I got a call from B98.5 program director Randy Cain in August, 2006. "Lisa, can you come in to B98.5 and fill in for a couple of days?" Me, "Sure. But what time do I have to be there?" Randy politely answered, "We go on the air at 5:30am." 5:30am? You mean people are awake at that time of day? That's when I thought even God took a little catnap. I decided to agree to do it and what started as a temporary two-day job to fill in has lasted for 12 years. Until now.
I'll start with the genesis of it all. Three of us were hosting the show when I was hired to replace Scott Thrower. Jeff Matthews, Kevin Miller and I took over the early morning slot and developed quite the reputation for being a morning show that you could listen to with your children in the car. We were known as The Morning Rush. After Kevin left B98.5 and went to our sister stations in late 2008, Jeff and I carried the torch. Jeff and I had a unique chemistry. Our ratings were impressive; our camaraderie even better. Jeff would throw the ball every time so that I would hit the homerun. He knew me so well; he knew how to make me funny when he was clearly the funny one. Jeff made me laugh on and off the air every day. I worried that I wouldn't laugh again when he decided to leave radio in 2015 to be closer to his children in Conway and work in public relations. Conway loves that guy. And he was missed immediately from B98.5. I am often approached by people who say, "I loved it when you and Jeff did..." and they would mention something funny we said or did. After Jeff left, Jason Harper who was on KATV in the early 2000s filled in for about six month, but it was having Jennifer Christman sit next to me that gave me the ability to laugh again. Every dang day. She is one of the wittiest people I've ever known. And oh-so-clever. More on her later.
Her last day at B98.5 was Halloween of all days, 2017. Former co-host Chris Cannon had left the station in August. So the radio station and morning show I had been a part of since 2006 was much different now. Thankfully, we had Kevin Idol on staff as a part-timer (but who had 10 years morning radio experience in Memphis), and he could easily run the board for the morning show as well as being appointed, "Lisa Wrangler." He's competent in both areas.
And lucky for him (being the Lisa Wrangler is a tough job), he won't have to wrangle me but just another ten working days. I'm announcing that my last day on B98.5's morning show is June 22. I am weary of a 4am alarm; I want to do more things. Included in my new chapter are writing more for AY Magazine, and monetizing this website (so that means anyone who wants to buy a banner ad, do I have a deal for you!). I am currently podcasting for Arkansas Heart Hospital. Oh, if you didn't know, I have a really cute granddaughter. I want to be able to help her mother, my oldest child, with babysitting duties. And finally, I want to travel more with my husband. I'm glad after 30 years of marriage we still have the sparks that fly to want to be together.
If you're a listener to B98.5, you'll still hear my voice doing my radio ads for my local clients that I love and I'll come in for special events and appearances where I can chime in. But the morning show will be known as something different, and I don't know who's replacing me or the name of the show.
Who were some of my favorite people and events in my 12 years? This dime piece right here. This is Heather Brown. She's the queen of all things radio. Going to events with Heather is like showing up with Justin Beiber. She elicits shrills from listeners. They love her. She's on a little morning show on Alice 107.7 and is wildly successful with her brand and take on life. She is very dear to me, and I will miss her and Pool Boy, her co-host.
Back to Jennifer Christman. It's hard to summarize working with her (she was a weekly contributor for 9 years and then was on with me every day as a co-host). But this I can tell you, we were always laughing and having a good time. Always.
See that thank you note? It's from Kim Kardashian before Kanye and during the early days of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. The year was 2011, and if any two people could have a Ph. D. in all things Kardashian, it is Jennifer and I. So when we saw that Kim had posted her wedding registry to Kris Humphries online, we jumped at the chance to get the happy couple something. Something under $500. There was that napkin set for $128. For eight napkins. WE COULDN'T AFFORD EIGHT NAPKINS. So we sprung for one. One napkin on her registry. We ordered it, went in "halvsies" and each paid about $15 bucks (with tax and shipping the one napkin might have been around $30. Rich people are so indulgent.) Anyway, this is just an example of how much fun she and I had on a moment's notice. And she's a really fun traveling companion to New York City if you need one. We jumped at the chance to go to the Big Apple when the station offered to send us to go see "Wicked" on Broadway before it came to Robinson Center. She's still mad at me because when we saw Hota Kotb from the Today Show at Rockefeller Center, I wouldn't lunge at her and introduce myself. It was my temporary moment of shyness. (One picture is from our travels to the NYC where we went to Bergdorf Goodman's and found the crystal Jimmy Choos that were $3795. As in dollars. Or were they the Christian Louboutins?)
One thing many people think of when they think of B98.5 is its devotion to charitable events in the community and especially championing Arkansas Children's Hospital. How many of you have either pulled over the car or even turned OFF the radio because you were so moved by one of the stories we told on the air during our Radiothon? We love telling the stories of the families and children who have trusted their health to the state's only children's hospital. This photo below is the night B98.5 was named Radio Station of the Year in 2008, and we competed against stations in the U.S., Canada and Europe. We were humbled and honored by the award. That is Jeff Matthews, my
original co-host and I with Jennifer Selig, who's job at the hospital was our Children's Miracle Network liaison.This was taken moments after I asked Donny Osmond if I could lick him. Not my best moment. But a typical "Lisa Fischer moment." He said, "no," by the way. Long story and if you buy me a margarita, I'll share the other details with you.
Another fond memory is when I was able to fly to LA to see the finale of American Idol. An Arkansan, Kris Allen, was in the finals, and the state almost imploded with its devotion and enthusiasm. I flew there on a Tuesday after I got off the air, arrived just in time for some publicity press conferences, and then waited impatiently for the next couple of days to arrive. The final competition and then the final show. And yes, our own Kris Allen won the whole shooting match! .
Lila Ashmore, then the editor of Inviting Arkansas, was Thelma to my Louise on this trip. We had so much fun, and I consider her a dear friend to this day.
What started as me filling in on the morning show turned into 12 of the most delightful years of my career. The memories are so plentiful and rich with humor and fun. That's why I came back a second day. After the first morning with Jeff Matthews, I actually went home and told my husband that I was going to work on something to be able to go in more often because we were laughing and having fun AT WORK.
And shouldn't a job have "laughing and having fun" as job perks? This one sure provided it, and that I will miss.