Kayla Hanley is one of my “in my head” friends. You know, that person that you feel like you’ve known forever because of social media, but you’ve never actually met. I’ve listened to the “K-Bird” on the radio for years during my morning commutes on 92.3 WCOL’s Woody and the Wake-up Call, she just reminds me of one of my girlfriends — you just feel like you know her. So snagging the first Real Talk interview with her was amazing. Get to actually know Kayla below!
Considering Kayla has been on Columbus’ airwaves for the past six years on the #1 radio station for new country, 92.3 WCOL, has met some BIG TIME celebrities, AND is a CMA nominated radio personality, it’s safe to say that she’s accomplished a lot. However, the Hilliard native credits her grandmother, who she lovingly calls her Mimi, for jumpstarting her radio career.
You see Mimi was listening to WCOL when Woody Johnson (of Woody & the Wake-Up Call) mentioned how great it would be to have a local covering the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. Her Mimi sent him an email telling him about her granddaughter who happened to be studying abroad in London for Ohio University’s journalism program.
“We got connected and I started covering the games,” explains Hanley. Oh, and she just casually got to meet Lebron James there, but that’s a whole other story!
Once the Olympics wrapped up and Kayla was back in the Ohio, she went to thank the Wake-Up Call team for the incredible opportunity. They returned the favor by creating an internship position for the then-college student. She earned her stripes while interning — working some events, helping with social media, and much more. Around the time her internship was completed, the Wake-Up Call was in need of a new personality. Radio veterans Woody and Dan Zuko thought Hanley was perfect for the role, but only under one condition: she had to finish her final two years of college.
Sounds perfect, right? Well, Kayla actually had to transfer from OU to Wright State and moved back in with her parents to make it work.
“I would work at the station, then drive back and forth to take classes at Wright State…it was insane,” she says. Somehow, this girl managed to graduate on time in 2015 — I was in awe of her. “I just learned how to balance it all.”
“Balance it all” is a bit of an understatement. You see, she’s not done with her day when the morning show ends at 10 AM. Aside from the show, Hanley is an executive producer, creating content for her WCOL blog and is an avid researcher of celebrity news, so she always has great, maybe even personal, questions for guests. As she would put it, “if they put it on their social media, why wouldn’t I ask! It’s not creepy, it’s work.”
Same, girl. Same.
As our time together was wrapping up, I mentioned a question I got asked A LOT when I was interning in radio: “How do you get in?”
“I’ve gotten asked that question a lot, and I say I’m not a good example, because how I got here is a little weird,” she says modestly. “But I’ve had amazing teachers (her co-hosts) and you just have to take advantage of the opportunities that you’re given.”
Thank you, Kayla for being the first-ever Real Talk guest! Be sure to tune in on 92.3 WCOL’s Woody & the Wake-Up Call, Mondays – Fridays from 5 AM – 10 AM
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