By: Riley Nielsen

“If I wasn’t in radio, I’d be jobless” said Patrick Essex also known as Dangerboy from 97.1zht-The Morning Zoo.  Essex and I met for lunch at Hoppers Bar and Grill in Cottonwood Heights on Friday March 18. I arrived stressed out because of how late I was. Not five minutes, not 10 minutes but 25 minutes late.

Sitting down in front of Essex was a relief, especially because of his easy-going, happy and patient demeanor. He was excited to help in any way he could. His cheerful attitude and upbeat tone of voice synced well with me. We hit it off immediately. I began by asking the simple questions about his background.

Essex is a Utah native who attended Taylorsville High School. He is happily married with a son and two dogs to keep them company. His family is everything to him. We shared a love for family and ‘big mean-looking’ dogs. Essex spoke in a very confident voice that projected nicely his fun and energetic personality.

I was having a good time from the beginning. His unique voice mixed with a clear and articulate way of speaking drew me in close to his stories. Although he preferred to speak softly because of his unique voice, he is reserved in public. He expressed his “keep to myself” personality is who he is really, he enjoys his privacy.

I noticed how polite and welcoming he was to the server each time she came to the table. Essex ordered a juicy burger and I was persuaded to order their famous fish n’ chips. I had great food and great company. I was curious to know a lot about this Dangerboy character I hear every morning. He is the same person both on and off the air.

I asked him how he got into radio, his answer was short and sweet, “I accidentally got into it,” Essex said. I didn’t know how that was possible. He then explained how he had to write a paper in school about what his hopes and dreams were. “I had none” he told me, “but I always loved radio, so I went with that.” You can say it was a self-fulfilling prophecy.

His senior year in high school he went to a radio station to look for a job. He started out at the bottom of the line but stayed there ever since. He never left that radio station that was then 94.9 and is now 97.1zht. His description of what it’s really like to be in radio surprised me. “It’s not all that it’s talked up to be” Essex said. It’s full of long hours and difficult situations.

He did get a laugh about the homeless people that would come into the building and on the floor because the door didn’t ever lock. I did hear things that I didn’t know, but sort of expected from this industry. Let’s just say there is a ‘dark side’ of radio.

Essex couldn’t be happier at The Morning Zoo.  He lit up when he talked about how perfect it is for him. I didn’t hear one negative thing about his co-workers, boss, or anything. He believes radio is meant for him “I would be unemployed if I got fired today, I wouldn’t know where to go or what to do” said Essex.

I had to know his favorite and least favorite part about radio. I remember distinctly how he smiled about how great it is to see the positive impact he has on people. He gave some examples of people who recognize his voice and express the happiness and strength he has given them because of the show.

Essex seemed so content with the idea of him changing someone’s life even if it’s just a few hours in the morning. The biggest struggle for him is doing the ad lib radio ads they are required to have for their sponsors. Not much to say about what is the most difficult part about his job. Essex loves every bit of it.  It’s safe to say I walked away from that interview a little less-stressed and a little bit happier. I and many others agree that Patrick Essex is meant for radio.