Natalie Egenolf announced her departure from 97.5 the Fanatic a few weeks ago. She had been at the station since 2016 and became a full-time contributor to The Mike Missanelli Show in 2018, working as an update anchor and secondary host.
She didn’t provide much information in a farewell Twitter post, but noted that the decision was her own, which was fascinating, because people very rarely leave P.M. drive on their own accord. The 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. shift is highly sought in the radio industry, along with A.M. drive, (6 a.m. to 10 a.m.), and it’s not common to see personalities leave those time slots once they make it there.
But she did, and she explained the rationale and dropped some hints about her new job on her Lipstick League podcast, which is co-hosted by Nicole Michalik:
“It’s like the next wave, I think, of sports media, and where the sports media landscape is going. I made a decision to kind of get in with this company and their new endeavor at kind of the ground floor. I’m going to have a lot of creative autonomy, which is such a breath of fresh air, and work with people who said that they wanted my vision, which was a really refreshing thing to hear. Once I can talk about it it’s going to be amazing. I’m really excited and can’t wait to share with everybody some of the stuff I’ll be doing, and they’ll be able to see it.”
“Honestly, this might sound super… (pause) I don’t know how it’s going to sound, but getting paid for my brain is a really good feeling. This is something I can talk about later, but when you’re in an industry that’s very male dominated, and somebody decides you’re attractive, right? – they want to put you in certain roles because they value you based on that. And sometimes it never has to actually do with your abilities or your talent or your capacity, and I think it’s just the way that things have been for a really long time. I feel like in 2020, in making my decision to leave, it kind of changed the landscape of a lot of things, and empowered people, and I feel like I wanted… (pauses) and I want to be very, very transparent and reiterate that it has absolutely nothing to do with Mike and Tyrone. I never, ever want that to get misconstrued because they were two of the most incredible human beings to me during my time on the show.”
“Getting paid for my brain is a really good feeling.”
Pretty blunt statement right there. It’s not too hard to fill in the blanks.
Like I said, it’s rare for somebody to walk away from P.M. drive on their own. But Natalie was an update anchor/co-host and not the primary person on the show, so if you’re in a specifically peripheral role and maybe you’re not getting paid what you think you’re worth, or your ideas or input aren’t being considered, then it would make sense to move on to other things. It used to be the case that sports radio hosts would be swimming in cash, but now only a handful of big local names (Angelo, Mike), still make those high six-figure salaries, so it’s not inconceivable to consider that the grass may actually be greener on the outside.