Women’s history: Seven decades of wisdom from 24 locals we admire


The career of radio co-host Jane Foy includes work in a whole host of media, from television to radio, newswriting to production. Photo: Virginia Hamrick

The career of radio co-host Jane Foy includes work in a whole host of media, from television to radio, newswriting to production. Photo: Virginia Hamrick

Radio active

Talk show host Jane Foy on climbing the ladder of success

Despite her genuine warmth, a face made for television, and stylish preppy attire, Jane Foy, 66, is an old school radio gal. “Everything that I’ve done, you can’t do any longer. I was in the right place at the right time,” said the local on-air personality.

Over the past 45 years, Foy has built a media career that includes work in television, radio, newswriting, editing, and production—leading to her current radio gig as co-host and producer of WINA’s “Morning News” show in Charlottesville.

Foy, along with co-host Rick Daniels, spends weekday mornings interviewing guests from all facets of the community, interspersed with news and weather, and riffing on pop culture—an area where Foy employs comic timing (culled from her theater background) by cracking wise over celebs like Justin Beiber, recalling “Saturday Night Live” skits, and feigning admiration for “Sharknado.”

Being a consummate pro and a woman are two of the qualities that Foy credits for her early breaks in the business. In her 20s, the Pittsburgh native was working in television, behind the camera in public relations and editing, when she “got a call” from the local NBC affiliate that changed the course of her career.

“KDKA was a big deal,” said Foy. “The assistant news director called and said, I quote, ‘We have to get a broad in the newsroom or the FCC is gonna come down on us with both feet.’ Now how’s that for a ringing endorsement of your talent?”

Foy’s talent was propelled by her determination to take on whatever they threw her way, and by navigating what was, at the time, a very male-dominated business. “The anchorman was as gruff as they come,” she said. “No one was nice. There was nothing like ‘politically correct.’ I grew up in the theater so it didn’t matter what vocabulary they threw at me, I’d heard it before.”

It was during this decade of her career that she shaped her passion and skill in news reporting. “I got to edit film for news, and then I became a news writer. I ate it up like potato chips. I loved it.”

When a radio producer asked Foy’s advice about a current talk show host, Foy called it “yawn radio” and ended up taking over the job. “When you’re that age, you are a smart aleck!” she exclaimed. So, at 24, Foy became the first female AM radio talk show host in Pittsburgh.

Fast forward to 1999, when Foy finds herself in Charlottesville through a series of career moves by her husband (a restaurant consultant), and after taking on some freelance news work at Charlottesville Radio Group, serendipity strikes again. When a lightning storm cut off computer access for almost a week, Foy sat in with the morning show team to do the news and an unscripted rapport kicked in. They expanded the show, and with a few changes, including the sad loss of her original co-host Dick Mountjoy, Foy is still delivering opinions, jokes, and insight to the Charlottesville community between 6 and 10am each weekday.

And she’s still eating it up like potato chips. “This isn’t like work,” said Foy. “I mean, don’t tell them that. [She pointed outside the studio.] I have a wonderful time.”

Or maybe it’s carrots now, which Foy uses to maintain a healthy working voice. “No harsh chemicals,” she said. “And I chew carrots. It’s what opera singers used to do. Gargle with salt water and eat carrots.” Old school secrets of success.—T.K.

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