stuff like I used to. I don't find any ways to debate him when I go home, because I've got my 4-year-old boy and I'm doing stuff with him. I've totally given up my arguments on the show. I get a little bit of heat in e-mail about that, too. People say 'You used to be kind of liberal. You used to tell those guys and give them what-for. And now you don't do anything.' Well, I don't know. If there is something (political) on the show that I disagree with, I pretty much just shut up.

OMC: Ah, but disagreements can be a radio gold mine. What are your favorite bits on the show?

CW: My favorite times on the show are just -- I don't even know if they'd be listener's favorite times, like the funniest bits that listeners could think about when they think of the show. To me, there are certain moments when all three of us, without managing to step on the other person, take something and keep building onto it and keep building onto it and keep building onto it in a visual manner so it really paints this picture of something that we're talking about.

It's just like pinball sometimes. You get out of the studio and say 'What just happened? What was all that. How did we go from this topic to that topic to outer space to back again.' To me, that's really neat. I do feel like in those moments that I really, really fit.

OMC: If you're laughing at something, there is a pretty good chance the audience is enjoying it, too.

CW: I think so. I have a little element of both of those guys in me. When I can make both of them laugh really hard, that's when I'm really proud.

That's what I always shoot for. It was kind of like the same thing with my mom. If I could get my mom to laugh really hard, I was really happy. I think all of us come on to comedy and stuff in ways like that. Everybody is like that.

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Talkbacks

SheerB | Nov. 23, 2007 at 8:53 a.m. (report)

I agree with John - Carrie is the best, and the only time I turn off the show is when Dorene is subbing for her - you are so right about her mispronunciations, etc.! Carrie is so witty, and I love her interactions with the guys.

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Jmedn | July 31, 2007 at 10:33 p.m. (report)

Once upon a time in the not so distant past, there was a knock-out blonde called Carrie-Carrie the phone fairy who could drink all wannabees under the table and make it to work the next day, and then do it all over again the next day. No OFFENSE , Bob and Brian , Your no Mitch(QFM) "Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy, I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy. Carrie, that bartender from"Lipskis" still thinks you make the " Carrie" and Brian+Bob show.............Buddayyyyyy

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wiboots | May 12, 2007 at 12:40 p.m. (report)

Great article. I enjoyed reading and learning about Carrie and her great outlook on life.

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BCZF | May 10, 2007 at 3:24 p.m. (report)

I think Bob and Brian make up most of what they say politically. "Liberal media bias" really? Couldn't it be that the media doesn't print or report everything lock-step from the RNC talking points? Need to speak up or get out people like those two count on bullying people into submission just do something! Or is hanging on aging shock jock coat tails that important?

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Myke the Dancin Machine | May 9, 2007 at 4:35 p.m. (report)

My favorite moments on the show is the same as Carrie's. When the 3 of them without stepping on each other take something & take turns building on it. It works as a smooth flow leading to funnier & funnier volcanic eruptions of laughter.The natural comedic chemistry & teamwork is amazing betweeen these 3 !

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