Katherine Boyd opens the front door of her Rocky River home. Her two oldest children are due to arrive home from school any minute with backpacks and homework, her youngest child is about to come home from day care and dinner needs to be made.
Since hitting Cleveland as a reporter at NewsChannel5 in 1992, Boyd has crafted a public persona — and a life — that would be tricky for most of us to pull off. She's politically savvy enough to have interviewed five U.S. presidents, yet fun enough to do an all-day interview with Drew Carey during the 1995 World Series in Cleveland.
She's vain enough to have insisted for the right to have long hair, not the "anchor bob" that used to be required of women on the air, and down-to-earth enough to tuck that same hair in a ponytail for the ride to New Orleans on a C-130 transport plane with the Ohio National Guard after Hurricane Katrina. But being the co-host on Q104's Fee's Kompany requires her to think differently.
"They taught us in journalism school that a reporter is supposed to be impartial," she says. "That's what I did when reporting the news on TV. But the goal of a morning radio personality is 180 degrees different. My job now is to entertain, to illicit emotion, to make listeners laugh. You do that by being a human being who shows emotion, gives opinions and shows your warts and all."
And it's not her experience or education that helps her accomplish that. It's her family — 14-year-old Briar, 11-year-old Gunther, 4-year-old Emmie and husband, Eric.
"Having children was the best thing to ever happen to me," she says. "I embrace my goofy side. We laugh in our house all the time because we embrace our silliness. And I know that's helped me in my radio job. I'm a big dork and I'm OK with that."
Boyd, who wakes up at 3:15 a.m. and still wears heels and lipstick to the office, says her schedule isn't easy but it is surprisingly conducive to family life. She is home when the kids get home from school. The downside? "I go to bed before my kids, even my 4-year-old. I miss tucking them in bed and reading a bedtime story." On days like today, though, everything is working.
On air this morning, Boyd was talking about Madonna and how excited she was to see the show, even though the tickets were a strain on her wallet. She comes across as in-the-know and cool, but very real — qualities that helped Fee's Kompany win the coveted demographic of women ages 18 to 54 in every single ratings period since she joined it.
At home, she is popping chocolate chip cookies in the oven and getting the chicken ready for the grill. She hears a car door close and her face brightens as she looks out the kitchen window. Her husband is holding Emmie's hand as she bounces along. Boyd rushes to the backdoor to greet them.
Boyd doesn't take moments like these for granted.
"Pure joy," she says.