By Avery Walts | Photos by Tony Bennett
All photos were taken at Hidden Hill, 101 Utica-Charlestown Road in Utica • 812.280.0347; 812.282.0524 • www.hiddenhillnursery.com
Alex Clark may not be a pop princess like her idol Taylor Swift, but her listeners on 99.7 WDJX-FM know her as the self-proclaimed “Chicken Nugget Princess,” and much like a royal’s lineage, Alex said her career seemed destined.
After an ex-boyfriend told her she was insane for predicting her future, Alex followed her gut to the spotlight. “Six months later, I started interning in radio. I always thought I was going to do something big, I just didn’t know what media or form it was going to be in,” she said. “It makes sense to me now that it’s radio.”
Alex, 22, grew up and lives in Southern Indiana and attended Floyd Central High School where she studied radio/TV and journalism. After a brief internship at 102.3 WXMA-FM during a semester at Ivy Tech Community College, she was encouraged to go on an audition to be a traffic reporter on The Ben Davis and Kelly K Show on 99.7 DJX. The whole idea sounded far-fetched. “I had no experience, I had been an intern for a month, and I didn’t even finish. I didn’t go to school for radio. I didn’t know anything,” Alex said. She landed the gig anyway and quickly worked her way up to where she is now: the full-time traffic reporter and “sidekick” on the morning show, as well as 99.7’s midday host 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays.
Kelly K describes Alex as unpredictable, fun, crazy and “like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get with her.” That’s exactly why people like her, Kelly added.
Lynda Lambert, co-host of The Max Morning Show on 102.3 – where Alex had her first internship – saw something special in the young woman from the start. “It was evident that she had a certain quality, a spark, something I really couldn’t define at the time,” Lambert said. “I was so intrigued by her that we had to hire her.”
Alex’s candor is something she strives to convey on air, a trait that mimics her off-air personality as well. “I’ve had a lot of embarrassing things happen to me on air, but I don’t mind it because it sets me apart that I’m so real with my listeners and I’m so honest,” Alex said. “I have cried on the air, I have peed my pants on the air. I don’t hide anything about who I am.”
Staying hidden, or at least anonymous, in public is history. Even washing her hands in a movie theater bathroom has become a welcomed opportunity for fan interaction. “Sometimes if I’m out in public, someone will come up and ask me something that’s really honest and I always answer them really politely because I don’t mind,” she says. “It makes you more hyper-aware when you’re in public, and that’s changed for me. … My favorite part of the morning show is the intricate role I’m playing in people’s live that I don’t know about,” she said. “To know that in some way, shape or form I’m making them happy and act like a friend to them in a way makes it really worth it for me.”
One of the perks of Alex’s job is meeting celebrities, particularly ones she enjoys and admires, like Taylor Swift, whom she’s met several times. After their last meeting earlier this year, Taylor mailed a handwritten card to Alex, which prompted weeks of excitement (as evidenced by the radio host’s Twitter account) and garnered a bit of national attention. “(Taylor is) inspiring to me because she’s always thinking forward, she’s always a step ahead of everybody else and that’s why she succeeds in her job,” Alex said. “Obviously that’s something that I want to try to do.”
While she enjoys her role with 99.7, Alex has her eye on the Top 20 southern radio market and one day hopes to host her own show. Thanks to her mentors, those dreams are more than possible. “I owe Ben Davis and Kelly K the biggest thank you of all because they believed in an intern with one month experience to bring content and (the ability to relate) to their listeners on a show that’s been the number one morning show for years.”
Jan and Bob HIll.