Milwaukee Talks: 88Nine Radio Milwaukee's Dori Zori
OMC: When you were on the air from 6 to 10 a.m. was it hard to get used to waking up so early?
DZ: As I got older, my eyes were popping open earlier and earlier on their own, but the 20- or 30-year-old version of me would have been coming home at four in the morning instead of getting up for work at that time. It's been a 180 for me, but I love the work so much, the early mornings really didn't bother me.
OMC: Do you miss mornings with Jordan?
DZ: I do. I'm sure not everyone was entertained by us. There was a lot of giggling. But we got some really early nice responses from people saying they felt like they were listening to their friends on the radio. That's exactly how it was. And he was there to correct me when I mispronounced something or didn't care to know things about sports. We had a good dynamic.
OMC: What else are you doing at the station?
DZ: I do the community stories and I am really happy that I get to do those. I will be doing some new web content which will be short interviews once a week with all different types of people – from the mayor to a barista to a player on the Bucks. Little snapshots. I'm not a journalist. I'm not a writer. I just love talking to people and hearing their stories.
OMC: Was it challenging to go from a station with such a free format to one with more programming?
DZ: I knew what I was getting into. I was getting paid to be on the radio, which was what I always wanted to do. I do have impact on what's played on Radio Milwaukee and the 88Nine listeners are just as passionate as they were at 'MSE.
OMC: Are there any genres of music that you don't like?
DZ: Back in the day I would have said I didn't like blues or jazz or 60s music, but after listening to so many 'MSE DJs and different types of music, I really like everything now. I appreciate music in general.
My happy place is alternative '80s music. Early MTV music. I was a huge Duran Duran fan. It kept me dateless but sober in high school. I also loved new wave. When I started going to the clubs, I got into Depeche Mode and Siouxsie and the Banshees and Erasure. All the stuff I heard at Eso in the '90s I still really like – Beastie Boys, Public Enemy and industrial bands like Front 242 and Ministry.
OMC: What was the best show you went to this year?
DZ: Milan and I just saw the Volcano Choir / Sylvan Esso show and that was pretty mind blowing. Tune-Yards at The Pabst was great, too.
OMC: What did you listen to the most this year?
DZ: Probably the Sylvan Esso album. And the new Skrillex was my second-most-listened-to album. For like five months it's all I listened to in the car. People stopped wanting to drive places with me.
OMC: What are some of the things on your "bucket list?"
DZ: I would love to travel more. I would love to learn a different language. I also want to follow a band around the world once in my life. A random band, not an obvious one, that travels a lot. I'm not all about living out of a van anymore, so I'd have to have more disposable income to do this.
OMC: What are some of the now-legendary shows you saw back in the day?
DZ: I saw Moby and Marilyn Manson and Mr. Bungle at Shank Hall. Cactus Club has always been so ahead of the curve that I got to see White Stripes, Interpol, Hot Chip, The Kills and so many others before they blew up and became big venue bands.
I also saw Smashing Pumpkins at The Unicorn. I also saw Jonathan Fire*Eater and Wesley Willis and so many DJs at The Unicorn.
OMC: Speaking of The Unicorn, I noticed you are wearing a Sydney Hih T-shirt from Too Much Metal. (The Unicorn was in the basement of the Sydney Hih building.)
DZ: Yeah, I saw a lot of shows at The Unicorn, but I bought this shirt because my mom had a store in the Sydney Hih building in the '70s. She's a glass blower and she would melt rods of glass into mushrooms and bunnies. I remember going to the ice cream shop in the building, too.
OMC: What are your favorite current venues in the city?
DZ: I love The Pabst / Riverside / Turner Hall. Cactus Club has been very important to me throughout the years. Mad Planet, too.
OMC: What do you love about Milwaukee?
DZ: I love that Milwaukee has great restaurants, unique shops, the lakefront. I also love that it's so friendly and you can bump into friends at any time or you can sit at a bar and talk to strangers.
OMC: What are some of your go-to bars and restaurants?
DZ: Anywhere with an outdoor patio in the summer. And anywhere that doesn't make me feel badly for asking for gluten-free food.
OMC: Do people recognize your voice when you're out and about?
DZ: They do. I think it's partially because there are not a lot of women's voices on radio. Also, because of the emotional connection people have with music. If I was on talk radio it wouldn't be the same. People make that emotional connection with me because I'm the one playing it and that's pretty cool.
People always say, 'Oh, you're not what I pictured you to look like.' But it just makes you feel good that the work you're doing is making an impact, that maybe something you're doing is making people happy.
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