Eric & Kathy win radio’s top honor

Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart

Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart

Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart, the most successful morning team in Chicago radio history, just took home their industry’s highest honor.

The top-rated stars of hot adult-contemporary WTMX FM 101.9 were named Major Market Personalities of the Year in the 2013 Marconi Radio Awards. Both were on hand to receive the award Thursday at the National Association of Broadcasters’ Radio Show in Orlando.

Calling it “a really humbling moment,” Ferguson told me by phone from the post-event celebration: “It’s nice to be able to add that piece of hardware to the office at home. It’ll be something cool to look at every day when I go in there and ask myself, ‘Why am I getting up at 4 tomorrow morning?'”

It was a doubly special night for the Mix, which also was honored as Adult Contemporary Station of the Year.

After 18 years of undiminished popularity, outstanding performance and phenomenal success in raising funds for children’s hospitals, Ferguson and Hart show no sign of losing touch with their audience — or taking their good fortune for granted. “I can’t believe we’re getting an award for working in this incredible industry,” Hart told the audience. “We’re on the radio talking to people, having fun every day. It’s the greatest job in the world!”

Cheering them on was Greg Solk, senior vice president of programming for Hubbard Radio. “I am so thrilled for Eric and Kathy, you can’t imagine,” he said. “After all of the great work they’ve done and all the money they’ve raised [for charity], justice was served tonight. They really deserved it.”

Also honored with the Marconi Award for Legendary Station was WBBM AM 780. Dan Mason, president of CBS Radio, accepted on behalf of Chicago’s all-news powerhouse.

Steve Harvey, whose morning show for Premiere Radio Networks airs on Clear Channel urban adult-contemporary WVAZ FM 102.7, was named Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year.

Named for inventor Guglielmo Marconi, the awards were established in 1989 and recognize stations and individuals for excellence and performance in 21 categories.