Charese Fruge’ Talks To Brooke Summers
This article was originally posted to AllAccess’ “The Bigger Picture” series, written by Charese Fruge on March 07, 2022
It all started for Brooke in 1999, “I was in school studying early childhood education. I won a contest to be a guest personality on a local station and fell in love, changed my major and pursued a job in Clarksville in 2000,” she says. “I started as a weekend board op for races, then on to weekend overnights on the Urban AC. Fast forward through 16 years of Top 40 radio at WUHU/Bowling Green, KY, and now I’m currently mornings on B107.3 and afternoons on Froggy 98 in Lincoln.”
“As a child I used to pretend to play ‘DJ’, but I really didn’t think much about it as a career as I got older. It wasn’t until my guest personality opportunity that I fell in love with it…again,” Summers continues. “And now, being called out of the blue about both my current job and the opportunity to be the announcer at the 57th Academy of Country Music Awards have been some of the most amazing experiences.”
So how did the ACM awards opportunity come about? “When I first moved to afternoons on Froggy 98 (I started in middays) there was an article in a Country trade that mentioned me. My name was passed along to the Executive Producer of the ACMs. He reached out and asked if I would like to submit a demo to be the announcer. I meanm who would say ‘no,’ this was dream!!!”
With two prime time shifts on two different stations Brooke’s got a pretty intense schedule. “I get up before the sun, layer up (it’s cold here in Nebraska!), and head to the studio,” she explains. “I show prep the day before, but I always look through to see if there is something that I want to update. Things happen overnight sometimes. My co-host and I are on from 6a-10. After, that it’s office time or promo meetings, then I get ready for my shift on Froggy.”
The majority of Brooke’s experience comes from Urban AC and Top 40 radio, and while the energy can be very much the same, the culture of the Country format is very different. I asked Brooke about making the transition. “I was extremely nervous because Country fans are unlike any other,” she says. “They are loyal and loving, but they know THEIR artists and you better as well. It was slightly intimidating.”
Clearly, she figured it out and has quickly become very successful as a result. She’s got great advice for women who want to get into radio. “DO IT! Do not let anyone tell you that you don’t belong or aren’t ‘on air material.’ My very first GM said that to my OM/PD. He told him to pull me off air ASAP because I was terrible! If you really want it, put in the time and effort. Practice and, most importantly, don’t be a character, be yourself!”
Like most good talent, Brooke wants to give back to the community and understands that she has a platform to do so. She’s got her own passions as well. “This probably won’t be a cause that’s widely known to most, but fibroid tumors. So many women are dealing with them and don’t know or don’t know who to talk to,” she says. “They impact women in ways you can’t imagine unless you are dealing with them, yet no one talks about them. About three years ago I had to have a major surgery due to a massive fibroid, it was so big it was the size of a newborn. So, I am passionate about spreading information about fibroids.”
So, what keeps Brooke up at night? “So, so many things. My kids, my shows, self-doubt, the ACMS…I could keep going,” she says. But she does find balance, mostly from “yoga and sleep, also, I love movies and bingeing cheesy shows,” she adds.
As for what’s ahead for Brooke, “Well I just got to Lincoln so, my co-host and I are still adjusting (which will always be an on-going process) and I am still learning the area, but I hope to get #1 in the spring book and maybe another awards show!
Follow Brooke Summers on INSTAGRAM @brookesummers