KISS and tell: How Sid Kelly and ‘The Morning Rush’ changed a city’s Halloween scheduleWritten by Staff Reports | | firstname.lastname@example.org
By Sid Kelly
Toledo Free Press Star Columnist
Well that was an awesome holiday week, huh?
Mayor Mike Bell moved Halloween trick-or-treating … and we at “The Morning Rush” may have had an influence on that. Because of that, the show has been congratulated … and blamed.
While closing our show at 9:54 a.m. Oct. 30, Program Director Eric Chase asked to come on the show. While live on the air, he said, “You guys should try to get trick-or-treat moved! You’re ‘The Morning Rush’ for God’s sake. If the people don’t want to trick-or-treat on Halloween because of the weather, get it done.”
This all sprung from the unbelievable number of comments that were made on our Facebook page in response to the following question: Should Toledo move trick-or-treating because of the predicted bad weather?
We already knew how the city felt based on our early segment on the show, and the forecast was looking more like a tropical storm than a simple October shower. If that’s what people wanted, we felt we should do it. So we did.
It was 10:06 a.m. and we are usually off the air by then, but we pledged to stay on until we could get the mayor on the show to discuss why he refused to move trick-or-treating to a safer day.
While taking phone calls from at least 20 people, we had Phillipe, our call screener, running around behind-the-scenes trying to get either Mayor Mike Bell or Safety Director Shirley Green on the phone with us.
Meanwhile, we continued to get calls from listeners telling us on-air that they called Green’s office and were hung up on. Others said they were told the police for Thursday night had already been notified they were working and that they would not move trick-or-treating … no matter what.
After approximately 45 minutes, and in the middle of reading comments on our Facebook page, our caller screen read, “D. Michael Collins is on the Hot Line.” Nice.
If there was any way to convince the mayor to stop by the show or call in, it would be to air the comments of the guy running against him. Instantly we shifted gears and asked Collins what he would do if he were mayor.
“It’s really an easy decision guys, the thing to do would be to move trick-or-treat to this weekend, and to ensure the safety of our children,” he said.
Perfect! During our interview with Collins, I received a message that read, “Mayor Bell will be here in 2 minutes.”
All I remember thinking is, “It’s working.”
Two minutes later, Bell, dressed in blue jeans and that black leather motorcycle jacket he makes his way around town in, showed up with Green in tow.
After each of us presented our points, the mayor said, “Unless this storm is a monster, and it’s gotta be a monster, we are not moving trick-or-treat.”
Green said the last time the city decided to move Halloween, it received a ton of complaints and vowed never to do that again.
After a 17-minute back-and-forth with the mayor, it was pretty obvious that no matter what we told him, he wasn’t moving trick-or-treating.
It was after that statement that we announced that we would host our own event, “Trunk or Treat,” for kids who might not get the chance to get some candy. We invited listeners to our station on Saturday to help us give out candy to kids dressed in costumes. We also had a costume contest that day; it was an amazing success!
Our story was picked up by other local news stations and they too put pressure on Bell’s staff. During the Toledo Free Press/WTOL mayoral debate Oct. 30, our issue was brought up. It had obviously gained some momentum.
Bell issued a statement late Oct. 30 that he and a group of city planners from surrounding communities would make the decision and pass it along to the public at noon on Halloween, Oct. 31.
Around noon, Bell’s office released this news release: “After a collaborative meeting between mayors, managers and police chiefs, several area communities are rescheduling Trick-or-Treat hours according to the following schedule.
“The cities of Oregon, Perrysburg and Toledo and the Village of Ottawa Hills will host trick-or-treat from 6-8 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 3 2013.
“The City of Sylvania and Sylvania Township will host trick-or-treat from 6-7:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 3, 2013.
“The City of Bowling Green will host trick-or-treat from 6:30-8 p.m. on Sunday, November 3, 2013.”
It was exactly what we were after. But the fallout online was, um, entertaining.
Not everyone was happy
Some of the posts from our station and personal Facebook and Twitter pages: “Can you have the mayor move Christmas? I heard it’s going to be cold?” “Hey Sid, thanks for ruining Halloween!”
Needless to say, not everyone was happy.
And that’s OK!
The fact that trick-or-treating was moved did not ruin Halloween. It may have changed your plans, but everything was OK. It was, right?
The whole show heard this argument from parents: “When I was a kid we went out in rain, snow and worse.” Yeah, you may have, but did you go out in 45 mph winds? You did? Wow, I’m sure that was a really fun and bountiful Halloween (I did when I was a kid, and the loot was anything but bountiful).
Social media and broadcast media are a lot different now than they were when you were a kid. Back then the government/decision-makers didn’t have the ability to email a radio station or tag a residence in a countywide alert system. If they had, you probably wouldn’t have that awesome memory of walking around trick-or-treating in horrible weather.
Here’s a comment from my Facebook page that explains the other argument people had: “Nice job guys, thanks for cancelling Halloween! It’s 6:04 P.M. and it’s not even raining. So there’s a little wind, but it’s nothing! Thanks for ruining Halloween! You should be ashamed of yourselves.”
Ruining Halloween? Hardly. That argument is based on hindsight. It would be awesome to be able to look into the past and make a different decision based on the new facts you’ve gathered. But hindsight isn’t foresight. We have to make decisions based on what we know right now.
At the time the mayor made the decision, the winds were forecast to gust to 45 mph with heavy rain and lightning. It was with that knowledge that he and other mayors and local officials moved trick-or-treating. Everyone knows that life would be so much easier if we could make decisions based on hindsight. But we can’t.
I was really disappointed by the behavior of some people via social media. I witnessed adults calling each other names and acting like the children this was really all about. I often find it funny to see what will drag an adult into name-calling. The sad thing is that it didn’t take long for the gloves to come off.
That’s too bad.
Do yourself a favor and read back your posts as if you were one of the individuals who popped off at others online.
I try really hard to learn something every time we have such a controversial topic on the show. This time I learned that we the people of Toledo still have the power to change we don’t like. All you have to do is take a stand and make enough noise to get the right person’s attention. Although in the end, all everyone did was get the mayor to move an event because it was the right thing to do. Pretty cool what happens when people stick together.
The unfortunate part of that is that it’s really hard to do.
Sid Kelly is host of “The Morning Rush,” weekday mornings on 92.5 KISS FM.
Meet Sid Kelly
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Sid Kelly. I host “The Morning Rush” on 92.5 KISS FM.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with me, please allow me to give you some background.
Although I’ve lived in Ohio for many years, I am not originally from here. I was born and raised in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. I joined the U.S. Navy right out of high school and entered a program to train to become a Naval aviator. In the middle of my enlistment, I was medically disqualified from the Navy and had to go to college.
While in college I played beach volleyball, and it was because of that experience I endured a severe injury to my back that forced me from the sport I dearly loved.
Before hurting my back while still in college, I saw a radio station tent up in the college parking lot. I walked over and signed up to be an intern.
That’s where it started.
I began as a promotional intern. In radio that is the lowest of the food chain. We were overworked, never paid and looked down on by everyone; except by people who wanted to get into radio. To them, we were royalty.
And I loved it.
I worked really hard as an intern and during a promotional appearance at a football game I was asked by the boss of the radio station to call in and tell them what we were doing. It would be my first time on the air, and I was so scared I couldn’t tell you what I talked about. Whatever it was, it was good enough to get noticed. From there I was asked to produce the night show, then to produce the morning show, and then off to my first job. From the day I entered the world of radio as an intern to the time I got my first job took three months, my first show that was all my own wouldn’t come for another 16 months.
That was pretty awesome.
Radio has brought me to live in a lot of cities; I’ve experienced so much of this country and looking back, it’s truly amazing. I’ve lived in (in order) Wilkes-Barre, Charleston, W.Va., Roanoke, Va., St. Louis, Wichita, Kan., Mobile, Ala., Richmond, Va., and here in Toledo. That’s eight cities and seven states in 17 years!
Radio also introduced me to my wife, Emily.
Emily and I met when I worked in St. Louis as the night jock. After being really impressed with how organized and smart she was, I asked her to produce my show. Both she and I will say to this day — and it is true — that we were just friends while working there. We didn’t start dating until after I left St. Louis. That was 2003.
Emily worked with me as my co-host on my morning show at two other stations before we realized that we couldn’t work together. We had to decide on either a work or personal relationship.
We both know how that turned out.
After two kids and seven years, Emily and I were married in Grand Rapids, Ohio. We have since added a boy to the two girls we already had and a new puppy.
This all brings me to where I am now, host of “The Morning Rush” on KISS FM. I’m sure you’re familiar with the rest of the show: Sara Hegarty, Demetrius Nicodemus (a former Toledo Free Press Star cover subject himself), Meaghan Mick and a ton of interns. The show, as it is now, has been together since April 2011.
We talk about things that that are going on in pop culture, our lives, your lives and everything in between. This brings me full-circle to the point of my column.
Each week in a Toledo Free Press Star column, I plan on discussing my life and offering a behind-the-scenes look at what we talk about on the air.
Now that we’ve been introduced, I hope to see you next week and every morning on 92.5 KISS FM.
Tags: 'The Morning Rush', 92.5 KISS FM, Bowling Green, City of Sylvania, D. Michael Collins, Facebook, Halloween, Mayor Bell, Perrysburg, Program Director Eric Chase, Safety Director Shirley Green, Sid Kelly, Sylvania Township, Toledo Free Press, Trick or Treat, Village of Ottawa Hills, WTOL