If you live in Chicago, it’s almost impossible not to know Angi Taylor. She’s a radio DJ on Fred + Angi in the Morning on Kiss FM, and her big, bold personality has helped make it one of the city’s top radio morning shows. But you’ve probably seen her out from behind the radio speakers, too. Angi is passionate about her city, and can often be spotted around town hosting charity events or attending fundraisers for organizations like PAWS Chicago and the Lurie Children’s Hospital. Her latest cause: Playing emcee at the Green Tie Ball–an annual gala that raises money for Chicago Gateway Green, a foundation dedicated to preserving the city’s parks and green spaces–on October 10.
We recently got a chance to talk to Angi about her radio career, why she loves Chicago, her involvement in the Green Tie Ball, and more. Here’s what she had to say.
WERE YOU ALWAYS INTERESTED IN A CAREER IN RADIO?
Not immediately. I was in college and not sure what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to be in entertainment. While in college I was bartending and met a local radio personality who offered me an internship at the radio station in town for college credit. I was in love from day 1.
HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START IN THE INDUSTRY?
The internship taught me everything in a matter of six months. I quit college and got my first job in tiny St.Cloud, MN doing the midnight-6am shift. I was AWFUL. But, it allowed me to make mistakes and learn who I was as a personality.
WHAT WOULD YOU CONSIDER TO BE THE “BIG BREAK” IN YOUR CAREER?
I eventually made it to weekend DJ at the big Minneapolis station, and when the full-time morning co-host left for a two week vacation they asked me to fill-in for her. I was eventually hired onto that morning show, and that was the beginning of my morning radio career. At 22-years old I was the youngest female to ever hold that position.
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO HOST A MORNING SHOW? DO YOU COME UP WITH A LOT OF YOUR MATERIAL BEFOREHAND, OR IS IT MORE OFF-THE-CUFF?
It’s a group effort as far as coming up with material. My co-host Fred and I come up with the bulk of it, mostly ahead of time, but it’s largely pulled from our day-to-day lives. The other members of our show contribute as well. Because our focus is relationships, pop-culture, Chicago things, it’s easy to use real-life situations to come up with topics and material.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY ARE THE KEY QUALITIES ALL RADIO DJS NEED TO HAVE IN ORDER TO BE SUCCESSFUL?
Authenticity is absolutely number one. You would think it goes without saying, but there’s a big difference between an “announcer” and a “personality”. You know everything about a personality and they feel like your friend because they’re real about their lives and an open book on the air. Also a great team around you that will bring out your best qualities.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT HOSTING IN CHICAGO?
Chicago is the best because we LOVE our city. Also, when I say authenticity is important, it’s never more vital than in Chicago where people keep it REAL. If you’re on some BS, the audience will call you on it immediately, and you can lose trust that way. I love knowing that no matter what I talk about, there’s someone listening who can totally relate, and I’m not getting judged for it. On another note, there’s no better place to live. We really are the most beautiful city in the US.
IN ADDITION TO YOUR SHOW, YOU’RE ALSO VERY INVOLVED IN THE LOCAL COMMUNITY, INCLUDING THE UPCOMING GREEN TIE BALL. WHAT MAKES YOU WANT TO GIVE BACK?
If I’m allowed to be a part of people’s daily lives, then the least I can do is give back in a way to make their lives better. I consider it a privilege to chat with Chicagoans every morning, and anything I can do to use this platform to better our city, I’m going to try to do that. Hosting the Green Tie Ball and spreading Gateway Green’s message of sustainability and beautifying our amazing city is and honor, and I’m so excited to do it!
WHAT IS YOUR ROLE WITH THE GREEN TIE BALL THIS YEAR?
This year, along with my co-host Fred, we’ll be your Masters of Ceremony and hosts. When we got the call to host this year we were ecstatic, as the Green Tie Ball has always been one of the go-to events of the year.
CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT THE EVENT?
This is the 24th annual Green Tie Ball, on October 10th, and I’m so excited about this year’s theme, Studio 54. I have my sparkly Halston disco dress ready to go! There’s going to be such great entertainment from some of the best DJs, gaming from Rivers Casino, an amazing silent auction, great food from some of the best local restaurants, drinks, dancing, you name it! Something for everyone… and the best people watching of the year!
BACK TO RADIO — WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ANYONE WHO WANTS TO PURSUE A CAREER PATH SIMILAR TO YOURS?
Get an internship at a radio station and do EVERTYHING. This job isn’t just talking on the air anymore, there’s social media, web page contributing, public appearances, audio production, etc… You want to make yourself as valuable as possible.
WHAT’S THE BEST CAREER ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?
“If everyone loves you and agrees with everything you say, you’re not keeping it real.” Do You, that’s the best you can do!