Off-Air with Jared Pike of 107.5 WKZL

Jared Pike is living a pipe dream. “I always had an interest in broadcasting,” he tells me, in the same voice I hear every morning on my way to work. “Like a lot of teenage boys, I wanted to be on SportsCenter or do play-by-play for Carolina, but I’ve always loved morning radio and talk radio. Personality-driven radio has always been my favorite.”

Like the rest of us, Jared grew up listening to morning radio and watching late-night TV. Jared moved to Greensboro in third grade and counts local favorites as influences: “I was a fan of Jack Murphy that was here, Busta Brown on 102, he was always really funny.”  The say-anything brand of humor also resonated with Jared in a late-night space: “Any of the big names you can think of, Howard Stern, Conan O’Brien. I was really obsessed with SNL, Adam Sandler, Chris Farley, Will Ferrell. I would take pieces from any radio show that I listened to. We kind of model our show as a late-night show in the morning. It gives you pop culture stuff and games and all that.”

This take has proven to be a hit, seeing that this year, Jared and Katie’s hit morning show won the Morning Show of the Year Award in a large market for the entire state of North Carolina by the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters (NCAB). 107.5 WKZL, Jared and Katie’s home station, also won Best Radio Station in a large market for the state of North Carolina.

Jared had his own sports-radio show at UNCG before taking an intern position at the station. He was a communications major, but in radio, Jared says, “it doesn’t matter. You could have a PhD in broadcasting, but if you don’t have the creativity and chemistry, it doesn’t matter.”

The chemistry between castmates, along with dynamic content, is what keeps listeners captivated. “We work with a great group every day. It’s a very talented group, very kind people; it’s Katie Tesh, Jason Goodman, Man-Kisser Matt Wells, Intern Hugs O’Houlihan (Thomas Marvin).” Jared acknowledges that this set-up is unique. “For some people, and this does not apply to us,” says Jared, “egos can be an issue on a personality-driven show. We don’t have that problem, we’re all friends.”

With the hot-button topics frequently discussed on the show, it’s a good thing the crew all gets along. When I asked Jared about some the crazier stories the show has taken on, he reflects, “Overall, people will just straight tell you all their business. We could have any topic, like who in the Triad has slept with the most people? And people will call in, like 200 people. Escorts will call in and stuff,” he says incredulously.

As far as interesting guests, Jared and Katie got “a good get” with Hillary Clinton. “We had Hillary on the day of the election this year,” says Jared. “We were the only radio station in North Carolina that had her on.” Jared and Katie have also hosted Miley Cyrus, John Mayer, Barack Obama and had an infamous night out with Screech from Saved by The Bell. “That was an interesting night,” says Jared. “It was kind of like when Harold and Kumar meet Doogie Houser.”

Keeping with the late night in the morning theme, Jared recalls an especially mortifying stunt reminiscent of a Jimmy Kimmel scheme: “I lost a super bowl bet one time and I said if I lose- I was very confident I would win- I’ll wear an adult diaper and that’s it on a busy street- at Five Points in Winston-Salem,” he groans. “Sure enough, I’m watching the game and the team I was rooting for dropped the touchdown pass to win and the game was over and I’m like holy crap… We did it right after the show and some guy from Associated Press came by and took pictures and I was on the front page of HuffPost and AOL. I was like the main thing for half a day. You just never know with the stuff that we do.”

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