General

Two Years Making (Radio) Waves

After authoring three books and seeing travel writing opportunities shrink a couple of years ago, I pondered the future. Another book? Ramp up article queries? Retire? None of those options blew my skirt up.

And then I remembered Kelly and I running into Lola Wagenvoord while munching breakfast at the Tin Can Café years ago. Lola owns several radio stations, including WTAN in Clearwater. Having served as a radio show host in Miami in the 1990s, Lola reignited the idea of doing the same in Clearwater. Would her offer still be good? I called Lola and she said yes.

I discussed the idea with Kelly, particularly the notion we’d co-host a show together. At first reluctant – public speaking frightened her – she agreed. It seemed only natural considering her first name and our surname that it be called The Kelly Kelly Show.

As we brainstormed the type of show we’d present, Kelly didn’t favor the premise of withering political debates and deep-into-the-weeds issues. “Why not a light-hearted, old-fashioned variety show that’s upbeat and positive?”

I liked it. We’d do interviews with candidates and elected officials, to be sure, but with the idea of presenting contrasting views rather than pinning guests up against the wall or only having guests who agreed with our points of view. Our show would be open to everyone no matter their political affiliation and contrasting views would be welcome. We’d also feature respectable business leaders, sponsors of events and charities.

It sounded good to me, although I wanted to add occasional segments about sports, dining, nightlife and a dose of rock-and-roll with a few contests here and there. So, we met with Lola, booked an hour each Monday during the afternoon rush hour from 5 to 6 on the TanTalk Radio Network, and we were off and running.

Sort of.

We were starting from scratch and needed advertising sponsors to cover expenses. Coming aboard in that regard: Guy Harvey Enterprises and St. Jude Children’s Hospital. They’re still sponsors along with Amplify Clearwater and the Tampa Bay law firm of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril and Noyes.

We also needed to create promotional ads to run daily that would create interest in the show. Three friends acquired over the years (thanks to a mutual love of fishing) agreed to help out: football coaching legend Jimmy Johnson, baseball hall-of-famer Wade Boggs and world-renowned marine artist Guy Harvey. Their same 30-second promo for The Kelly Kelly Show continues to run every day.

If you’re unfamiliar with the TanTalk Radio Network, the studio is at WTAN in Clearwater – you can’t miss seeing the broadcasting tower just off North Myrtle Avenue. Our show airs live on two FM and three AM signals blanketing Pinellas, Pasco, Hillsborough and Manatee counties. The main signals in Clearwater are 106.1-FM and 1340-AM. You can view the programming schedule at tantalk1340.com.

Our show is also podcast – we actually have ex-pats from around the world listening – at internetradiopros.com (click on the link to our show) and aired live on Facebook on The Kelly Kelly Show page.

Guests from around Florida and Tampa Bay have included 10 mayors, city employees, Congressional members, political candidates, business owners, sports figures, artists, musicians, book authors, community leaders and all around interesting people. We’ve even had an owl as a guest!

We just celebrated the two-year anniversary of The Kelly Kelly Show. And Kelly, no longer meek and shy, has turned into a great co-host. Together we’re having a lot of fun interviewing remarkable people; the show’s become a platform for those trying to make positive changes for residents and businesses. We’re especially proud that our show has become recognized by many as a community asset.

One never knows what the future may hold, but certainly in a personal sense The Kelly Kelly Show has been a rewarding creative release for us. Even more importantly, we’ve met some really wonderful people along the way. And so, as we celebrate two years on the air and hope to do so for years to come, I invite you to tune-in and join us.

Below is a gallery of just a few of the guests:

   

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