Annie Frey relayed a lot of information in the relatively brief time we spent together. She talks fast and puts her thoughts down quickly. Maybe it’s because with four kids, you have a hard time getting a word out. She made sure her children could play doubles tennis when the fourth child showed up last year.
“My daughter Molly Marie was born 16 months ago,” Frey said. “He’s a typical fourth child. She is independent, curious, a baby to go. I’m not quite sure what that means.
That makes two of us.
Frey hosts the eponymous The Annie Frey Show on Fox News radio station, 97.1FM Talk. Between her family and her job, she is a busy woman.
“My husband and I used to sit and watch the first child, wondering how we were going to handle it all. When the fourth arrives, you have a totally different mindset. It’s more like autopilot.
Frey said parenting was difficult and difficult to keep up with everything that was going on in children’s lives.
“That’s the hard part right now, juggling it all. And it’s all happening during the tough, silly political season.
It has been said that if you want to do something, give it to a busy person. Frey has a family, a job and is a volleyball coach. However, if something has to give, his family will always come first.
“The one thing people always tell me is that time with your kids goes by really fast,” Frey said. “The other expression is that the days are long, the years are short. Here I am physically trying to keep my eyes open due to exhaustion, then in the blink of an eye it will all be over.
Frey said her number one priority is to be there and be present in the children’s lives.
“You can’t always stop the world from hurting them,” she said. “But you have to help create resilient human beings. Let them know that they will always have a mother and a father who will be there for them. Make sure they don’t really need you anymore.
She said her 12-year-old son was just too mature for his age, an old soul.
“She’s just gotten into that age where she starts cracking jokes, contributing to a conversation. It’s kind of cool. You couldn’t imagine things like that happening when they were little. what am I going to do when she starts driving a car?”
Frey was born in Edwardsville, Illinois, just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis. Only 22 minutes from downtown. She grew up on a generational farm, raised in the same house where her grandfather was born.
“There is a treeline on the western horizon of our property where we can see the Gateway Arch, see fireworks. I always say I’m an Illinois in the shadow of the Ark.
Frey began his radio career as an intern at KFNS, at the same time as our own Jason Barrett was program director.
“I grew up listening to Frank Cusumano on KFNS. He’s one of the best storytellers, bar none,” Frey said. “I started interning on his show right out of college. I was such little peanuts. I loved working with Frank. I had a lot of responsibilities and I had the chance to do meaningful things.
The internship was unpaid, but that didn’t seem to bother Frey.
“I loved the radio. I got a call while I was in Peoria for a volleyball tournament, and it was the station asking if I wanted to extend the internship, still unpaid. Of course , I said yes”.
Welcome to the radio.
At that time, she was living in Hamel, Illinois, and driving 55 miles to and from the train station every day. She eventually started earning minimum wage. Still, it was all worth it.
“I got to work with some great people,” Frey said. “I didn’t have health insurance, but I was working a real job in the industry. In radio, you have to go where the jobs are.
She studied communications and broadcasting at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, with ambitions to become a secondary sports journalist. Frey said that while working at KFNS, she formed a good relationship. While secondary reporting was her focus, she recognized that something else was calling her.
“I walked away from that goal,” Frey said. “All these sporting events, I would cover the nights and weekends required. What I really wanted was a family of six. (There are only two kids left.) I wanted to be successful with a family, not spend all my time on a meaningless sports game.
Frey is a true sports lover, as evidenced by the fact that she was a four-sport athlete in high school. She played volleyball, basketball, softball and ran track.
“Sport has always been my passion,” explained Frey. “In the summer of ’08, all I talked about on the air was Barry Bonds, if his home runs would hold up. That’s when I realized I didn’t care enough about stuff like that to make sports my life. I guess it was some kind of disconnect. Now I’m involved in news and politics. I don’t care which side of the aisle you are on, you should have a heart and a head for what’s going on.
Frey still loves sports, but now it’s a matter of the heart, not a brain strain. She said the sport is a business driven by success.
“What entertains sells,” Frey said. “You never really want to know how the sausage is made. You almost don’t want to get too close to something where you end up losing the passion. I didn’t want to do the bar stool sport. There was a specific role on radio for female voices at the time, that wasn’t for me.
Frey said it was different with politics. She can plead her case with more sense. It was a huge transformation from sport to politics, but Frey admits she had the right personality.
“I’m a nerd,” she said. “I was raised to be a nerd.”
At KFNS, Frey contributed very little on the air with no real ambition to be behind the microphone.
“I was interested in traffic, loading PSAs and ads. I did stuff on the weather and the business office,” Frey explained. “I made schedules for producers and part-timers. The last thing I took on was digital responsibility.
Frey said the digital world today compared to 2008 is a light year of difference.
“People didn’t recognize what running a website was like back then. It was almost primitive.
Frey said she was incredibly blessed to be surrounded by her family, close to her family’s original home.
“My four grandparents played a big part of my life,” Frey said. “My paternal grandfather was stationed in the South Pacific during World War II. He met his wife, my grandmother, in Australia. They had only known each other for a few months when they got married. He sent her to the United States. She sailed to the West Coast, arrived at Union Station in St. Louis, and lived with my grandfather’s family.
Frey said everyone assumed her newly married grandmother was expecting a child, but that was not the case. His grandfather was a captain in the army. He drew maps of farms in Illinois. When he joined the army, his skills changed to a topographer during his service.
“My grandparents had an influence on my life. They have a strong Christian faith. I use them as a guide to prioritize my life.
As a child, Frey listened to KMOX, which she said was on nearly every kitchen radio.
“Rush Limbaugh was on. I knew who he was at a young age. But then he was just another voice in the kitchen.
Frey’s father was also in the radio business, spending 30 years in the St. Louis market. He did on-air work and spent time as a program director.
“It was KFUO AM, a Lutheran radio station,” Frey explained. “I’m sure that was a contributing factor to my own radio dreams. He hosted a radio show, Ask the pastor. They discussed biblical concepts, took calls to answer questions.
Her father taught her to listen and learn from her mistakes.
“He always spoke to me about having a listener-centric program,” Frey said. “There are a lot of people who have a huge ego behind the mic. He said you have to control the ego. He would tell me that, no matter how bright and brilliant a person can be if someone who Listen don’t think you’re serving her. That’s a critical mistake. My dad taught me that. Be humble.”
She said she enjoyed spending time at radio stations when her father was working.
“All of a sudden I realized that everyone’s dad doesn’t work in radio. He is a great man of faith. His work helped him refine his faith. He helped people with complicated problems. I always thought it was cool to be on the radio.
Frey observed how kindness, patience and acceptance in our society are incredibly rare among people.
“I’m a suburban white woman who drives a minivan. People think they could probably figure out who I vote for, but they’re wrong. Everyone has their own unique mind. Value comes from who we are on the inside, not from the outside.
On her show, Frey said she doesn’t call people. She doesn’t want to hear that someone is bad because of the way they wear their hair or what they wear.
“I always want to talk about substance, not surface. I don’t want them watching my show to find out how “their side” won today. I want them to listen, to stay informed. I don’t want to have twitchy cheeks, blood pressure going up. Just exhale, let things out. Most of the people listening to me are of the same opinion. They say, ‘I’m listening to your show. You are ready to have conversations.
It’s easier when all four children are at home.