Kay O’Day Launches 1940s Style Radio Show!
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Radio used to be the main source of news, entertainment, and information for most American citizens. Eventually, television replaced it as the preferred form of mass communication. But there’s still a number of renegade individuals who prefer radio to TV.
Kay O’Day is one of those individuals.
When asked about the role radio has played in her life, Kay says, “It’s been a constant,” without a glitch. “TV comes and goes. Like MTV is almost not even recognizable any more as to what it was. But radio has never changed. There are still some personalities that I remember listening to as a younger person that are still doing their thing. It’s just almost like a comfort blanket. If things go bad, the first thing I do is turn on the radio.”
Kay can still avidly recall the bittersweet moment when she decided she wanted to be a radio DJ. It was when the announcement came that Metal Works, her favorite show, was being taken off the air. The show was hosted by her icon DJ, Lonn David. Noting the impact Lonn David had on her led her to a realization about what she wanted to do with her life. “That’s when I decided to become a DJ. Hopefully someone out there will have the same feeling listening to my show.”
However, when Kay was first attempting to breathe life into her dream of being a radio DJ, she discovered it was surprisingly difficult. There aren’t that many places you can go to learn about radio DJ-ing. “Middle Tennessee State University is pretty much the only option here for broadcasting,” she said. “But I didn’t like the idea that you’re pretty much a number, because there are so many people and programs. And they’re just so expensive. I didn’t want to sit in the lecture hall and not actually do anything.” After researching her options online, she quickly discovered that she could gain real industry experience, make connections, and learn by apprenticing from within a professional radio broadcast environment with Radio Connection. And that all of it could be done without having to relocate.
“I talked to the admissions people at Radio Connection,” Kay recalls, “and they asked me a couple of really simple questions about what I listen to and what I liked. And they paired me with (Radio Connection mentor) Eric Black. We both have very similar taste in music and our personalities are very close.”
Since starting her apprenticeship, Kay has gained a working understanding of radio while working on the Internet radio show Revolver Underground which Eric produces and hosts. She’s been perfecting her skills, her voice, and learning the tricks of the trade. Eric even went as far as to arrange an opportunity for Kay to shadow Hayley St. John at 102.9 The Buzz during a live radio broadcast.
Now nearing the end of her apprenticeship, Kay has embarked on starting a podcast titled “W.H.A.M.” aka “Wartime Hits and Memories.” The production is styled as a 1940’s old time radio show with 40s hits and newscasts covering current events but in a decidedly 1940s style. Seeing the initiative that this takes has prompted her mentor Eric to entrust her with even greater responsibilities on Revolver Underground. Kay sounds pretty proud when she says, “I am producing the show now. And once a month or so, I’ll pick out the music and do the entire show myself.”
Kay O’Day has learned not only the tasks and skillsets associated with producing and DJing a radio program, but she’s also made numerous connections within the field. Now her timeless love for radio, along with the skills she’s built, are enabling her to build a career that’s all her own!