Charese Fruge Talks To Sara Osburn

This article was originally posted to AllAccess’ “Women To Watch” series, written by Charese Fruge on January 12, 2021 

“I remember the first time I went up to the radio station. Johnny Blaze now Michael Yo was doing nights. The studio was so magical to me. He gave my friend and I money to go grab McDonalds and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Here I was running an errand for a real-life radio DJ…and he paid for my fries!!!” she says. “I got an interview for the morning show and that lasted about 2 months before changes came and Tone E. Fly came in from Minneapolis. I interned for him for a while and then got paid thanks to support from Johnny Blaze…aka Michael Yo.”

“I went on to do nights with Bobby Bones, moved to NYC when he got mornings…worked at NBC as a Page…worked at CBS News for the CBS Early Show (now the CBS morning show),” says Osburn. “Bobby introduced me to Romeo at Z100 and I started answering phones there on weekends until a morning phone producer position opened up with ‘Elvis Duran and the Z Morning Zoo.’ I worked there for 1-2 years…got 3-4 Phone Taps on the air and tried to soak up EVERYTHING I could learn,” she says.

“I then went to do mornings with Bobby Bones at KHFI in Austin and went home to Dallas after a year. I worked at Jack FM and got to learn how to write/voice things for that brand and then produced a morning show on Movin’ 107.5. When that station blew up, I went over to KSCS and had the honor of filling in for Rebecca on the Dorsey Gang with Terry Dorsey and Hawkeye. My next and last move was to Austin to work at Mix 94.7. I worked 5 years with JB and Sandy and am now on year 7 with Booker, Alex and Sara.”

Sara’s favorite part of the radio business is the immediacy of it all. “In television, things are planned and take time to get on the air. In radio you can throw the book away at 5:59 am and do something completely different. I also love making connections with listeners. I am still always blown away when someone says we made them laugh on a rough day. What a privilege!”

Some of Sara’s bigger accomplishments in the business are more about achieving her personal goals. “My main goal is to never burn a bridge, as this business is small. I feel like I have done a good job with that so far,” she says. “I would say that my other accomplishment is mere survival. I have been at Mix 94.7 now for 12 years…in this business I understand that that is a gift.”

Sara has had some very exciting opportunities throughout the years. “As I mentioned the #1 reason I got into radio was to meet Nsync. I never got to meet them,” she says. “But I now have a stepdaughter who loves Panic! At the Disco. Last year they came to Austin and my boss Nikki Nite invited us to meet Brendon Urie backstage before the show. My stepdaughter wrote him a fan letter and they got to chat for a minute. It was SO exciting that she got to experience something that I would have DIED for at 15 and it made me so proud that I was able to give her that experience,” says Osburn. “It was also very exciting for me to meet Taylor Swift. Yes, I am a fangirl and I love that about me.”

Sara has also experienced some challenges over the course of her career. Her Biggest? “Morning Shows Personalities,” she says. “We are behind closed doors, in a small room and push each other’s buttons for a living, so lines get crossed. We have to entertain on days we like each other and hate each other and that can be really hard. The only way to handle it is through communication. Being on a morning show is like a marriage.”

That’s why mentoring is important in the business according to Sarah. “I am lucky that I have had so many people in this business help me and lift me up,” says Osburn. “It can be hard being a young girl in her 20s as the sole female on a morning show with guys. In my opinion, the female on morning radio is the edge factor. Listeners want to know about her, her dating life, her struggles, what she is wearing, etc. How do you stay true to yourself yet also share your life? What if you share too much–can you go back?” she asks. “How much of your sex life should you share? How much of your dating life should you share? How do you entertain without hurting someone else’s feelings? It is a lot to navigate and having a mentor to bounce ideas and feelings off of is really important.”

In her spare time, Sara stays busy. “I love to cook, watch movies, talk on the phone to friends, shop and organize closets in my home. I used to be the messiest person of my friends. I got married and now all I do is clean. It is weird.”

What keeps her up at night? SHOCKER! “If I am going to sleep through my early morning alarm. I seriously still wake up in a panic to check if I overslept,” she says. But she’s easily found balance. “We got a Peloton in February last year and I love it!” She says. “It is my mental health check right now. I am also fascinated by the instructors. They are almost like radio DJs. They pick music and talk in between songs. Their brands are so strong, and I so bought in to what they do on and off the bike.”

As for what Sara will be up to in the New Year: “I feel like I have been in a creative pit during COVID-19,” she says. “I have so many things I want and need to do. I am fully aware that I need to start a podcast because anyone that does not have a podcast in radio is behind the times. So as much as it pains me to say…I am behind the times and need to fix that asap.”

Follow Sara Osburn on Instagram and Facebook @saraosburn and TikTok @saraosburnlight