Williamsport native hits right frequency

College student Jocelyn Paza earns spot as co-host on N.C. morning radio show

College student Jocelyn Paza earns spot as co-host on N.C. morning radio show

February 04, 2003|by KATE COLEMAN

Williamsport High School Social Studies teacher Charles Holder is not surprised to learn that 1999 graduate Jocelyn Paza landed a job at a Greensboro, N.C., radio station before completing her High Point University degree in media studies.

"She's a people person," he says of the young woman he recalls as a leader in student government and someone who looked beyond the basics in his sociology class. She was interested in why people do things, he explains.

Paza, 21, who will graduate this spring, didn't have concrete plans for her future, but she remembers David Preische, her Williamsport High journalism teacher and yearbook adviser, asking her if she planned to become a journalist. Now she's working in that field.


She says she typically operates by the "seat of her pants."

"If it feels good, do it," is her motto.

Despite a grueling schedule, Paza's morning gig at 107.5 WKLZ feels good. "It's a blast," she says.

She gets up at 3:30 a.m. to be at the station by 4:30 to prepare for the show. She loads commercials and taped segments into the computer, and at 5:30 she's on the air.

"I'm the traffic girl," Paza laughs, but she's more than that.

Paza arrived at the WKLZ last spring, learning of the internship opportunity through a friend who worked there.

Jack Murphy, a radio veteran of 20 years in an array of markets, including Philadelphia, New York, San Diego and Dallas, has been host of the Greensboro, N.C., radio station's "Murphy in the Morning" show for 11 years.

He says he "stuck her out in the streets" doing stunts when she came on as an intern. "We have always tried to have a real local flavor."

For example, Paza went into a Waffle House restaurant, ordered breakfast and went into the restroom. After a while, she called the restaurant and asked the server to bring her sandwich to her there. The whole exploit was part of the broadcast.

"She showed me that she was pretty fearless," Murphy says. She made it sound fun and natural, he adds.

"Murphy in the Morning" is an entertainment show, Murphy says. Only three songs an hour are played during the four-and-a-half-hour program. The rest is filled with comedy skits primarily driven by people on the show.

"The most successful shows are the shows that are the most honest," Murphy says. "We focus on exploiting our personal life," he adds.

Paza - "Josie" to her listeners - shares the studio and airspace with Murphy and Britt Whitmire, whom she says is like a big brother.

"We rely on audience participation," Paza says. Listeners call in or send e-mail. There's a trace of an appealing huskiness in her voice, a voice she says she thinks has become pretty familiar to her listeners.

"The audience loves her," Murphy says.

When the show wraps up, Paza shifts into co-producer gear - editing, setting up interviews, scheduling guests that have included Tony Danza. Jared, the guy from the Subway television commercials, was on the show, a fun experience for Paza, who says she loved working at Subway at a Williamsport truck stop for two and a half years during high school.

Paza has good memories of her alma mater. She played fullback on the school's first girls' soccer team, and became one of the school's first female pole vaulters.

Paza also spent four years making music at Williamsport High - not on the radio but playing saxophone in the marching, concert and jazz bands.

Preische remembers her as a responsible and conscientious student with a knack for creativity - "a fountain of ideas."

She's taking a 15-credit-hour course load at High Point, is a resident assistant in her sorority and says she tries to catch a short nap whenever she can.

Paza says she'd someday like to have a show playing alternative music.


For now, she's happy on "Murphy in the Morning."

"I'm really comfortable," she says.

A veteran broadcaster wouldn't discount her long-term dreams.

"She's a very talented young lady. She's got a great future," Murphy says.

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