New WSKG Morning Edition host to begin Tuesday

Joshua B Ludzki
November 18, 2013

KC: I’m Kathleen Harrison Cook and you’ve been listening to me for the last few years on Morning Edition and it’s been very wonderful to be your host every morning. But in another day or two, I’m going to be leaving this position and handing it over to a new host and we have the new host with us this morning. Her name is Monica Sandreczki.

MS: Hello Kate.

KC: It is with definite mixed emotions that I’m leaving this position but I’m very excited that WSKG is redeveloping a news department and that we have local reporters that will be going out and covering stories in our region. And Monica is one of our new reporters and I will be moving into the promotional and development department. So it’s going to be kind of exciting. I don’t know that I’ll miss getting up at 4 o’clock in the morning to do this shift. But it’s been really wonderful having a great audience to talk to every morning.

Monica comes to us by way of Kansas City where she worked at the NPR affiliate KCUR on the news magazine show KC Currents. What is that? What kind of stories did you do there?

MS: Well, KC Currents is sort of like, their mantra was that we report on the diverse communities of Kansas City and so I ended up covering a variety of stories from local gun control legislation, about concealed carry in public buildings, my recent story, which was a lot of fun to do. It was about an urban midwife clinic actually.

This clinic was really about addressing sort of social issues in breast feeding and infant mortality rates, especially in the African-American community. I got to go to a breast feeding support group. It’s designed to be exclusively for African-American women. It’s called the Chocolate Milk Café.

I just had a really fun time on that story and getting to talk about the different social and economic and cultural factors that go into a lower rate of breastfeeding among the African-American community.

KC: I understand that even though you’re from the Kansas City area, you attended college in New York State, right?

MS: Yea, right, I actually went to school in Western New York, still in the Southern Tier but in Allegany County, if our listeners are familiar with that, I bet they are.

And I actually have family in Wyoming County and up near Rochester. And some dear friends that live near Binghamton, up in Greene actually. So this wasn’t too far out of my stomping grounds either.

KC: One of the things that I love about public broadcasting is that we take time to really understand the stories and that our reporters will go out to talk about things that are meaningful in their lives.

MS: I guess for me it’s like, I grew up in a public radio family, where that dreaded phrase when you’re driving in the car with your mom and she says, “let’s find out what’s going on the world today.” Click.

As like a 9-year-old, that’s like, “no, mom, don’t do that, that’s terrible.”

But I ended up growing to love it and really appreciate it. Because I guess one thing for me that I really appreciate about public radio is how there’s this willingness to have these longer, more extended, in-depth segments, covering issues such as: social issues affecting African-American women and breastfeeding. Because that matters but is there a huge news peg? Well, no. But it matters for the listenership and for us as a society.

KC: Monica, I know that you, like you said, you were a big public radio fan and you have a family that listened to it all the time. What are some memories that you have of Morning Edition in your life, growing up?

MS: Well, I grew up with Michael Byars, he was my Morning Edition host at KCUR. And actually I got to work with him a bit while I was at the station, so that was cool to you know see the face of radio, I guess, as they say.

I have so many memories of just sort of groggily waking up in the morning to schlep off to high school and everything but then coming down in the morning to eat my cereal and hear Michael Byars introducing the next segment that was going to take place and reading the weather and finding out if there was going to be traffic on 435 on the way in to go to school.

KC: It’s cool when public radio can be that much a part of your life.

MS: One thing I’m looking forward to as a host is those personal sayings that hosts will have sometimes. Like for us when we first moved to Kansas City, we had a host, I forget his name right now, but his phrase in the morning was, ‘it’s five o’clock, I’m on my second cup of coffee,djambo’

KC: I would like to certainly encourage people to tune in as Monica takes over for Morning Edition. And as I said, you’ll be hearing my voice some but I certainly welcome Monica Sandreczki to the Morning Edition team.

MS: Well, thank you. I am so excited to be here, it’s going to be a fun ride.