Perhaps growing up as a middle child among five other kids helps Corey Dylan find her voice besides two Tampa Bay radio legends. • Perhaps her quiet existence as a closet news and current events junkie, hidden by years as a music personality, gives her the confidence to interject opinions and ask pointed questions. • Perhaps the opportunity to finally use her broadcast journalism degree from Washington State gives her the energy to awake at 3:30 a.m. • Perhaps all of those aspects have helped successfully grow into her role as co-host on AM Tampa Bay on WFLA-AM 970. • Dylan joined longtime co-hosts Jack Harris and Tedd Webb in December 2011 and since then she's steadily held her own while steadily raising her profile through community service. • The 41-year-old former morning host at '80s station WPOI-FM 101.5 recently shared with the Tampa Bay Times' Ernest Hooper how excited she is about becoming part of the No. 1 morning show in Tampa Bay and finding a job that's "perfect" for her.
How have you managed to find your way and fit in with Jack and Tedd?
I'm naturally inquisitive and I think that's part of why it works. The other part is the chemistry. Jack and Tedd are Like uncles to me. (Producers) Ethan, Jeff and Lee are like brothers and I think that's why it works. It was a challenge because they were used to doing their own thing. It's like to learning how to dance only with three people, but we interview so many interesting people who are doing amazing things, I'm actually enjoying getting up at 3:30 morning.
Has your life changed since you joined the show?
It's gotten busier. I've met so many people. I was on a 100,000 watt station before and I thought I had a pretty high profile, but it's different now. The longevity and history these guys have in the market — everybody knows them. And the people we interview — activists, leaders, headliners — it's just so interesting.
You also host a community affairs show that plays on all of Clear Channel's stations every weekend. Tell me about that.
It's called Tampa Bay Tomorrow and that's been another great experience. In the last month or so, I've interviewed the mayors of Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg and Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor about the security for the Republican National Convention. It was a tremendous feat that they pulled off spectacularly. Having a half-hour conversation with a single person is a whole another animal. You definitely have to do your homework.
That speaks to your sense of community and I know you do quite about of charitable work. What drives you to step up and volunteer.
In part, it was the way I was raised. It's been a part of my life since it was required in school and my parents have been a great example. I think it's really important to give back. If you can, you should do — especially for kids. All Children's Hospital is probably my favorite charity. I also have a little sister through Big Brothers/Big Sisters of the Suncoast program. She's been my little sister going on five years.
What led you to broadcasting?
It was either going to be broadcasting or law and I ultimately just didn't want to go to school anymore. Never had anything to do with my voice. It just looked like fun. I'm naturally inquisitive and it's a good outlet for me.
Before coming to WFLA, you spent six months looking for a job and even created a blog about the search. How did you handle that challenge?
You just feel kind of helpless. Your hands are tied. I was prepared to move across the country. I blogged about being employed because I don't know how not to do something. It's very difficult and I feel for the people who don't have a job. When I interviewed with Clear Channel, I thought it was just for a traffic position. When they told me they wanted to put somebody in the seat next to Jack and Tedd again, I almost fell out of my seat.
What kinds of topics did you cover in the blog?
I talked about collecting unemployment insurance and how it doesn't mean you're on welfare. Actually, it's your money. It's an uphill battle and you almost create a job for yourself. You have to get out there and really hustle. You have companies that will solicit resumes and call nobody back because they already know who they're going to hire. You can't just send a resume, you have to get in their face and show them what you can do.
In my industry, people lose their job and they sit back and don't do anything. All of sudden, they're not on the radar. I guess the middle child came out of me and I wanted to keep attention on the fact that I was looking and available.
Do you feel like the blog resonated with people?
I got 5,000 hits and I think that's pretty good. I think a lot of people could relate. Even since I got a job, I still have people emailing me and saying I finally got a job. I think they got the job because they hustled as well, and tried new things to get attention, get hired. I didn't have any idea I would land at WFLA. I thought for sure I would have to move.
Sunday Conversation is edited for clarity and brevity.