Cori’s Story: 5 Years Back On The Air In Bangor!
I can't believe it's been five years!
You know those sayings "make something good out of something bad" and "when one door closes, another one opens?" That's kind of been my life since 2018.
And as I look back at the last few years broadcasting from the Townsquare studios here on Acme Rd. in Brewer -- the place where I started my career almost 20 years ago -- I realize these past five years have been a really big deal for me.
Let me explain.
I landed my first radio gig back in 2000, initially doing news on Q106.5 and then jumping into middays and then mornings on Z107.3.
I felt like I had no idea what I was doing, but I also knew that what I was doing was exactly what I was supposed to be doing, if that makes sense.
I felt like this was what I was meant to do: Talk to people, be weird, and play music. Those three things have been in my wheelhouse since I was a kid.
When I first started at the Z, back in 2000, all the guys and gals in our building became my brothers and sisters! Chuck Foster, my first morning show partner, and I would share Dunkin' breakfast sandwiches every morning.
Dan Cashman gave me a backward clock one Christmas (because I couldn’t get the time right on the air ... ever!) and it’s still hanging up in my house! Kid and I have shared many a beverage and conversation about music, which usually ended with a suggestion by him on a new cool artist to check out.
I practically grew up on the air in Bangor.
I turned 21 with this crew, got engaged, and married while working here.
When my first child was born, John Easton, from John and Cori in the Morning, was one of the first people to hold him.
The job encompassed everything I was good at; making sense out of the chaos and strangeness of life with a good sense of humor.
I also got to take people's minds off their problems for a short while. That's something I've always tried to do, from a very young age.
The radio community in Bangor is one of the best around. Everyone knows and has likely worked with everyone else. Everyone is very supportive of one another, just like family.
I mean, the very first Free The Z event that ever took place, we had donations from all of the "competing" stations!
When I ultimately decided to leave the Bangor area in 2005 and spread my wings, it was a hard decision because I didn't think I'd ever find that kind of a perfect situation again.
During the next several years, I was very lucky to work for some other great stations, both across the country and closer to home. All of those experiences were amazing and helped shape me as a person. I would often stop to appreciate just how grateful I was to be working in this business. In fact, I still do that.
But as you know, life is in a constant state of change. After working for over a decade on the air, I "retired" from radio in 2011 when my first daughter was born.
Truthfully, when I made the decision to leave broadcasting, I really didn't think I'd get the chance to ever get back in front of a microphone. And as excited as I was to be a mom, and be at home with my kids, there was a small part of me that was bittersweet to leave this job that felt so much like a calling.
It was hard for me to think about shifting my purpose from entertaining and informing the masses to embracing motherhood until I realized the job was pretty much the same, it was just the audience was living with me and demanding snacks.
And so I spent the better part of the next decade having and raising four awesome kids.
I made the transition from media personality to homeschooling, stay-at-home mom with unexpected ease. All I ever wanted to do (aside from work in broadcasting) was to be a mom and to be as hands-on as possible while raising my kids.
And when my last baby was born in 2015, I thought I'd finally figured out this thing called life.
It's funny how the rug seems to get pulled out from underneath you, just when you think you've got life all figured out.
In 2017, I found myself a single mom to four kiddos, living inside what felt like a tornado of chaos and emotion. I had no idea which way was up.
Doing the best I could to land on my feet, after years of being a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom, I suddenly found myself in need of a "real job," as someone put it. (This person had obviously never been a stay-at-home mom, but we'll forgive them that ignorance.)
I had been out of radio for years. The industry had changed.
Would I fit into the new way of doing things? Would I still be relevant?
Could I even manage to form an entire sentence that made sense to adults, after such a long time dealing mainly with kids?
And speaking of kids...how would I manage working when trying to help my kids through this process?
It would have to be a pretty extraordinary situation.
As the universe would have it (and this is where those old sayings come into play) something bad led to something good; one door closed and another opened.
My old colleague and partner, Chuck Foster, had fallen ill. And I got a call from the radio station asking if I would be willing to help out in his absence... on a temporary basis.
As I said, the Bangor radio market is small and tight-knit. When one of our own passes, especially someone as well known as Chuck Foster, that has an impact on everyone -- both in the community, but also in our little radio family.
No one could have known that the worst would happen, and what was temporary would become permanent.
But it did. And I found myself in the position of filling some legendarily epic shoes.
It was my honor to be called back to take over his show because I’d like to think he would have gotten a kick out of that. And I felt the significance of that passing of the torch, so to speak.
The timing couldn't have been stranger, how it all came to pass.
But taking over the afternoons, working with my old family once again, and supporting my situation and my new family has been a humbling, inspiring, and beautiful experience.
It has brought this mom, who is just trying to survive like so many other parents out there, a sense of strength and peace.
In 2020, I even got the chance to expand what I was doing on the air. While I still get to do the afternoon show on Z107.3, I also now get to do mornings again with a great new partner, on the radio station I'd grown up listening to, I-95 FM.
Not only am I able, once again, to do what I love so much, but I'm able to do it in a way that I can still be there for my kids.
I've found a way to relate to a new audience, and I was still able to entertain those who were used to getting my weirdness from before.
I've learned that I've got this. I may not have it all figured out...but I've got it.
And I want to thank my co-workers, the old friends, and the new ones, for helping me transition back to life behind the microphone.
It feels like I've come back around, full circle.
Thank you all for being a part of my story, and for letting me be a small part of yours...or at the very least, allowing me to provide you with a brief moment of levity in whatever heaviness is going on in your world. Thanks for keeping me company in the mornings and in the afternoons.
Here's hoping for many more years of fun ahead.
Thanks for tuning in. Together, we've got this.