It's been 10 months since WISN introduced "The Early Spin" with Dan Deibert and Nicole Devin. The wake-up radio show airs weekdays from 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. on WISN-AM 1130.
Deibert, a native of the Quad Cities, has worked in radio for 15 years, including stints in Wausau, Madison and Green Bay. He's also a stand-up comic who regularly performs in comedy clubs.
Devin -- a member of ComedySportz -- won WISN's "Milwaukee Talk Star" contest last summer that landed her a two-year contract as the liberal co-host on the Early Spin alongside the more conservative Deibert.
The basic format is no wheel of reinvention, but the two are particularly well matched, with sharp intellects and wit -- as well as mutual respect. Deibert is even officiating Devin's wedding, but that'll come up later.
OnMilwaukee.com: Is your radio relationship the same as your off-air relationship?
Devin: Yes, it's all real. We're kind of like (a) brother and sister. There's lots of teasing and lots of hand gestures across the table.
Deibert: We disagree on a lot of stuff, but we're still friends. It gets exhausting having to correct Nicole all the time.
Devin: Ha ha.
OMC: What issues do you discuss on the Early Spin?
Deibert: We talk about whatever's in the news. We don't shy away from anything.
Devin: We have a general outline of what we're going to talk about, but we never know where we're going.
OMC: Nicole, how did you hear of the "Milwaukee Talk Star" contest and why did you enter?
Devin: A few months before the contest was announced, I decided to apply to Marquette to get my master's in radio broadcasting. (Devin has a bachelor's in fine art from UW-Milwaukee) Then, a woman at work who was a WISN listener told me about the contest ... Hundreds of people showed up, and I was the very first person to audition. I was told to "just talk" for three minutes.
OMC: Being a "liberal," and knowing WISN was a conservative station, did you censor yourself?
Devin: No ... I talked about birth control.
OMC: Were you surprised you won?
Devin: When we got down to the final three (contestants), I really didn't think I had won.
OMC: How would you describe yourselves politically?
Devin: I'm a Democrat. Socially, I am extremely liberal. Financially, I am somewhat moderate.
Deibert: Conservative. I think the government should be involved as little as possible ... I am not for the death penalty; gay marriage doesn't bother me. I guess I'm close to a Libertarian -- "a republican who likes porn and pot" -- although I don't like pot.
OMC: Dan, where did you grow up and did your family play a large role in the formation of your views?
Deibert: I'm from Rock Island, Ill. My family is very conservative. I started listening to Rush (Limbaugh) when I was like 12. I definitely got my sense of humor from my dad. And he needed one, especially when I told him that the two things I wanted to do were radio and comedy. I'm surprised he didn't have a heart attack.
OMC: What did you dad do for a living?
Deibert: He was a police officer. He actually lost his leg on the job while out on an "animal patrol" call. He was on a ladder, trying to pull a squirrel's nest from the rafters of a garage and a squirrel jumped out of the nest, causing him to fall off the ladder and break his ankle. It was like "Christmas Vacation." The ankle never healed.
OMC: What was your upbringing like, Nicole?
Devin: I was born in Iowa. I'm a "child of the corn" -- grew up on a corn and soybean farm. Everyone in my family is a Republican.
OMC: So, how did you end up a Democrat?
Devin: I was the only girl in the family, so I was always different. And, my parents split when I was 12 and my mom became Super Woman, working three jobs, putting herself through college, raising two kids.
OMC: You both are into comedy. Tell me more about that side of your life.
Deibert: I started doing it at 16. My dad took me to clubs in Davenport. Later, I did ComedySportz in the Quad Cities, and now I do shows a couple of times a month.
Devin: I did a ComedySportz workshop in 2001 right after my marriage ended and I needed something new. I love it; it's so freeing. I perform regularly now with ComedySportz, but not every weekend.
OMC: So, how do you think the show's going so far?
Deibert: It's going.
Devin: I haven't been asked to step back.
OMC: What makes the Early Spin different from other morning shows?
Deibert: We take a lot more callers, and we don't have to stop for music. I think we talk about issues that no one's talking about ... In a moment's notice we'll talk about whether or not you could live without a computer and then go to an interview with a woman who has a monkey in her yard -- and everything in between.
Devin: And we're funny.
OMC: Nicole, do you fit in at WISN?
Devin: Yes, I do. I feel very supported. This is my first job, and I couldn't have started any bigger. Sure, some days I want to cry for all of humanity, but for the most part I've learned to put my emotions aside.
OMC: What do you think of Milwaukee?
Devin: I love Milwaukee. Of course the winter sucks, but there isn't any place better than Milwaukee in the summertime. I love the community feel, and that so many people move away but then come back.
Deibert: I criticize Milwaukee plenty, but I do like Milwaukee. I do think there are plenty of things that Milwaukee could do better. I prefer Waukesha; I'm a small-town person.
OMC: What are your favorite local bands?
Deibert: Love Monkeys.
Devin: .357 String Band.
OMC: Is it true that you are going to officiate Nicole's wedding this month?
Deibert. Yep. I was ordained on the Internet ... It's not going to be a standard ceremony.
OMC: So what are you going to wear?
Deibert: I originally wanted to come out in an Elvis costume, but that was denied. I think I'm going to go to Goldmann's (Department Store) and buy a big, purple suit and a matching hat with a feather.
Molly Snyder Edler chats with Devin and Deibert every Thursday morning at 8:20 a.m. about upcoming weekend events.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.