A Murray State alumnus received the first-ever Kentucky Broadcasters Association Excellence in Broadcasting Award for Best Morning Show.
Steve Schwetman, one of the hosts on the morning show “Bobby and Steve and Mandi” on 93.3 WKYQ in Paducah, Kentucky, accepted the award on Oct. 14 at the KBA Excellence in Broadcasting Awards Show.
In his acceptance speech, Schwetman, somewhat comically, said being a radio show host is about more than just doing a job.
“It’s a vision,” Schwetman said. “Our job is not only to entertain our listeners but it’s also to keep them informed, maybe educating them a little… maybe not too much.”
Schwetman, a Metropolis, Illinois native who came from a farming family, thanked his parents during the speech.
“Marvin and Rosemary, thank you for encouraging me to do this [job],” Schwetman said.
Schwetman said his parents encouraged his creativity as a child. He was always interested in cartoons even while working on the farm and would try learning their voices while also creating his own characters.
He knew he wanted to be in front of the camera and dreamed of being on ESPN as a child. In high school, he realized he had a gift for radio and began working at a local radio station WRIK-FM, Hit Radio K-98.
He originally began his career with WKYQ/WKYX in 1987 but left two years later to focus on his bachelor’s degree at Murray State.
Schwetman majored in journalism during his undergraduate studies and worked at MSU-TV 11, the on-campus student cable station, as a sports anchor, reporter and producer. He also acted as producer and co-host of the sports show, “Sports Overtime.”
“I had a great time at Murray State,” Schwetman said. “I’ve made friendships with great people whom I keep in contact with.”
He said he chose Murray State because of its impeccable radio and television program. He worked closely with his professors and adviser listening to their critique as he refined his skills and creativity.
One of the professors Schwetman mentioned was retired journalism professor and department chair Robert Lochte. He said Lochte inspired him to pursue a career in radio and television.
Lochte said Schwetman was always learning during his time at Murray State.
“Very early he focused on a career in radio and landed a job with one of the best station groups in the region,” Lochte said.
Part of Schwetman’s success is his personality.
“He really has a good radio personality with a natural enthusiasm that’s attractive without being obnoxious,” Lochte said. “Steve is someone you enjoy having in your home every morning.”
After a short stint in Las Vegas, Schwetman moved to Los Angeles. He had acted since high school and his minor in college was theater.
“I wanted to try acting, but my dream job was to do voices for animated cartoons,” Schwetman said. “My high school buddy and Murray State alumnus Lee Sanders put me up for a while till I got on my feet.”
During his time in Los Angeles, Schwetman met another Murray State alumnus and actor, W. Earl Brown.
“We met in 1998 after the success of ‘There’s Something About Mary,’” Schwetman said. “He found out I was in LA and reached out to me. He and his wife [Murray State alumna] Carrie Paschall Brown invited me to their home for supper one night.”
Schwetman said W. Earl Brown gave him great advice on his future career endeavors.
In 2002, he received a phone call from the long-time general manager of WKYQ/WKYX, Gary Morse. Morse told Schwetman that Bobby Cook’s partner at the time was moving to Frankfort, Kentucky, leaving a vacancy in the position. He graciously accepted the offer to return to the station where he began his career and have the opportunity to work with his role model and friend, Cook.
The other co-host, Mandi Turner joined the show in January 2017.
Schwetman said working in local radio is about putting a smile on people’s faces and providing a few laughs now and then. However, he said there is nothing more rewarding than having visitors come up to him and thank him for what he does.
“‘Thank you for the coverage of the tornado warning,’” Schwetman said in his acceptance speech. “‘My family got to the shelter in time because you were able to alert us.’That’s what we take to heart.”
Schwetman was surprised when they were given the award for Best Morning Show but it wasn’t the first time he had been nominated for a top award.
“Bobby and I were finalists for a Country Music Association Broadcast award a few years ago,” Schwetman said. “Last year, with the addition of Mandi Turner, we were finalists for a similar award with the Academy of Country Music. This one holds special meaning. It’s the first of its kind, and it’s among our peers in Kentucky.”
In addition to being an award-winning radio show host, Schwetman is a professional actor, currently represented by Graham Entertainment of Nashville.
“Two of my highest-profile projects were playing the lead detective in the crime-recreation series ‘Fatal Attraction’ on the TVOne network,” Schwetman said. “I also played ‘Captain Ironheart’ in ‘Louis & Skeeter and the Search for Buried Treasure’ for Lifeway’s ‘Submerged’ vacation bible school program. The movie was seen by just over two million kids.”
He is active at Market House Theater, a nationally-recognized community theater in Paducah, Kentucky. He is also a member of “Murder To Go,” a murder mystery troupe affiliated with Badgett Playhouse in Grand Rivers, Kentucky.