There's a new personality burning up the airwaves in town. Marie "Free" Wright, the former host of BET's popular countdown show "106 & Park," made her debut Monday on the Big Tigger Morning Show on WPGC 95.5 FM.
"It's been fun so far but man, getting up in the morning is going to take some getting used to," she quipped.
"Look, you just got to go to bed early," Tigger told her. "I have three alarms… 4, 4:10 and 4:20."
Free had left "106 and Park" in 2005 to focus on her family and to launch her nonprofit organization, the Free4Life Foundation. She traveled the country speaking to kids and teens about domestic violence, homelessness and detention centers. The Boston native also hosted concerts and step shows around the world.
But two months ago, Tigger -- who'd been Free's mentor on BET -- called her in to substitute for him when he took a medical leave, and she realized that the time was right to come back to the industry.
"I decided to take a break, because my mom had terminal cancer, but I felt now is the right time to get back to work," she said. "...I took over while he was out, and fortunately it went well."
According to her co-host, it was all a test to see if she had what it takes to host a morning show.
"She's just a constant professional," Tigger said. "So I said let's go ahead and get her on the show because people are comfortable with her, people are always happy to see Free and hear from Free, so the exposure and love she will get from our listeners will do her well."
Although morning show's listenership is growing, Tigger said he's hoping to gain more listeners and one day get syndicated. He currently grades the show at a B-, but says an A+ is the goal in the coming months.
The four-hour morning show is one of the few local radio shows left in the area. Both Free and Tigger said it's going to take a lot of work to make sure they're kept on-air.
"I think we offer a well-balanced presentation to what life is," Tigger said. "Yeah, we are fun, but we do talk about important stuff. We plan to make the show a well-rounded presentation of everyday life, to talk about stuff that happens in our audiences' lives and in our lives, and to hopefully reach out to the community and bring them in."
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