Job: Television & Radio Host
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
McKinzie and I were introduced through my friend from college and her cousin, Jack. I could tell what she did for a living immediately, as the first half of our conversation consisted of her asking me about myself, instead of the other way around! McKinzie had no idea that her tour of the newsroom when she was 11 would be the start of her journalism career, but more than two decades later, she has taken the radio and television world by storm. Whether she is jetting off somewhere to host a show or film a commercial, working the red carpet to interview Miley Cyrus or Fergie, or staying at home with her daughter Lucy, McKinzie doesn't waste a minute and is doing what she loves.
Can you give us a brief “pitch” on yourself?
My name is McKinzie Roth and I am proud to say that I’m from Carmel, Indiana. I started my career in radio and television, and am currently in Indianapolis but also work out all over the country and travel frequently.
What are you currently doing and how did you get there?
So right now is an exciting time for me in my career because I just finished up
broadcasting for an NBC affiliate out in Portland, Oregon, KGW 8 News, and I was
out there for four years. I loved every second of it, but it was time to go because I
wanted a little more freedom to take on some other projects. I decided to move on in November of 2018, so I’m back in Indy now, where I am hosting a morning radio show on Indy’s RadioNOW 100.9 and Houston’s RadioNOW 92.1. I also am keeping up with my television hosting and spokesmodel work.
What made you want to go into this field?
This is a cool story. When I was in fifth grade, my dad won an opportunity to go to a local news station in Indianapolis for a silent auction. I got all dressed up and he took me to the news station where I got to see the anchor do a live broadcast, met the anchors, and read the news off the teleprompter. At that moment, I knew that was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I was 11 and I got to keep the script, which I still have. Moving forward, I knew that I wanted to carry on with this story-telling career path and entertain people, so I went on to do internships in the summer where I was waking up at 4 AM as my friends were all hanging out and basically laying by the pool. It was not glamorous at all times, but it is truly about the drive. It’s also
all about the connections you make in this industry, which is how I got my first
How did you get your start in your first role?
Well, now you know how I got my start, or rather how I found my love, for television. I got my start in radio by entering a competition that was one of those big-time auditions where I had to wait in a 200-person line. I had to read some lines and they got to know my personality a bit, but I actually ended up winning and went on to do some weekend shows, which is not a very popular time slot typically, but it was how I got to hone my skill set. I slowly worked my way up for two years, then I went on to have my own show daily, and was fortunate enough to have a morning show in Indianapolis while being a television correspondent as well. Later, I had my own afternoon show that got picked up in Atlanta and D.C. I got the call from Portland, OR, after they heard my show, so I went out there to host a country morning show on 98.7 The Bull. I started working for NBC out there as well, so my schedule was crazy while I was out west. I would get up at 3 AM, do my radio show from 5 A.M. to 10 A.M., then go to meetings. Then I would do television from 11 A.M. to 3 P.M. or 4 P.M., pick up my daughter, and be in bed at 8:30 P.M., only to get up and do it all again. I did that for three years and realized I couldn’t go on the air exhausted all the time anymore, so I had to drop something. I ended up choosing television over radio because I couldn’t be “zombie woman” anymore. You have to find that life balance. It is so important. It gets to a point where you have to have something other than work.
Can you talk more about that? What is it like juggling your work time vs. family time?
I have my daughter Lucy, who is the love of my life. She enjoys coming on television or
the radio with me, but if she sees me on TV, she’s like “No big deal, that’s just mom”. I love that. It is definitely hard but it’s a juggling act. I actually talk about this a lot with the celebrities I interview, and my conversation with Fergie comes to mind. We talked about mom-guilt because when you have a child, you can’t be half present. When you’re at work, you feel guilty, and then when you’re at home, you feel guilty. It is really about finding that balance and just doing the best that you can. I think Lucy seeing my hard work ethic will help shape her for the future. The truth is that no one has it one hundred percent together. If you see someone who looks like they do, they are scrambling on the inside just like you, I guarantee it.
What do you and Lucy enjoy doing outside of work?
So much. We have so much fun together. We love to travel or simply have dance parties at home. Lucy also likes books, so we go to the library a lot, which I’m all about. She’s just a girls’ girl. She loves to shop and I love fashion, so we are a good pair. She helps me pick out TV looks or award show styles. I have done the Grammy’s, the Country Music shows, and several other really cool carpets, but what always gets me are the “swag rooms”. Celebs get trips to Fiji and other luxury swag items. That world is a whole different level.
What would you say to someone looking to get into your field?
I would say go for it, prepare yourself, and have a thick skin because it is highly
competitive. People criticize you and you cannot pay attention. There are always people on the sidelines who know you the least that have the most to say. People can be cruel, mostly because they’re bored. Hold your own, have the confidence, and here’s the thing: you are equipped as you are; the rest you can learn. Know you have the natural gift and the rest you can learn. Don’t freak out right away. Just breathe and get through one thing at a time. You have to be fearless and take the risk. Now’s the
Can you talk a little bit about the hardships that you’ve experienced throughout your
I always say rejection is redirection. If you think of rejection in this way, you are
just being redirected to your right path and where you’re supposed to go. I remember wanting a show so badly. I went to four or five auditions and I thought I could not have done any better, but I didn’t get the gig. Sometimes you just have to realize that role was not meant for you. I didn’t realize it until later, but that show was really not a good fit for me. Everybody has hardships, but a real struggle currently is just getting up at 3 A.M. People don’t realize the toll it takes on you physically and mentally. Juggling jobs and being a single mom, it’s vital to take care of myself. You need to take care of yourself; get your sleep, eat well, work out, so you can thrive in all aspects of your life.
Who inspires you?
Oprah. The Big O. I read her book which was a game-changer for me, What I Know For Sure. Her job turned into a life purpose. Her mindset is incredible; it's really about discovering what you’re here to do. Why are you here? We allow fear to take over (I’m not good enough, I’m scared of blank). I just adore Oprah. I was in Chicago for someone’s wedding and I went down to the spa to get a quick manicure and pedicure and guess who is down there? Not Oprah but the next best thing - Oprah’s man! I kept looking at him, like, who is that man who looks so familiar? Her show was still on at the time. I had to introduce myself and Stedman Graham was the sweetest man. I had a full conversation with him over pedicures, so I was one degree away from Oprah.
Who is the most intriguing person you have interviewed?
There have been so many cool people, but speaking to Miley Cyrus has always
been a favorite of mine. She is so young, but speaking to her is like speaking to
someone in their 40s because she is such an old soul. I met her backstage and interviewed her while I was pregnant with Lucy and she told me I should name her Frankie. She’s just so cool and down to earth. I will also say I am obsessed with country artists. I didn’t even like country music before I was asked to do the country morning show. Then, when I learned about country music and met the Carrie Underwoods, Garth Brooks, and the Luke Bryans of the world, I was so impressed with how down-to-earth the fans are, the artists are, and how supportive they are of each other. It’s like another world. I am a huge fan of country artists in general.
What does being a young professional mean to you?
Well, look at it this way. Since we are in the days of Insta-famous people and influencers, everyone sees people living large, and the majority of it all is fake. The problem is people don’t realize the hard work and effort that goes into having that success. For example, Lady Gaga was in the industry for a long time before she made it big. People go into their working years thinking that this will happen quickly for them, but it takes a grind and strong work ethic. Everyone would be at that level if it was easy, right? I personally love to study the habits of highly successful people, and I have found the commonalities to be waking up early, incorporating exercise, and being strategic with your time. Time is priceless. The way you spend your time and energy is critical. You should work on the most important tasks right at the beginning of the day when you are most focused. Don’t be accessible to everyone at all times, which is a big one for me. I used to answer every email and every text right away, but that is not sustainable. Protect your energy and protect your time. As a young professional, you have to grind and work really hard, but keep your focus clear. Don’t listen to people on the sidelines. A lot of people project onto you their unfulfilled potential because they didn’t make it. Why take advice from someone who has never been where you want to go?
The YoPro Know's Takeaways:
- No one has it 100% together. If you see someone who looks like they do, they are scrambling on the inside just like you
- There are always people on the sidelines who know you the least that have the most to say
- Rejection just means being redirected to your right path and where you’re supposed to go
- Don’t be accessible to everyone at all times
- Protect your energy and protect your time
- Why take advice from someone who has never been where you want to go?