Some listeners were shocked Monday morning to not only hear a new voice on the air with their favorite local curmudgeon, but a new show name.
“The Uncle Henry Show” has morphed into “Gulf Coast Mornings with Kelly Bennett and Uncle Henry,” and can now be heard from Slidell, Louisiana, to Loxley in Baldwin County. The move pairs Uncle Henry with co-host Kelly Bennett, who joins in from a studio at WBUV in Biloxi. In essence, the show ties coastal Mississippi and Alabama together with two hosts in different stations — one FM and the other AM.
“This has been in the works for months,” Uncle Henry explained. He said the move fills a few needs, giving WBUV-FM a local news show and providing Uncle Henry with a co-host to help relieve the pressure of producing a solo show every day. Uncle Henry says it also gets him on an FM station, reaching a new market. The show will still also run locally on WNTM-AM and on 99.5-FM The JAG.
While the idea of co-hosting approximately 60 miles away from each other might seem a bit strange, Uncle Henry says he and Bennett have both worked in radio for many years and also worked with co-hosts before, which makes the transition easier. For his part, Uncle Henry welcomes the help.
“A lot of days when I get done it feels like I’ve been trying to move a couch,” Uncle Henry said of hosting solo. “To have her come in and carry half the weight feels great,” he said.
Perhaps as challenging as co-hosting with someone in a different city is somehow tying Mobile and the Mississippi Gulf Coast together in a way that will interest listeners who aren’t necessarily familiar with events taking place in other parts of the coverage area. But Uncle Henry said he believes the two areas do have enough in common to find stories and topics that will be of interest to both. He and Bennett will work together to select those topics.
With 16 years under his belt hosting “The Uncle Henry Show” on WNTM, Uncle Henry says it’s good to make some changes and to be able to continue trying to grow his audience for iHeart Radio.
“I’m excited that they’re still taking chances with me after doing this for so long,” he said.
Byrd flying the coop
After nearly 12 years at WALA-TV, meteorologist and morning co-host Chasity Byrd has announced she is leaving the station to start a new career working with Baldwin County Public Schools.
Byrd co-hosts the morning “Studio 10” show weekdays and also serves as meteorologist for the 4 p.m. broadcast. She has also worked as an award-winning general assignment reporter and covered a wide array of stories over the years. In her new position she will work with the school system’s communications department. Her last day on the air will be Aug. 24.