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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014

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In Milwaukee Buzz

"I was addicted to pop culture before I got into radio," says Kay. "It used to distract me from school and my other responsibilities, but now it's my job."

In Milwaukee Buzz

"(Social media) is one of the best things that could've possibly been done for radio, because we are in a studio where our audience is somewhere we can't see."

In Milwaukee Buzz

"I'm one of the lucky ones who was able to form a friendship with Tony (left) long before I worked for the station."

In Milwaukee Buzz

Kay, on partner Kidd O'Shea: "We just laugh all the time, and both of us are working toward the same goal."

Milwaukee Talks: 99.1 WMYX morning host Elizabeth Kay




Audio Podcast: WMYX's Elizabeth Kay talks about how to discuss sex on a PG radio show
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Elizabeth Kay, 99.1 WMYX morning host, has some big shoes to fill. Not only is the 28-year-old Bay View native one of the youngest -- if not the youngest -- morning personalities on Milwaukee FM radio, she took the reigns from an industry veteran, Jane Matenaer, who was let go by the station this spring.

After a four-year stint in Green Bay morning radio, Kay moved back home -- without a job -- to support her husband as he trains to become a firefigher. Fortunately, Kay was friends with WMYX's music director and morning producer, Tony Lorino, who suggested she do some fill-in work at the station.

A few months ago, Kay was hired as half of the "Morning Mix," a position that occasionally causes her to pinch herself to make sure she's not dreaming. "I still can't believe it's really happening," says Kay. "I grew up in this city listening to this radio station, and now I actually work here."

We caught up with Kay for this latest Milwaukee Talks to discuss her career, pop culture and the chemistry that developed naturally with her on-air partner, Kidd O'Shea.

OnMilwaukee.com: I have to ask. How has it been replacing Jane Matenaer?

Elizabeth Kay: It's an honor to come after someone who I literally grew up listening to. When I was a little kid, I used to "play radio," and one of the stations was The Mix. I used to call into The Mix. It's really come full circle, working with such a good team. I listened to Kidd O'Shea growing up, though oddly enough, we're the same age. I had no idea.

OMC: How is the chemistry between you and Tony and Kidd? Did you slide right in?

EK: I'm one of the lucky ones who was able to form a friendship with Tony long before I worked for the station. Imagine working with one of your friends. It feels very natural, and working with Kidd O'Shea has been great, because we feel like our lives have just been missing each other over the last decade. We fell into place right away. We just laugh all the time, and both of us are working toward the same goal. We're very determined.

OMC: What kind of feedback have you gotten from listeners? I find that people in Milwaukee tend to be a little stuck in their ways when it comes to local media.

EK: One of the nice things about coming in full-time is that I had been here part-time for a year and a half, filling in on the morning show.

OMC: So people kind of knew who you were?

EK: A little bit. It was sort of a gradual transition. They took it really slowly in marketing the new show, but now that I've been there for a few months, the feedback has been really positive. People want to know what happened, because people start their day with you. You're like their cup of coffee, and when you change it, they can get upset. But people are giving it a chance, and we've gained a lot of new listeners, also.

OMC: What's it like to be working in your hometown again?

EK: It's unbelievable. There are good things and bad things. The good things are that you know the city inside and out. You know what it was like to be at County Stadium before there was a Miller Park. You know what it was like to grow up and think the Hoan Bridge was called the "Home Bridge." It's great to talk to people who have walked in the same path that I have.

One of the cons is that I find myself talking about things and remembering that my grandma is listening and my dad is listening. All my neighbors know exactly who I am. I will go to a party or a wedding and immediately I get drilled with questions about what I say on the air.

OMC: I assume you use a "radio name," right?

EK: My first name is Elizabeth, but Kay is close to my real last name.

OMC: So not everyone you went to high school with knows it's you on the air?

EK: Right. However, this is a small city.

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Talkbacks

sandstorm | Sept. 16, 2009 at 2:35 p.m. (report)

easily the most amateur of all milwaukee morning shows, and not amateur in some "refreshing" way. i have a hunch Ms. Kay will cringe if she listens to any part of the show years from now. and i really hope she appreciates this opportunity to learn "on air" because she really doesn't sound ready for this gig. of course neither does O'Shea and he's been doing it for years.

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swami says | Sept. 16, 2009 at 2:07 p.m. (report)

I think she's WAY better than Jane. She's at least in the right demo!

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Wez | Sept. 16, 2009 at 12:57 p.m. (report)

Need to get rid of the woman voice over that says "Kid O'Shea...and Elizabeth Kay". Because it seriously makes me want to puke when I hear it.

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rmsh | Sept. 16, 2009 at 12:52 p.m. (report)

I've only listened once since they let Jane go. I thought Jane was wonderful. She had a great sense of humor and was able to lead the show. I miss Jane.

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trr | Sept. 16, 2009 at 9:14 a.m. (report)

She's way too good looking for radio. How is it that someone as attactive as her is on radio and yet we got, with a couple exceptions, mostly ugly women on our local TV news? Seems backwards to me.

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