The newest morning radio team in central Ohio is James and Lisa of WDLR (1550 AM) in Delaware.
James Minter and Lisa Kelch met recently through Facebook, found out they had mutual friends in the business, attended the same church (Vineyard Columbus), were married and had the same number of children (three each).
“We had the same circle of friends, but never crossed paths,” Minter said. “It’s a small world. The six degrees became three degrees of separation.”
For the last couple of weeks, they’ve teamed up and called themselves “The Breakfast Club with James and Lisa,” airing from 6 to 9 a.m. weekdays.
“This opportunity came open to set the show and do what we want to do,” Minter said. “The fact that it was local, a station that wanted to serve the community and connect with all the business owners, was unique.”
“I feel like we’re still learning,” Kelch said. “But I talk to him more than I talk to anybody else during the day. When you sit in front of somebody for three hours, that’s way more time than I spend with my husband, sadly.”
Like many in radio, James and Lisa have worked up and down the dial. Most notably, Minter was known for many years as Viper at local rock station the Blitz; and Kelch has given traffic reports from a helicopter under the name Lucy in the Sky on WCOL.
“Even though we’re both veterans, when you have a new team and the energy and chemistry you need in the mornings, it does take time,” Minter said. “We’re working through that, and learning how to relate to each other. It requires a lot of communication.”
They make fun of themselves and each other, but describe themselves as “normal people” aiming for “hyper-local” appeal.
The duo said the show has some regular features — Brainbuster Trivia, Unlock the Rock and a comedy break, along with news from ABC and Ohio News Network, high school and Fox Sports, NASCAR, as well as contributions from an intern and other staff. The duo also selects the music they play on the show, adult contemporary music dating from 1966 to 1989. It’s a far cry from the Mexican music played on “La Jefa 1550” until 2014.
“We have a decent amount of music we play an hour,” Minter said. “Most morning shows have a lot of talk or are music-intensive. We have a pretty good balance of music, games and content.”
On a typical day, Minter said he wakes up at 4 a.m., gets to station at 5 a.m., and leaves by 10 a.m. However, he and Kelch are thinking about show ideas for tomorrow throughout the day, often calling or texting each other.
“I’d say it’s full-time work, not a full-time job,” Kelch said. “You’re doing it because you love it, not necessarily for the paycheck.”
The Breakfast Club can also be heard on sister station WQTT (1270 AM) in Marysville. In the future, Minter hopes the show will air on more frequencies, and be more involved with remote broadcasts for local events and business promotions.
“We want to be recognized as the voice of the community,” Minter said. “We’re trying to make it fun and entertaining.”
“I want people to think we are the station in Delaware,” Kelch said. “I want the community and businesses to feel like we’re somebody who wants to listen to them.”
Owned by Delmar Communications, WDLR and WQTT are located along Bowtown Road with a 500-watt tower in back. Delmar has five mid-Ohio stations total, including WVXG (95.1 FM in Mount Gilead), WDIF (97.5 FM in Marion) and WINF (98.5 FM in Delaware).
James and Lisa can be reached by calling 740-368-1550 or visiting them on Facebook, the Mid-Ohio Breakfast Club and WDLR websites.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.