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Milwaukee Talks: Carrie Wendt, 2001

Lazer 103's news director Carrie Wendt has seen it all during her career in Milwaukee radio. She's moved up and down the FM dial -- and even moved to Puerto Rico to get away from it all. But a few years ago she gave it one more shot and landed on the Bob and Brian Show, Milwaukee's highest rated morning program.

Known for her wit, sass and self-described "blue" sense of humor, this Tosa native earned her right to play with the big boys of Milwaukee radio. But it wasn't easy. Before Lazer, Carrie crammed herself into a Cessna six hours each day to do traffic, once got paid in oranges and was quite well known on the Milwaukee bar scene. Those were the old days, however, and now Carrie is getting married, living downtown and holding a steady job that she loves.

Her most recent accolade is to be named one of the new Milwaukee legends by columnist and peer down the hall at WKLH, Kevin Brandt. We took a moment to discuss this honor, as well as to figure out what makes this unique Milwaukee chick click.

OMC: What's it like to be compared to Pepperoni Cannoli Guy and Freeway?

CW: They're icons, really. They're Milwaukee fixtures. And now I'm a Milwaukee fixture, can you believe that?

OMC: Kevin Brandt thinks so.

CW: He does, just because he's seen my butt a lot. He's easy to persuade.

OMC: But now you're settling down?

CW: I'm engaged! And I'm very happy. I am engaged to a wonderful man named John Ferrier. He's literally my dream come true.

OMC: You're pretty high-profile for a radio personality. People must know you when they see you.

CW: You know what? They don't, and that's the good part. I was never anybody until I got to Lazer 103. I only had a little bit of fame at WKTI doing airborne traffic reporting.

OMC: How did you get into Milwaukee radio?

CW: I started at WQFM years ago, before it became smooth jazz. I started as a producer for their last of, like, 22 morning shows. While our news director was on maternity leave, they gave me a shot at doing news. I was brutal, terrible, horrible, but I loved the business. It's like a disease. You just want to stay in it. It's just way too much fun. It's summer camp for drug addicts. And you don't have to grow up. You can just have fun.

OMC: Then what?

CW: I got fired from there in 1994, then I went to WAUK sports radio. They resuscitated me and said, "Come on out here and do news." It was a little tiny place out in a field. There were crickets in our drawer. Metro Traffic then stole me and said they were looking for somebody for WKTI. I thought I'd be into that until I realized what flying in a Cessna for six hours a day was really like.

OMC: How long did you do traffic?

CW: A year. Reitman and Mueller and Lips Labell, those guys are great.

OMC: Were you a little too sassy for that station?

CW: A little bit. I didn't quite speak to their demo, maybe. I had a great time, but I asked to stay on the ground when my contract was up, and they said no. Then I went to the Mix for a while.

OMC: You've been everywhere, haven't you?

CW: Do you remember Magic 103.7? I was on that show for a while. I actually had a morning show, but I wasn't named. The show lasted two weeks, our boss got fired, and they stuck me doing news. It was just crazy. And then I moved to Puerto Rico.

OMC: What did you do in Puerto Rico?

CW: I did dentistry. I was a dental assistant in a tiny mountain town.

OMC: You're making this up.

CW: I am not making this up. People paid us in oranges.

OMC: Did you have some sort of identity crisis that caused you to flee the country?

CW: I decided no more radio. No more crap. And every radio person says that the last time they get fired. I gotta get a real job. I gotta grow up. And then you get sucked back in.

OMC: So how long were you in Puerto Rico?

CW: Just about a year. When I came back here, I got a job as an assistant to an oral surgeon. I didn't know what I was doing. Plus you can't really joke around with people who have cotton in their mouth. Then I went to Chicago for a year and tried to be a traffic reporter down there. Windy 100 FM. I was a little too blue for them as well. Didn't work out. My mother got very sick with cancer, and I decided that 90 miles was too far, so I came back here to hang out with her. She passed away this past Thanksgiving. It was the best decision I ever made in my whole life to be close to her.

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OMCreader | Sept. 28, 2006 at 12:31 a.m. (report)

Andre said: She's naufhty but nice, love to listen to her.

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OMCreader | May 18, 2006 at 10:41 a.m. (report)

Steve said: I heart Carrie!

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