Newsmakers 2013: ‘Morning Rush’ host has made mark in three yearsWritten by Holly Tuey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
It was nearly three years ago that Sid Kelly — who hosts the current incarnation of “The Morning Rush” on 92.5 KISS FM — came to Toledo from his hometown of Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
“It was a unique situation to come into, to say the least, because of what had happened previously,” Kelly said.
Kelly filled a vacancy made when former host Andrew Zepeda was fired after being indicted on several felony charges. Co-hosts Sara Hegarty and Demetrius Nicodemus had been on Andrew Z’s show, so Kelly was the new guy and leader all at once.
“I’m not going to say it was intimidating by any means; it was just challenging,” Kelly said. “They were a family and here’s a third person coming in. … They were protective, and that’s fine. They should’ve been.”
Meaghan Mick later became the fourth member of the crew, which used its platform to call for a change to Toledo’s trick-or-treat plans this past Halloween. With rain and strong winds in the forecast and neighboring communities rescheduling, “The Morning Rush” brought the topic to its audience.
“We got a lot of phone calls and it was pretty positive toward changing it,” Kelly said.
Toward the end of the show that day, Kelly said, Program Director Eric Chase came into the studio and challenged the crew to get trick-or-treating moved. They kept the show on air until Mayor-elect D. Michael Collins (then a mayoral candidate) called in, and eventually Mayor Mike Bell arrived at the studio.
Kelly said he could tell Bell was not going to reschedule trick-or-treating on the air that day.
“For our audience’s sake, I needed to give him an opportunity to speak,” Kelly said. “They needed to hear their mayor explain why he wasn’t going to move Halloween.”
When the mayor’s office later rescheduled trick-or-treating, some criticism was directed toward Kelly and “The Morning Rush” for pushing the topic. “It wasn’t my job to move Halloween. It’s my job to ask people if they want it moved,” he said. “What is more important than what people want?”
The studio still held its own “Trunk-or-Treating” that Saturday, and Kelly said the turnout was amazing.
“It was packed,” he said. “Gosh, hundreds of kids. It was great.”
But he said none of what was accomplished could have been done by himself alone. Kelly said it takes everyone on “The Morning Rush” to do what they do.
“I’ve worked with a lot of people in my career,” he said. “Here – wow – probably the most passionate people about living their life on the radio over everyone else I’ve worked with. That might be why we’re so popular, because we’re OK with sharing our lives on the air.”
Although the show is usually meant to entertain, the hosts do touch on serious and controversial topics and, while their opinions often clash, Kelly said they are still friends at the end of the day.
“When everybody gets along and you’re doing well, what better situation is there in life?” he asked. “I don’t go to work a day in my life.”
With former hosts including Denny Schaffer, who hosted “Breakfast Club” for 10 years, and Johny D, who also spent 10 years with the station, Kelly said he has some big shoes to fill for longevity.
“I want to be here for years and make a difference and help out,” he said. “I think we’ve done that in the three years I’ve been here. I hope we’ve done that. That’s the goal.”