From Broadcasting to Podcasting

Sadie Young had to wonder: Is this what a midlife crisis feels like?

She’d just turned 40, a time when many question their lives. But there were other signs that, after 16 years in radio, it just didn’t seem fun to her anymore.

After her morning show co-host, Scott James, left the station last July, she felt unfulfilled. Lonely, even. She remembers laughing every day with him on their Big 97.9 show, “Scott and Sadie in the Morning,” even if that 4 a.m. alarm always hurt because she was never a morning person.

James is conservative, buttoned-down and believes in never taking a day off. Young isn’t any of those things. He would roll his eyes at her stupid humor, like the videos she loves of people getting hit instead of a piñata, but then he’d laugh with her. They were best friends.

And then, after spending over a decade together on one of the most popular morning shows in Northern Colorado, James was gone.

Young would go into work, in the afternoon at that point, and record her show. She’d look around the empty studio and wish she could laugh again.

“I was just really sad,” she says.

An unlikely, even unwelcome, career

Growing up, Young didn’t know what she wanted to do, but she knew for sure it wasn’t radio.

Her mother worked for K99, Northern Colorado’s New Country station in Windsor, for decades. She thought Young would be a good co-host with James, and he agreed, but Young wanted no part of it.

She was a stay-at-home mom and didn’t like how much her own mother poured herself into radio for so little money. But in 2006, when Big 97.9 said Young could do the morning show and take care of her kids the rest of the day, she thought about how much money she spent at Target and considered the job a way to pay for the habit.

She wound up loving it, and after some time, she and James clicked. When he took a two-week break to campaign for the Weld County Commission, the station brought in Shawn Patrick, host of the afternoon show on 98.5 KYGO, as a fill-in. The two became fast friends.

After James left for good, Young asked the station to bring Patrick back. She was desperate for some interaction in the studio, instead of just saying Luke Bryan’s name 100 times a day.

No, they said, and that’s when she realized her sadness wasn’t just a midlife crisis. Then she surprised not only her listeners but herself.

“OK,” she said. “Goodbye.”

Unsticking herself

Young catches herself many times when she talks about her decision to leave the station. She is outspoken and brash, two traits that are useful in radio but not when you’re discussing your former workplace. She knows the point isn’t to be a bitter ex-employee.

“I hit a ceiling creatively,” Young says.

Ryan, her husband, has a good job, and she can stop herself from going to Target, at least to a responsible degree. Still, the money was nice.

But did Ryan want to keep putting up with the side effects of his wife working a job she was no longer happy doing? Definitely not.

“I was so snappy at home,” Young says. “My headspace was not good.”

When she thought about staying, she’d think of her kids. Sophie is a freshman at Colorado State University, and Cooper is a high school sophomore. Murphy, her youngest, is in first grade.

“I didn’t want them to ever feel stuck,” Young says. “You think you can’t leave. Yes, you can.”

A podcast from her heart

Young is finally laughing at work again.

Work for her now means creating a podcast with Patrick. It’s basically morning show banter, the kind of thing she’s good at, for half an hour five days a week. It’s called “Sadie And Shawn Have No Friends.”

They started it at the end of January, and their first episode featured James as a guest. There are things Young says on the podcast that she couldn’t say on the radio, some of which are a result of her potty mouth. Most of it is just her being herself again.

“It’s been so fun,” Young says.

What are the parameters of the show? Well, it’s “whatever the (bleep) we want to do,” Young says. “If we have a fun idea, we’re gonna do it.”

Though the podcast was slow to get going, it’s exceeded 11,000 downloads and averages 1,000 downloads per week. Young isn’t worried about the show doing well. It’s given her what she needs. At 40, she wasn’t looking for an overnight success. She just needed a change.

“It’s freeing to me,” Young says. “Where you find happiness is where you find success.”