I'm a morning announcer on classical music station KMZT. My alarm goes off at about 4:30 a.m. It's not hard having the alarm go off. What's hard is sounding cheerful and happy at 6 a.m. because I've never ever been a morning person. I'm a morning announcer, but not a morning person.
When I crack the mike open, I figure people are like me, so I try to leaven the agony of waking up. My philosophy about radio announcers Howard Stern notwithstanding is that people are tuned in for the music. They want to hear their Beethoven.
I have a philosophy of staying out of the way, but to keep myself sane, I thrown in a little bit of a sub-show. I do a very straight show and at the same time, because I grew up with Firesign Theatre and Monty Python and listened to everything that the Beatles did to excess, I have a subversive show that is simultaneously going on. I'll come up with zingers, and then move on. So it's basically two shows at once. I can't do that kind of show out front, but I can throw it in-between the lines. Sometimes people at the station will come in and tell me, "That was a good one."
Probably one-third of the audience actually hears me, another one-third is just desperate for coffee, and the rest hear just the music.
The thing about classical music, as opposed to pop, is that it's the same record you play 30 years later. I've introduced Mozart's "A Little Night Music," serenade 100 times. So the day before, I look over tomorrow's program and try to think of how to keep it interesting for the listeners and myself.
I've been doing classical radio announcing since 1972 and this is my third tour of duty at 105.1. It took me a few years to realize that radio would and could flourish without my presence. I had a fairly high opinion of myself, and in radio, getting fired is a badge of honor.
We have a program director, but I'm able to break out of the regular playlist and do a few tracks of my own every day. I recently heard a piece of music I hadn't played in 25 years, so I dug up a recording and played that.
I get off the air at 10 a.m. and like most radio announcers, I'm out the door at 10:01 a.m. Then, I go to the gym for two hours, I do my workout, and then I head home to my home/office, where I make lunch or go to a restaurant.
Then I work in my own studio, called Cardiff Studios, for part of the day. I have clients all over the country, like the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and I do voice-overs for them. They send me the copy, I produce the spot, burn it to an MP3 and post it on a Web page for the client and e-mail it to them.
Since I started in 1990, I've gone from reel-to-reel tape, to CDs, and now there's no physical copy of my work. The deadlines keep moving up quickly. Last week, they needed a spot by day's end. I do Kennedy Center, Washington Performing Arts Society. I had to record 1,200 names for the Boston Pops, so when regular listeners logged onto their site, my voice says: "Welcome back, Kate." It's a living. The good news is if you do it once, you're indispensable.
Every client I have comes to me through contacts. I work at it about three to four hours a day, until about 5 p.m. or 6 p.m., so it's just comfortable enough that I have room left over to watch Jon Stewart's "Daily Show" at night. "
Morning show host
Origins: Catskill Mountains
Favorite Composers: Mahler, Wagner
Favorite CDs: Yo Yo Ma performing Dvorak's Cello Concerto; Esa Pekka Salonen conducting Mahler's Symphony No. 3 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Favorite Pastime: Teaching scuba diving
Recent Vacation: Tuscany
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