Brainerd Area News

Tess Taylor, The Kid Who Wanted To Be On The Radio


“So, Tess Taylor, what do you want to be when you grow up?”

“You want to be on the radio?”

“Wouldn’t you rather……………………………?”


“Have you considered…………………………..?”

“Not your thing?”

“How about………………………………………….?”

“Well, OK then!  Radio it is and radio it will be.”

Tess, the aspiring radio announcer, was a student at Woodland Junior High in Duluth when the accompanying photo was taken.  (Ken Thomas, her broadcast partner had already spent 5 years on the JJY Wake Up Show when Tess sat for this picture in 1989.)

Yes, Tess had set her sights on a radio career at a very young age.  She listened to those Duluth DJs and she sang along with those 80s hit makers like Duran Duran, Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna and Michael Jackson.  There she was with her faux microphone in hand (a Clicker Butane Curling Iron) bellering out her favorite 80s songs.  She listened at home and she listened while working her first job, serving up Walking Tacos and pop and candy at The Park Point Beach House concession stand.  Fast times and fun days at Duluth East High and 4 years at UMD (go Bulldogs) did nothing to dissuade Tess from pursuing her radio dream. Tess took her communication degree and minors in sociology and criminology and excepted a job working overnights on KTCO Country.

Hey, it was a beginning.  And you never know when that criminology background will come in handy considering some of the characters you’re bound to end up working with in radio.  She moved on to Duluth’s KISS 92.1 before motoring on down 1-35 for a stint at Radio Disney in the Twin Cities.

It was October of 2004 when Tess was hired on as Ken’s partner on our Wake Up Show.  15 years later, she’s still part of the pair that so many us wake up with each and every weekday.

Of course, a new challenge is usually a good thing. And, when the opening occurred, Tess seemed a natural choice to take over our “All 80s Saturday Night Show”.  The girl who, once upon a time, would serenade her family with one or two (too many) 80s tunes with her Clicker Butane Curling Iron in hand, now invites you to join her for some shared nostalgia every Saturday night. Tune in at 106.7 or stream it on line at

She’s our Tess.  She’s still part of the “Morning Mess”. And now, you’ll hear her every Saturday night serving up the music she grew up with.

Check out our WJJY All 80s Saturday Night Facebook page.