Last fall, we met Roxanne Wilder in a Q&A interview. Now it’s time to get to know Kyle “Coop” Cooper, the “Gen Z” producer of the MJ Morning Show who sits in a booth next to the studio in which MJ, Froggy, Fester, and Roxanne make radio magic happen each morning.
Q: How old are you?
A: 23 (a “Gen Z-er, as MJ constantly calls him)
Q: Where were you born and where did you grow up?
A: I was born in Orlando and grew up there until moving to Nashville when I was 16. I then moved back to Florida and finished high school at Sun Lake High School in Land O’Lakes.
Q: Where did you go to college
A: I graduated from the University of South Florida in May of 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication. I got to watch my name roll across the screen for our virtual commencement ceremony. It was definitely a weird segue going from college to the working world without a regular graduation.
Q: When did you first get interested in radio?
A: Growing up, I listened to XL106.7 FM in Orlando. I really enjoyed listening to Johnny’s House, the morning show on that station. I went to one of the show’s events and got to see them doing a show live on the radio in person. That really struck me about how unique radio actually is. When I lived in Nashville, I won a radio contest and got to hear my voice on the radio. I thought that was so cool. I realized this might be something I could see myself getting into as a career.
Q: When did you actually start working in radio?
A: I was a parking valet at Whiskey Joe’s in Tampa. They were having an event with 99.5 WQYK one day, and I got to park someone’s car who worked for the station. I mentioned my interest in radio and they said if I could find a spot for their car, they’d get me a job with the company. So, I immediately sent in my resume. I started as a street team member with the promotions department at Beasley Media Group in May of 2018 as a sophomore at USF.
Q: What roles have you had with Beasley?
A: I was a board op for Orlando and the Freakshow on Wild 94.1 when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit and they were doing the show remotely. I also got to fill in for Kevin on WQYK. Plus, I’ve done some Saturday morning shifts on Q105.
Q: Did you know about the MJ Morning Show or ever listen to it during its original run when its flagship station was 93.3 FLZ?
A: No, I wasn’t living in Tampa at the time. But I do think I had heard one of the Crotchety Old Man prank calls with Milton Fludgecow at some point because they sounded familiar when I heard them again.
Q: When did you find out you’d be joining the MJ Morning Show?
A: The show came on Q105 in October. We had a Zoom call internally maybe two weeks before the show’s return. At that point, I didn’t know if I’d be involved with the show or not. Then I found out like the Wednesday before the return of the show on the following Monday that I’d be a producer.
I started looking up the show online and realized just how incredibly popular it had been when it was originally on 93.3 FLZ.
Q: What is your role with the MJ Morning Show?
A: I’m a producer, so I do lots of things. I answer and screen calls from listeners. I monitor news sites and social media throughout the morning. I also find audio clips we can use for the show. If I come across interesting stories that might be more relevant to my age group and stuff that the crew might not find, I will bring it to their attention.
Q: What do you enjoy most about working on the show?
A: Whenever we have a good story we’re talking about and the crew start to joke around, the energy in the room is so high. Seeing everyone laugh and have a good time is what I enjoy most. I hope that the people listening in their cars are also cracking up.
Sometimes I look up in my booth and see some random stunt going on in the studio like when Froggy brought in his massive magnet. And then he was doing the Friday Fall Concert Series with his crazy stunts. You never know what they might be up to.
I think if we can help people escape reality for a segment of time by providing great entertainment, that’s our goal every morning.
Q: How would you describe the crew members?
A: MJ is definitely the guide of the show. He brings great content to the show and is really good at segueing into what he wants to do next. Froggy and Fester are definitely the jokesters. With Fester, he will even try to make light of some stories that aren’t necessarily that funny on the surface, but he finds a way to make them entertaining. Roxanne is the kind one and wants everyone to be happy. She also wants everyone to have their info correct in what they say on the air. Plus, I’ve seen her humor grow over the first few months of the show being back on.
Q: What would you say about the popularity of the show?
A: In just over three months, I think we have grown a lot in terms of listeners. We get a good number of calls, texts, and social media interaction.
I also think a lot of people who listened to the old show have come back and discovered the new one. And there are people who were kids back in the day who are now adults and have come back to listen as well.
Q: What was it like doing the Eggnog Challenge?
A: I’ve never been an eggnog person, so I don’t know why I agreed to do it. I guess I wanted to take one for the team. Drinking the first half-gallon wasn’t bad, but as soon as I cracked open the second half-gallon which hadn’t been refrigerated while I was drinking the first one, it was way too warm and thick.
I ended up drinking three-quarters of a gallon and was pretty proud of that performance.
Q: Do you think the show could be syndicated to other radio markets at some point?
A: You never know. Right now, we are focused on perfecting the show in Tampa, but I don’t see why some other stations wouldn’t want to air the show in the future.
Q: What are your goals in radio?
A: After seeing the energy from the MJ Morning Show crew, I’d love to host a morning show someday with a cast of characters like we’ve got here. I would also really like to work in a top 10 radio market down the road.
Q: What do you like to do for fun?
A: I like to go to the beach, fish, and have picked up golf recently.
Q: How can listeners find you on social media?
A: You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram at @thekylecoop.