Milwaukee Talks: "Morning Blend" co-host Molly Fay
OMC: I think everyone's got an interesting job, if you ask the right questions.
MF: Absolutely. And I think everybody is interesting. A lot of people would argue with that. But I think some of the people that other people would see as being the most boring are fascinating. My question would be, "Do you know that you come across as being super boring?" And their answer would probably be fascinating.
OMC: The Morning Blend has been replicated in other markets. How does that feel, that you were a flagship product? They've never done this before you came on. You got a second co-host, you stayed, she left. And suddenly they're like this is a good idea, let's do this is Vegas.
MF: The thing about our show, is that we don't need ratings to make it work. If the people who are on the show get results, our show is a smashing success. And from a revenue standpoint, we're proud of where we're at. And "The Morning Blend," as you know, exists in every market that we have television stations.
OMC: Is that validation for you, personally?
MF: It's cool. They use our graphics. It looks somewhat the same. But in every market there are different people who are going to be guests of the the show, so it's going to have its own unique flavor. The hosts are obviously different in every market. I think we're the only market, still, to have two female co-hosts. Actually, I take that back, because Tuscan had the same situation, at least recently. It's a concept that my boss, Gregg, has always liked. Having two women host the show. And it works. And it works in other markets for some of the reasons that we work here in Milwaukee, but for different reasons too.
OMC: Do you ever watch the other shows?
MF: We do sometimes. The producers share notes, and sometimes we'll have the same guests. We might have an author who is on a book tour, let's say, and so Tucson might interview them, or Omaha, or Las Vegas.
OMC: Did you see the Journal Broacast-Scripps merger coming?
MF: Not at all. We should have, though, because they were heavy-duty cleaning the building for a while, and getting rid of clutter. Which is what we all do when we sell our house.
OMC: I think it's going to be positive for the broadcast side.
MF: Yes. I agree. And I've always felt good about working at Today's TMJ 4. From the guys who hired me to, honestly, the people who clean the studio floors. I like working for this company, and I feel like they've been very good to me. And I feel like the people in charge generally make good decisions. I don't know if everybody who works there feels like that, but I have a lot of different things to compare it to. And I think that they do a good job. And I look at it as a positive.
OMC: You're not from Milwaukee, you're from Chicago. But you've lived here ...
MF: Since 1994.
OMC: Have you been here long enough to call this home, or is Chicago still home and you're just hanging out?
MF: I absolutely think of this as home. And I made a conscious decision many times and many years ago, but more than once, to stay here and raise a family here. There were other opportunities, and I feel that if I needed another opportunity I could look for one. But I feel really good about raising my family here, except for the weather.
OMC: It's no better in Chicago.
MF: Yeah. I still feel like Chicago's home. I'm a Chicago Bears fan.
OMC: Why wouldn't you be?
OMC: I mean, if I moved to Chicago I wouldn't become a Bears fan. It's just not going to happen. It's your team. You shouldn't have to defend that.
MF: I get so sick of people making fun of me, and asking me when I'm going to become a Packers fan and wake up.
OMC: It's ridiculous.
MF: If you're a true fan of a team you can't just switch.
OMC: Tiffany told me to ask you about the fact that you are an introvert, and you've come to that conclusion. I would have thought that introverts would not be in the public life like you are. But it turns out that you guys are very good at public speaking, very good at turning it on. How did you discover it about yourself?
MF: It's interesting you bring that up, because I think it's the most fascinating self-discovery I have made in probably decades. And I don't mean to be dramatic or anything.
OMC: No, it's a very dramatic revelation.
MF: Like a drama queen, but what I realized in reading an article that Tiffany gave me, is that you can be very outgoing, very friendly, very easy to approach, whatever, and still be very much an introvert. And there are certain signs that you are an introvert, and say there's 10 of then, I would say nine out of 10 point to me being truly an introvert. And if I say to people that I'm shy, or that I don't like to mingle at a party, people are like, "Oh come on."
OMC: It's not about being shy, it's about needing alone time to recharge.
MF: It's how you recharge. It's how you get your energy.
OMC: I was looking more at your bio, and you really don't say anything in your bio. It's very silly, and it's funny, but it almost lead me to think that your hobbies, maybe kick boxing and cooking, but maybe also just being by yourself.
OMC: Did I read into that correctly?
MF: Yeah, I think so. I started doing yoga more, now, and I really like yoga. And this is so crazy, but I realized one of the things that I like about my yoga class is that you don't talk. You can't talk at all, really. The whole class.
OMC: Yeah, you get yelled at.
MF: When you go they say hello to you, and they greet you, and they're very friendly. But really nobody talks to you, and you leave and you say thank you, but you really don't talk to anybody. And I love that about working and having a meditative experience in a group, but really nobody talks to you. I love that.
OMC: If it takes me a day to recharge from being on "The Morning Blend" for nine minutes, you must spend all of your waking time that you're not parenting. You must be a very exhausted person. You don't look exhausted.
MF: Thank you. I do feel like I'm tired a lot of the time. I think that the way people see me is how I really am, because I love people, and I love meeting new people. But meeting new people on the set of "The Morning Blend" is much different than going to a party and mingling. There's a certain safety to it. Mingling, meeting new people, and having superficial conversations is painful for me.
Getting my hair cut is painful, if it's somebody shampoos me, someone does my colors, and everybody asks me, "What are you doing for New Year's? How's your day? How many kids do you have?"
OMC: Not a fan of small talk?
MF: Not a fan of small talk at all. And that's one of the hallmarks of introverts.
OMC: What's next for you professionally, personally?
MF: Professionally, I'd like to keep doing "The Morning Blend" as long as I feel engaged and interested. And we're almost at eight years. I still feel like I did the first day. I like my job, I feel very fortunate. If I can contribute in a meaningful way, as dumb as that sounds, that's what I'd like to keep doing.
At the same time I don't feel like I used to, which is there's only one thing I can do in life. I feel, especially with my background, if I needed to find another job, or wanted to, I feel like I have a few skills that could be useful, too.
OMC: Can you continue to do this job for 15 more years?
MF: Absolutely. I feel, and I don't want to sound naive or overly optimistic, polyannaish, but I feel that Milwaukee embraces genuine people who have a sincere interest in this community and doing a good job. I absolutely feel like I could do this another 15 years. And my tip is this new spray paint that I have for my gray roots, I used it today, but it kind of wears off. It's not permanent.
OMC: I noticed that in all your bios, you always put yourself as a mom first.
MF: I thought I said Chicago Bears fan first.
OMC: No, you said mom. Would you describe that as your identity? Is that by accident?
MF: Yeah. I'm Callie's mom, I'm Jojo's mom. I'm Maddie's mom. And I love it. That's my favorite way for people to know me. Yeah, I absolutely think of myself as a mom first. My oldest is 15.
OMC: Is it your brand?
MF: It's my most important identity. And it's the one thing, like I said, I feel so strongly about this, it's the one job I want to get right. And the thing is 99 out of 100 days I go to bed thinking that I could have done so many things better, as it relates to being a mom.
OMC: You're hard on yourself?
MF: Yeah. I can leave work and mess up the show and not sound good and not look good, and I could get over it. But if I yell at my kids, or I say something that hurts their feelings, or I feel like I haven't come through for them, those are days that are hard to sleep.
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