For many talk show hosts, radio means being heard, not seen. But Whitney Way Thore brought a camera crew to the 95.1 studio in South End every Wednesday for six weeks.
Whitney is the star of TLC’s “My Big Fat Fabulous Life.” Between March and May she interned with “The Maney, Roy and LauRen Morning Show,” a storyline that appears during tonight’s episode of the TV show (Wednesday 9 p.m. on TLC).
The Greensboro native woke up at 2:30 a.m. to drive to Charlotte every week and the 95.1 crew had to keep its famous intern under wraps during filming.
She may be a reality TV star, but Whitney did all the normal intern activities, including bagel runs to Einstein Bros. Bagels across the street from the studio. She even participated in the Intern Talent Show.
(Sidenote: I didn’t know that’s what Intern Napoleon looked like. What a character.)
That’s not all she did during her time here though. On St. Patrick’s Day, Whitney went out on the streets of Charlotte to collect 95 kisses for a segment.
If you’ve seen “My Big Fat Fabulous Life,” you know her personality is bigger than life, which is why she fit in so well with the 95.1 crew.
The morning trio
Monday afternoon, Roy and LauRen sat on a plush, red leather couch while their co-host, Maney, stretched out on a white lounger next to Producer Victoria.
The trio is excited to be on the show, but said securing Whitney’s internship took a while due to all the agreements that had to be prepared between Beasley Media Group and TLC.
“In all honesty, there was so much behind the scenes stuff that had to be OK-ed,” Maney said. “There might be some other radio companies out there that might not allow it.”
The radio station has a five episode storyline on “My Big Fat Fabulous Life.” The hosts were miked up at 5 a.m. every morning until 11:30 a.m. and did confessional style videos each day.
“(Whitney’s crew) would quote things that I said during the day and I’d be like, ‘I said that? That’s pretty funny,’” Maney laughed.
They all loved Whitney. What’s not to love? But Whitney loved the smell of one of the 95.1 crew members the most.
“I don’t think it’s weird, but Roy always smells really good,” Whitney said.
Whitney is a Greensboro native and went to Appalachian State. In college she gained 200 pounds because of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. The same health condition that stifled her social life also propelled her into the spotlight.
Whitney’s “Fat Girl Dancing” video quickly went viral. It gave her a platform to promote self-love by overcoming societal-induced shame.
Whitney, 32, was a producer for 107.5 KZL’s Jared and Katie Morning Radio Show out of Greensboro for a few years before she left in 2014 to focus on her No Body Shame Campaign. Although she already had radio experience, Whitney said she was nervous when she interviewed with Maney, Roy and LauRen. For her, Charlotte was a much bigger market and a different audience than her previous station.
What to expect on tonight’s episode
The preview for tonight’s episode shows Whitney interviewing for the internship. Whether footage of her giving Roy a dance lesson will make the final cut, she doesn’t know. But apparently Roy has some work to do.
“He should just keep at it,” she laughed. “Just keep practicing, that’s all I’ll say.”
Whitney never knows what will make the cut. This season they shot 1,000 hours of footage and only eight or nine hours will actually make the show.
“Half the time I watch the episode and I don’t even remember this,” she said.
As for Maney, Roy and LauRen, the 9 p.m. showtime is past their normal bedtime, but they will stay up to watch their debut and will talk about it on Thursday’s show.
Even though her internship is over, the 95.1 crew said they will continue to support her career.
“We’ll still be here for Whitney,” Roy said. “When she’s ready to push into getting into the radio world, any way we can help her make that possible, as we do with any intern, we will.”
Photo: Courtesy of 95.1