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New show adds history at WRFX-FM

By Mark Washburn
mwashburn@charlotteobserver.com

New midday host Morgen at WRFX-FM (“Fox” 99.7) is all about the music.

Six years of guitar lessons and a lifetime of loving rock – she even married a bass player three years ago – has prepared her for her new gig, where she drops tidbits of insight into the history of classic cuts from an encyclopedic music memory.

She respects the power of music to create moods and propel people to other times, based on hearing a particular song. Supertramp’s “Take the Long Way Home,” popular in 1979, always makes her flash back to her high school prom, and the boyfriend who dumped her there.

“My job is to host the moment,” says Morgen, 40, known in real life as Mary Kathryn Windham. “People remember and go back to a simpler time when that song gave them joy.” Listeners often call to talk about memories attached to songs she plays.

Dispensing quick facts in a husky voice as the music comes up has certain limits to her: “You don’t talk over the beginning of ‘Stairway to Heaven.’ Blasphemous.”

Windham was born in Washington State while her father was in the Air Force. He retired to Charleston when she was 5. She took broadcasting courses in community college and eventually landed on a Charleston station as an intern.

When her internship was up, she kept showing up for work. Nobody seemed to notice. She worked free for about a year before a supervisor, impressed with her banter, realized that she wasn’t on the payroll. She was pretty soon, though, working part-time for $7.50 an hour.

Through the years, she kept finding part-time work on radio while keeping various day jobs to pay the bills. Finally, five years ago, she got a full-time offer from Clear Channel at one of its big Charleston stations. At last, she figured, she’d made it.

Now, she’s sure. Succeeding Bill Summerville, better known as “Mr. Bill” to “Fox” listeners over the last 15 years, she jumped from Charleston, the nation’s 82nd largest radio market, to Charlotte, market No. 24. (She still does her old show in Charleston, though, at WRFQ-FM (“Q” 104.5), through a computer link during breaks from her “Fox” show.)

“It’s like being invited to the big game,” she says. “I can actually do what I want to do and make a living. It’s all I ever wanted.”

Media Movers

Local winners of Emmys for the mid-South region are Stuart Watson, John Gray and Rachel Clapp of WCNC (Channel 36) for investigative reporting; Jeremy Markovich, Gray, Watson and Clapp of WCNC for news special; Markovich and Greg Bailey of WCNC for sportscast; Ron J. DeJoseph Jr. of WSOC (Channel 9) for animation; Joshua King, Andrew Manzella, Rossana Seitter and Randy Fulp of WSOC for technical achievement; Christine Nelson and John Carter of WBTV (Channel 3) for morning newscast;

Alex Farmartino of Raycom Sports for sports segment; Farmartino, David Barringer, Robert Reichley and Jeremy Williams of Raycom for sports series; Williams, Farmartino and Thomas Kane of Raycom for magazine program; Michael Brouder, Michael Emerick and Adam Shumaker of Fox Sports South for sports promo; Hammond Reynolds, Rohan Backfisch, Randy Stephens and Tom Huet of Fox Sports South for live event; Anthony Fedele of Concentrix Music and Sound Design for audio; Fred Story of Concentrix for composing and arranging; and Len Faulconer and Resa Toeller of UNC-TV for promo spot. …

Brittney Cason, former Panthers cheerleader and co-host of NASCAR’s “3 Wide Life,” moves from the morning “The O Show” on WNKS-FM (“Kiss” 95.1) with Jeremy “Otis” Maher and Brendan Croghan to sports talk WFNZ-AM (“Fan” 610) on “The Mac Attack” with Chris McClain and Jim Celania. Cason will do hourly sports news flashes. … Keynote speaker for the “For Sisters Only” event in Charlotte April 28 will be syndicated talk show host Wendy Williams. ... Tara Servatius, the former WBT-AM (1110) personality resigned this week as a blogger for the John Locke Foundation after illustrating an item about President Obama with an image that showed the president in chains and with a box of fried chicken, will continue as morning co-host on a Myrtle Beach radio station.

Washburn: 704-358-5007; mwashburn@charlotteobserver.com
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