GTPulse: Finster Returns To Radio With Abbey Courtney As Co-Host
“I’ve been screwing it up all morning!”
Local radio icon Finster was in his element yesterday, despite insisting that he was having an off day. It was his first day back on air in a year and behind his frantic button pressing and confusion at how to operate the voice mail, he was totally in his groove.
Radio personalities require a certain…je ne sais quoi. They have to have a distinct voice. They need to be able to entertain and engage people without using their facial expressions or body language. Being responsible for entertaining people while they’re engaging in one of the most monotonous acts (driving) is a challenge. When someone’s a great radio personality it’s not hard to see. They’re memorable and they usually develop a following, which is the case for Sean Finnegan, or as he’s known in Northern Michigan, Finster.
“I got a call from someone who needed a morning show partner on a Thursday, I was on air that Monday. I packed up my stuff and drove from Connecticut. I never even heard of Traverse City.”
Finster is well known in Northern Michigan through having a couple previous radio shows here over the span of 13 years. He left one show for the other, and a recently ended non-compete agreement put him in the right place at the right time at 101.9 WLDR. President Sheryl Coyne couldn’t be more thrilled to have him.
“We wanted something really engaging with a lot of excitement and Finster with Abbey fits that. He wants to be involved with the community and that’s what we’re about. In Northern Michigan we don’t have rock stars or movie stars. Our celebrities are our local radio and TV hosts and it means a lot to the community for him to get involved.”
Finster will be co-hosting the show with Traverse City local and Spark in the Dark founder Abbey Courtney. Finster and Abbey had worked together before at a radio station. He was working as an MC and she was working as an account executive.
“He doesn’t remember,” Abbey said rolling her eyes and grinning at Finster. “It’s comical. I sold ads for this man for a solid year. He recorded my child who sang one of our commercials!”
However, Finster does remember judging a Halloween costume dog party at Williams Chevy with Abbey when she worked there a few years later. The two got along well. So well that when Finster’s co-host at his old radio show would go on vacation he would ask Abbey to step in.
“I became this kind of stand in when he needed someone, and then he comes to 101.9 and demands that I come with him. ‘She will be my partner!’” Abbey laughed. “I have no background in radio, but sounds fun…outside of working with him, obviously. He drug me into it.”
It’s easy to see why Finster asked Abbey to be his co-host. They have a palpable rapport. He has a classically boisterous and commanding radio presence, and Abbey is a graceful and quick-witted counter balance.
The morning show, called Finster In The Morning, will run Monday through Friday from 5:25 a.m. to 10 a.m. The music being featured is adult contemporary, and the break time antics will be plentiful. Show segments include Facebook Theatre, where the two will read comments in different voices on an attention-grabbing post. Finster will have his 91-year-old father come on once a week and tell a dad joke.
“We’re gonna have different games. We’re gonna have Prison Price Is Right, where I will name you an item you can buy in prison and you have to guess how much it is,” Finster said. “You’re not gonna hear politics here. We’re not your source for news. This is an escape from all the real stuff. Not that we’re not gonna talk about Bachelor in Paradise. I love that show.”
The show will also have a good news story of the day, something inspirational and uplifting that is going on in the world. Finster and Abbey are most excited to be a bright spot in people’s day. They want to be a favorite part of their listener’s mornings, and they want the listeners to be a part of theirs too.
“Being away from radio for a year was like being a bird with a broken wing. Today they took the bandage off and released me back into the wild!” Finster said.