Courtesy of WEBN
On Monday, some of Columbus’ most popular morning radio show hosts made their debut in a new market under a new name.
The duo, previously referred to as “Blazor and Mo in the Morning” on 99.7 “The Blitz” WRKZ, began their residency under the name “Mark and Mo in the Morning,” on Clear Channel’s 102.7 WEBN in Cincinnati.
After personal issues with the company, Maurice “Mo” Jovan left WRKZ, owned by North American Broadcasting Company, Inc., near the end of 2011. Within the last few weeks, the second half of the morning show, Mark “Blazor” Smith, left too. The sudden loss of on-air talent left fans across the city angered, some of whom lashed out toward the station via social media networks such as Facebook.
However, much to fans’ approval, the pair recently reunited and announced their new show earlier this month, which began airing Monday. The show is scheduled to air Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. on WEBN, though local fans can still tune in using the iHeartRadio.com and its phone app.
Smith said he is still in shock over the opportunity he has been given, and said radio is “like breathing” for him.
“This is still like a dream for me, I’m pinching myself,” Smith said. “It is nothing like ‘The Blitz.’ As a matter of fact, getting into Clear Channel and being a part of this well-oiled machine … ‘The Blitz’ is like a fake radio station to me now. I honed my craft and everything else there but I now have seen what real radio is like, and it’s vastly different than what I’ve come up on. It’s unbelievable.”
WRKZ did not respond to four phone calls and two email requests for comment.
Having spent nearly two decades at WRKZ, Smith said he realized that his dream to desire more could become a reality with his new employer.
“I know I’m going into a building that really is behind Mo and I,” Smith said. “They are 100 million percent behind Mo and I and what we are doing. They believe in us.”
Smith said he is excited for the amount of exposure they will receive. He said six different departments are helping to get the ball rolling, and in addition to online advertising, they will be featured in television commercials.
“We have a lot of people,” Smith said. “I really feel like we’re going to be really successful because we have an enormous support staff there. It’s so amazing, man. I am in awe that I am a part of this. It’s really crazy dude. I can’t tell you how crazy.”
When Smith tried to promote his show at WRKZ out of his own pocket, he said the station’s management took issue.
“We were told by the management, how dare we just go and do that on our own and advertise our show, and to immediately put a stop to it and (they) said, ‘Don’t you ever do that again or you’ll be taken off the air. You may be let go at that point,'” Smith said. “I sat across from my PD (program director) and said to him, ‘All we’re trying to do is advertise our show and get more listeners, that is all we are trying to do. We’re not trying to one-up anybody, we’re not trying to do something without permission, we’re just trying to advertise our show,’ because we live and die by the ratings and we’re trying to get more people listening to us because I know we can get more people listening that would like us.”
Even after all these years, Smith said he still wakes up eager to go to work because he gets to “have fun for a living.”
“The passion that I have has not went away even though I’ve been in the business 22 years — 22 consecutive years — the passion is still there,” Smith said. “When I got a taste of radio, forget it man, that was it. That is like … so unbelievable, when it gets in you, in your blood, you know what you’re meant to do when it starts happening like that. One-hundred-thousand-million percent, I go, ‘This is it, this is what I’m supposed to be doing,’ the first time I talked on the air.”
Representatives from WEBN said they are excited to house Mark and Mo.
“We are excited to launch an engaging and compelling morning show that appeals to the listeners of the Tri-state area,” said Casey Krukowski, WEBN program director, in a statement. “Mark and Mo are real, relatable and funny. The show will feature a combination of topical conversation, listener interaction, news, sports, weather and the best rock music on Cincinnati Radio.”