By Jeff Falk
Sue Campbell and Denny Logan are two intelligent, well-spoken individuals who have developed a conversational rapport over the years. But the WINK-104 Wake-Up Show is more than just that.
It is a dynamic of the interaction between a nurturing older-sister figure and a somewhat care-free single male 20 years her younger. It is also the result of complimentary personalities, both extraverted, but to varying degrees.
But more than anything the Logan-Campbell relationship is real and believable and relate-able. It’s the human condition broadcast over the airwaves every day, and that’s what makes it work.
“I don’t think either of us puts up false pretenses,” says Campbell. “We are who we are. Denny likes horse racing. He likes to gamble. He doesn’t like to do what he doesn’t like to do. We aren’t acting. We’re genuine. I try to reflect my values on the air.”
“We talk about life,” adds Logan. “We’re living life out loud. We talk about things you’re going to talk about with your friends. We just have an audience. It’s things people can relate to.”
And if the same things are happening in Denny’s and Sue’s lives, it somehow makes us feel better about ours.
The WINK-104 Wake-Up Show is the Harrisburg area’s longest running morning radio show. For 17 years, from 5:30 to 10 a.m. every week day, Campbell and Logan have been bringing us our news, sports, weather and traffic reports, all intertwined with contests, pop music and their own special brand of opinionated, witty banter.
At its most basic level, it is information presented in an entertaining way.
“We can say anything to each other,” says Logan. “I tease her about a lot of things. There is nothing that is off limits. We’ve known each other for 25 years. It’s like getting to know your cell mate.
“I talk way more than her,” continues Logan, “and sometimes I’ll realize it afterwards. It’s tough being the dynamic one.”
“I’ve spent more time here with Denny than I do with my husband,” says Campbell. “We know a lot about each other, on and off the air. He’s my friend. He’s my co-worker. He’s my brother. He knows me. He knows my weaknesses. He knows my strengths.
“There is something to that (the team aspect),” Campbell continues. “When one of us isn’t here, we don’t like it. We like it together. We get that the sum is just better than the total of the parts.”
Studies have shown that women make up 71 percent of the WINK-104 Wake-Up Show’s audience. And while each is very much in tune with that fact, both Logan and Campbell take the on-air approach of addressing each other as much as their audience.
The natural conflict that exists between men and women simply makes the show more enjoyable.
“It’s perspective,” says Logan. “I think women have a natural inclination to be maternal, and I think women can relate me to the men in their lives. We’re nobodies. But we’re interesting enough. I’m extraverted and Sue is too, to a degree. I’m likeable enough. If not, you can’t be on the air.
“Sue and I are talking to each other, and we want everyone to listen,” adds Logan. “We try to keep it to what women want. And we hope men are listening too.”
“It’s a different perspective thing,” says Campbell. “He’s a single guy. I’m a married woman with two grown kids. There are some things I can share about my life on air, but I don’t want to embarrass people. We get a feel for what our listeners want to hear, what’s interesting to them. Our target audience is women, 25-54, but we also want to appeal to men. Hopefully we appeal to everyone.
“We definitely think about our audience,” Campbell adds. “But we don’t sit here and think about people listening. We trust ourselves. We kind of edit ourselves as we go. I hope we can, as a team, continue to be part of people’s mornings, make them interesting. It’s different every day. There’s always something new. People have an invitation to our breakfast table.”
For 14 years, beginning in the late 1980s, Campbell was the co-host of WINK-104’s Wake-Up Show with Tim Burns. With no real formal radio training, Campbell created a ‘joke lady’ character, and when Burns retired, Logan was brought on.
Logan had been working WINK-104’s overnight shift at the time. He always had the voice and personality for radio, but never really knew in which direction his life would lead him.
“We just got lucky,” said Logan. “It’s about being at the right place at the right time. I never said, ‘no’, and I was always nice to people. It found me. We were lucky we had already known each other. We weren’t put together.
“Any professional person will tell you, ‘You better perform,’” added Logan. “Nobody wants to hear ‘Woe is me.’ Part of what we worry about is ‘Do people think it’s entertaining?’. It doesn’t have to be funny. Not everything is a joke. But we don’t want to come across as trying too hard.”
“I never worked alone in the industry,” said Campbell. “My story is not usual. I got lucky and fell into it. Tim (Burns) was my mentor. I was the sidekick starting out. Now we’re co-hosts. But Denny does like to get the last word in.
“I think that’s what makes good morning teams, when you have a certain understanding,” Campbell added. “We bust on each other like bros in a bar. But we don’t take it to the next day, or the next hour.”
There are times when Campbell serves as Logan’s voice of reason, when she needs to reel him in just a bit. Not only is it important to like what you do, but also to like who you’re doing it with.
“It’s just a conversation,” said Logan. “We talk to each other off the air just as we do on it. It’s better having someone to talk to. It works because it’s genuine. I know her. I know her husband. I know her family. I just feel I fit in.”
“There’s nothing that makes my day more than when someone says, ‘I love your show,’” said Campbell. “ ‘We listen every morning.’ That’s gold. That makes getting up every morning at three o’clock worth it. I love it.”
Individually, both Logan and Campbell expressed a feeling of gratitude for the success they have enjoyed. And each seems to realize that they couldn’t do it without the other.
“Every show can always improve,” said Campbell. “We’re not perfect. Where’s it going? I hope we have a few more years. I can’t see myself doing the show with anyone else. My life isn’t saying I need to go yet. I’m still enjoying it.”
“I like what it is,” said Logan. “We get to be who we are. We don’t have to fake things. I was the class clown in high school. But it’s not about the attention.
“It’s a series. It’s serial,” concluded Logan. “You can join in. It’s very talk-show-esque. Each show is different from the last. I don’t know where it’s going. I don’t think it’s going anywhere.”
For it is the evolution which keeps it fresh.