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The Suburbanite
  • What I do: Pam Cook dishes about life on the radio

  • Think you dread the sound of your morning alarm clock? Pam Cook’s goes off at 3 a.m.

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  • Editor’s Note: This is an occasional Sunday series spotlighting Stark County residents and how they make a living.
    Think you dread the sound of your morning alarm clock? Pam Cook’s goes off at 3 a.m.
    A familiar voice of local news for more than 20 years at WHBC 1480, Cook is the station’s morning-show co-host weekdays from 5:30 to 9 a.m. alongside Matt Fox, as well as the station’s news director and program director.
    With refreshing candor, Cook shares dish about her job.
    Q. What was the atmosphere like at WHBC when you started?
    A. “When I started 23 years ago, we had five full-time news people. The atmosphere was incredible. As a news junkie, I felt like I had found paradise. I learned reporting from the ground up — and got to be the newshound I love to be. We have a smaller staff now, but we work just as hard.”
    Q. Was it tough being a woman reporter?
    A. “Not tough as a reporter, but the first time I ever filled in for a sports guy — wow! Phone calls saying, ‘Why do you have a girl doing sports?’ ”
    Q. What’s a typical workday for you?
    A. “Really, my workday never ends. I’m always looking for things to talk about on the air. But I wake up at 3 a.m., do some prep work at home first, then I get to the station every day at 4:15 a.m. and get the news and sports ready. After I’m done on the air at 9, we plan for tomorrow’s show, talk about the one we just did, then I put my program director’s hat on. I’m in charge of everything that goes on AM radio station.”
    Q. What’s your favorite part about your job?
    A. “The fact that it changes every day. It’s so exciting to bring news and information to the people of Stark County. And there is no monotony about it.”
    Q. And your least favorite part?
    A. “Making coffee for Matt.”
    Q. What’s it like working with Matt Fox?
    A. “He’s a ball of energy and he brings a whole new perspective to the show because he’s never done radio before. It’s almost like I’m seeing the job through his eyes like I did when I first started. It’s good for me.”
    Q. Do you miss Fred Chenevey, your previous co-host?
    A. “Only when I’m hungry! He was the KING of begging for food and getting it! We talk through Facebook, text and emails frequently.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Q. What do you remember about covering 9/11?
    A. “Fred and I were on the air and Steve Luke, our news guy, came to tell us something was going on, then the story broke wide open. I was at work until 6 p.m. I sent my kids to stay with a friend because they were scared to death. I got to see no TV coverage until I got home, then it hit me and I broke down.”
    Q. Do things get pretty irreverent in the broadcast booth?
    A. “Oh, you have no idea what goes on when the microphone is off!! There have been times I’ve been laughing so hard I couldn’t continue. Thank goodness for my morning show partners — I’ve had five — and JD, my producer. They’ve saved me!”
    Q. Can you share an anecdote about a listener?
    A. “It’s amazing how comfortable people become with you and they feel they can say anything to you. This one guy walked up to me at an event and said, ‘Wow, I thought you’d be a large, homely looking girl, but your’re NOT!” I said, ‘Wow! Thanks ... I think?’ ”