DREAM BIG blog series: Elizabeth Kay, radio show co-host

Elizabeth with American Idol winner Phillip Phillips
What is your official job/job title?
I am the morning radio show co-host on 99.1 The Mix in Milwaukee.

What do you like most about your job?
I'm never bored and I get paid to have fun in my hometown of Milwaukee! It's an extremely fast-paced work environment in the media because the news and pop culture headlines are always changing. I also get the opportunity to meet some amazing people with my job and I am a music freak. I love all genres of music and I really
enjoy attending concerts, which we get to do often.

What do you like least about it?
Having to go to bed at 8:00 p.m. and having to wake up at 3:45 a.m.
Did you always want to be a radio personality?
I did a lot of public speaking since I was in grade school and I was always comfortable behind a microphone. I didn't figure out I wanted to be a radio personality until college, when I had to create a radio advertisement for a public relations class. I thoroughly enjoyed the creative process behind that project and that's when I knew radio was the path I wanted to follow. 

What was your dream job when you were 12 years old?
I wanted to be performing in either singing or acting.
If you could do any other job in the world, what would it be?
I'd love to be a movie actress (looks like my 12 year-old dream hasn't died)!
How long did it take to become a radio personality and what did you have to do?
It took me two years of a part-time college internship at a local radio station until I finally landed my first full-time on-air position doing the "Night Show" (7:00 p.m. - 12:00 a.m.) at a country radio station in Green Bay.

What was the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome to achieve your dream?
It was hard to move away from Milwaukee, but in the media that is necessary a lot of the times to gain experience. I worked at a radio station for four years in Green Bay. During that time I learned a lot about myself and I was given several opportunities to grow in my career. In a smaller market like Green Bay, there are not as many employees compared to a larger market like Milwaukee. That resulted in me performing all kinds of different job duties which broaden my knowledge of the radio business and helped me to gain a greater appreciation for everyone's roles at a radio station.
Was there ever a time that you almost gave up on your dream?  What kept you going?
Yes, after four years in Green Bay my goal was to move on to a larger market. I spent two years interviewing for radio jobs all over the country and I was called in for quite a few interviews, but I wasn't landing any job offers. I felt defeated and I felt as if I didn't belong in the radio world anymore. Finally, my husband was offered an opportunity to further his firefighter career in our hometown of Milwaukee. He accepted and we moved back home, but I still didn't have a job. Since I graduated with a Public Relations/Advertising degree on top of my Journalism Broadcasting degree I was able to pick up a full-time job as the Marketing Manager at First Stage! I loved my time at First Stage (as an alum of their program, who wouldn't enjoy being back). I had a connection to the morning show producer on 99.1 The Mix. He called me when I moved back to Milwaukee to ask if I wanted to fill in on the morning radio show. Thankfully First Stage was gracious enough to let me do that and about a year and a half later, The Mix called to offer me a full-time job on their morning show with Kidd O'Shea and that's where I am today.

What advice would you give to someone considering this career path?
You must have an internship and be willing to put in long hours. This type of job is all about experience. The more that you put yourself out there and volunteer to take on a variety of tasks the more you'll learn, the more you'll grow and the more versatile you'll become in this industry. Never burn bridges...this is a unique business and it's a small business so you never know whose path you might cross again and most importantly, have fun!

Catch Elizabeth on 99.1 The Mix, weekdays 5:00 - 9:00 a.m. 

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