By Emily Hamann
The Bellingham Business Journal
Mandy Richards’ alarm goes off at 3:45 a.m. That’s when she has to get up to co-host “Dave and Mandy in the Morning” on KAFE 104.1.
“It’s kind of a social-life killer,” she said. It’s all worth it, though.
“I absolutely love my job,” she said. “But it doesn’t feel like a job.”
Instead, co-hosting the show feels just like getting coffee and chatting with her friends every morning.
That fun didn’t come without hard work, though.
Richards had her eye as on-air host in that morning time slot ever since she caught the radio bug while attending Western Washington University.
She did an internship at Cascade Radio Group (of which KAFE 104.1 is a part), then applied for a part-time job there when one opened. For eight years she worked her way up, working a full-time job, part time at the radio station, all while earning a master’s degree in public administration.
“It was a lot of late nights and early mornings,” she said, “and it’s something I’m really proud of.”
Five years ago the morning co-host spot opened up, and the time and energy she put in at the radio station paid off.
“It’s always been really my dream job to be on the radio,” she said.
Now she uses her time both on and off the air to help community causes.
On the morning show, she’s able to highlight local nonprofits, businesses and upcoming fundraisers and events
“It’s a great opportunity to be sort of a conduit between nonprofits or businesses [and listeners],” she said. She also MCs at nonprofit events.
“Both personally and professionally, I’m lucky enough to have the opportunity to give back to the community,” she said.
She is the philanthropy chair at the Whatcom Young Professionals, and is on the board at the Max Higbee Center and Future Northwest, in addition to supporting a number of other local causes.
“I think that if you have a vision for the community you live in, you need to play an active role in making that happen.”