It takes good people to make the Dayton community better. That's where K99’s Nancy Wilson and James Frye step in.
Of course you’ve heard them host K99.1 FM's morning show, but few people know how much they serve the community. It's intrinsically tied to the station's mission to connect with the community -- and the station provides a platform for the two to make it happen.
As a result of Wilson and Frye’s philanthropy, K99 has scored multiple award nominations—the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) Chrystal Award nomination, and nominations for both the CMA (Country Music Awards) and the AMA (American Music Awards) Station of the Year.
As K99.1 FM approaches its 27th birthday on March 17, we thought it was time to give you 7 reasons why it makes the community better -- and has throughout the years.
1.) K99’S WORK IS DONE IN DAYTON, FOR DAYTON
Nancy: I think one of the keys to resonating with the community is that we are local. I am from South Carlson, Ohio and Frye is form Waynesville. We know this area. We like to make the listeners feel included. We really work hard every day to make them feel like they are a part of the show, whether it’s giveaways that we have, concerts that we put on—free stuff is always big.
Frye: Anything that we do—especially charities that we are involved with—we like to be involved with things that say within the Dayton area. Obviously Dayton Children’s is our big one. When we do Radiothon and things throughout the year to raise money—all of that money stays right here [in the community]. I know Nancy is on the board for SICSA and that is something that is directly involved with our community. I think when we do things, especially when we have the opportunity to be a part of something that doesn’t leave our area, and stays within, that’s super important to us.
2.) THEY KNOW WHERE THIER EFFORTS ARE GOING
Nancy: We’ve done Radiothon for 18 years and listeners have raised over 3 million dollars to buy new transport units, finish off units in the hospital, and buy vein viewers and giraffe beds—stuff that they may not have realized the hospital needed, but that’s where the money went. We always like to say that it doesn’t go for CEO vacations and it doesn’t go for trips or bonuses. It goes for life-saving equipment.
3.) K99 CARES ABOUT THE PEOPLE OF DAYTON
Frye: Radiothon is something that we do throughout the year. [It's] the week before Thanksgiving, and it’s three days where we are on the air from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. We do the broadcast from the lobby at the hospital. It’s great because a lot of the kids that have been through that hospital come back and it’s kind of like a reunion—they all come back to be a big part of this. They come back to tell their stories and explain why Dayton Children’s Hospital is so important to them and why the money that we are raising and giving back to the hospital is so important. It’s neat because we get to go in a lot of the times and see the equipment that was bought. When we say we’re buying something – it’s truly what it’s going for. We got to go see a brand new stretcher delivered. To see something that you actually bought or that you helped be a part of—hopefully you never need it, like we always say—but if it’s there, then it’s right here in our community.
Nancy: Another really cool thing about Radiothon, is because we’ve been doing it so long and it’s affiliated with Children’s Miracle Network, a lot of country music artists are lined up at St. Judes—which is another great place, but there is one hospital. Dayton Children’s is here, and like Frye was talking about, people love the fact that the money goes right back into that hospital. We’ll reach out to the artists and say, "hey, can you help us out with that?’ Luke Bryan gave us a trip. Kenny Chesney said, "okay, here’s a fly away to whoever donates 7500 dollars." They get to go and fly to see Kenny in concert. It’s exciting that the artists get so involved with it. Every year we’ve got artists who want to come to the hospital to play for the kids.
4.) K99 SERVES MULTIPLE ORGANIZATIONS
Wilson: I’ve been on the women’s board for Dayton Children’s for five years now, so that is something else that I do with the hospital. Fry mentioned SICSA, which is the society for the improvement of living conditions for stray animals. I’ve been on the board for that and I also serve as a volunteer, and Frye every year is the emcee for the Lift Your Leg Run and Walk.
Frye: It’s a walk and run they do every year and they are doing some sort of special bartending night where whoever can get involved with it is going to raise money for SICSA as well. The Walk and Run is always fun, because usually it’s myself and Gabby from WHIO News Center 7. We go out and she brings her dogs—it’s a great event. [It] has grown exponentially. Every year they move it to a bigger location. We’re doing at the Centerville High School just because it is so big.
Wilson: Then along with SICSA in the fall, I am the emcee for the Cat’s Meow, which is like a gala fundraiser kind of thing. In addition to those things that we’re involved in, we also support other charities.
Frye: URS, JDURF, Alzheimer’s…
Wilson: Choices in Community Living, Developmental Disabilities, [and] Agape for Youth, which is a foster care agency.
Frye: And a lot of times we do walks like JDRF and Alzheimer’s, and we go out and we will host those and be a part of it. I think just between the both of us, it is amazing the amount of reach you have just with the amount of events you get to be a part of.
5.) K99 SERVES THE COMMUNITY BECAUSE IT’S IMPORTANT, NOT REQUIRED
Do you think you’d be doing this work if you didn’t work with K.99?
Wilson: It is really important for both of us. We’re big believers in that because without reaching out to the community, without being involved in things that go on, listeners can’t really get a taste of who you are. When we do these kinds of things, we don’t ever get paid for them.
Wilson: I always say when I walk into a room in a Dayton Children’s Hospital, I walk out of it a better person. Because as Frye mentioned earlier, you can see the kids that were once patients there. Some of them have come back and some of them work there, or it shaped their futures based on their experiences as a patient at Dayton Children’s. You learn a lot about resilience, about bravery and courage, and about what it really means to be someone who cares just by doing something as simple as that. It makes you humble, but at the same time it also makes you honored to be a voice for people who sometimes can’t.
6. THEY'RE MAKING THEIR SERVICE ROLE KNOWN TO THE WORLD
Do you think the work K99 has done in the community is the reason you are being nominated for awards?
Frye: Of course, 100 percent! I don’t think that there is any station in this market that could even compare with what we do. The amount of things and people that we reach out to and try to be a part of and want to be a part of I think [is] probably a good reason we did get nominated for some of these awards—especially the latest one. We got nominated for the NAB. We really do try and be the biggest part of the community as we can—on-air and off-air and to get out there and see these people face-to-face and be a voice. For example, for the Alzheimer’s walk—when you’re out there, there are different kinds of balloons of someone who has lost somebody or somebody who is fighting—it is very humbling when you get to talk to these people one on one. To be a part of it is a wonderful thing but I think we far outreach anybody when it comes to that.
Nancy: Frye really nailed it when he said that these are things that we really want to be a part of. You’re not keeping track or score, like "Oh, this is going to help us get nominated." These are things we’ve been doing for years. Before Frye joined K99 almost six years ago, I was on the morning show with Steve Kerrigan, a long-time radio icon who was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, and I took a part in Man and Women of the Year for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. Not to win or anything like that, but to raise awareness and education for what Steve was going through. Steve lost his battle 5 years ago this month. What we did was raise awareness about blood diseases and the listeners got involved with this. I did end up winning that, and we ended up getting a study grant named after Kerrigan because our listeners donated money. It was a very grassroots kind of thing. When you are able to touch people but [also] educating them and by saying these are things that we want you guys to know about because you never know when you are going to need it—that’s the winning thing for me.
Frye: Just making people aware of things that are right here in our community that people are battling through—it’s an honor to do.
7. SERVICE IS A PART OF WHO THEY ARE
Nancy: There’s no other radio in the station in town that does that kind of thing. I think if it weren’t he and I, it might be different. If there were a different morning show, I don’t know how it would be.
Frye: I think that both of us, whether we were here now or not, would be involved in the community in some aspect. I think the radio station has personally given me a platform to branch out to be a part of more things that maybe I wouldn’t have been able to take part in. I think no matter what, if we weren’t here, I think we would be somehow involved in something. I think the station has given us personally a platform to branch out and to be a part of more things, which I was thrilled to do.
Nancy: And they are very supportive of that, but it’s not anything that they said, "you two have to do [this]."
Frye: There is not a mandate that says this is what you have to do.