On a good day, Sean Sullivan can be found at the FM Talk 106.5 studio as early as 4:15 a.m. starting the prep work for “Mobile Mornings” — the back-to-back recipient of the Best Morning Show/DJ Nappie for radio programming that’s locally made and locally focused.
Sullivan has long held a seat behind the midmorning microphone, but recently brought in two new hosts after longtime radio man Wayne Gardner retired after four decades in the business. While replacing Gardner was “a huge task,” it just so happened another veteran journalist was also looking for the right fit to keep her broadcast career in Mobile.
“I sheepishly went to Kelly [Jones] and asked. It was like asking the prettiest girl in high school to the prom,” Sullivan said. “I went in thinking, ‘there’s no way,’ but when she said she’d come work with us in the radio business, I was on cloud nine.”
COMPLETE LIST — 2017 NAPPIE AWARDS
Sullivan was referring to former “Local 15 Today” co-anchor Kelly Jones, who — after four years at WPMI and a broadcast career that took her across the country and beyond — made the transition to “Mobile Mornings” in late April.
Though there are a few differences, Jones said she’s still working to connect with and inform the people of Mobile like she always has.
“Our mission is to keep people informed and to be the go-to source for getting a person’s day started, but even more importantly, we’re building a relationship,” Jones said. “That relationship is only present when you’re really out and about in the city we work and play in.”
The show’s third co-host is no stranger to 106.5’s listeners. At 25, Dalton Orwig has almost a decade of experience in radio. He hosted a morning on “Bama 106” in Jackson at age 19 and has filled in on various FM Talk 106.5 shows during his three years at the station.
“[Winning a Nappie], it’s a huge deal,” Orwig said. “It means we were able to come in after Wayne, who was so good in this market and everywhere he was for so many years, and win the same award we won last year.”
While “Mobile Mornings” is often fun for listeners and the hosts, Sullivan said it’s always a serious endeavor that requires hard work and planning from everyone involved. Most important, though, is the connection the listeners make every day with Sullivan, Jones and Orwig.
From their personalities on the air to their interest and investment in the community, Sullivan said that’s what makes a great local show. It’s another reason why a Nappie win “means everything.”
“Our neighbors, our listeners and people in the community, that’s who I care about,” he added. “I’m way more excited about a Nappie than a state or national award. Those are great, but that’s a bunch of people patting each other on the back in the same business. This is real, and that’s what we like about it.”