NEWS- Foy story: No 'yawn radio' when Jane's on

Jane Foy.

If Jane Foy ruled the world, all broadcasters would take singing lessons in journalism school so they'd know how to breathe, and everyone would eat properly in public.

"I was going to be Sarah Bernhardt," says the co-host of WINA's Morning Show. Her first love was acting, and starting in the third grade she attended the Pittsburgh Playhouse, continuing after high school as a full-time student there for two years. So the woman knows how to breathe.

"One of the things that distresses me about young people [on the air] is they have no voice and speech training, or elocution," she says. "Some sound like they're sucking on a helium balloon."

She's also bothered when manners are lacking, particularly at the dinner table, and has taught etiquette courses for children and UVA students. "Sometimes the difference between you getting the job or me getting it is knowing how to eat in public," she declares. "That could be the deal breaker. 

"To me, etiquette is a mode of behavior that makes other people comfortable in your presence," she continues. "It has nothing to do with teacups."

Her path from drama queen to manners maven/morning radio host started at television stations in Pittsburgh, where she did film editing, then public relations and promotions.

The general manager of a local radio station called her and said he had some doubts about his evening radio show, which Foy dubbed "Yawn Radio."

"I told him the format was boring," she says. "He said, 'Could you do a better job?' I said, 'Anyone could.'"

Thus began her life in front of the mic. While the host of "Yawn Radio" went on vacation, Foy sat in for him, running up the phone bill tracking down former Pittsburgh Pirates and giving away tickets she didn't actually have. 

That got her a job offer on FM ("The music was better"), and she became the Z Lady on WPEZ. At the same time she was doing the rock 'n roll news on FM, she also did AM news, an experience she calls "schziophrenic."

Foy headed to Charlottesville via Middleburg, lured by her husband who told her there were more people than horses in Charlottesville. And since 2001, she's been up at 4:15am to host the Morning Show. 

It's been an emotional year. Her mother died in October 2007. And her former co-host on the Morning Show, legendary radioman Dick Mountjoy, passed away in March.

"He was my partner," she says. "You sit in that studio five days a week for four hours."

Foy herself is a 25-year cancer survivor. "It was over after an operation, and I never dwelled on it," she reflects. "When Dick was diagnosed, it was a whole other range of cancer to watch– so creepy, so insidious, a little bit at a time."

She describes a magical night when she and Mountjoy co-chaired the American Cancer Society's Pavilion Ball after his larynx had been removed. "That was one of Dick's happier nights," she says. Wearing a tux, Mountjoy danced with every woman and "walked around like Frank Sinatra," she says. Foy continues to volunteer there in "Dick's memory."

 Occasionally, people try to peg Foy ideologically. "Some think I'm way too liberal– or way too conservative. I'm very liberal in certain areas, but on child rearing, etiquette, and good manners, I'm bordering on Victorian."

On the air, "I really believe no one gives a rip about my opinions," she says. "I think they appreciate my learning about their topic so I can ask questions."

Foy talked to the Hook on the morning Albemarle High student Sydney Aichs died on U.S. 29 north, and she cuts to the chase about life. "You make your own fun," she says she learned from her mother, who embraced that motto even when she was dying. "What a lot of people don't realize is they could be Dick Mountjoy or that 16-year-old girl."

Jane Foy is making her own fun.

Age: 60

Why here? My husband's business brought us here.

What's worst about living here? Cost of living vs. parsimonious wages

Favorite hangout? Any one of the three county beach parks

Most overrated virtue? Political correctness

People would be surprised to know: I am not a college graduate.

What would you change about yourself? Nothing that a good plastic surgeon couldn't fix

Proudest accomplishment? Helping to develop our WINA Morning Show into what I believe is a community service

People find most annoying about you: I force my colleagues to look at email slide shows of my family even if they have to be on the air in 60 seconds. 

Whom do you admire?  Our guests on the Morning Show

Favorite book? The Joy of Cooking

Subject that causes you to rant? Consultants and the U.S. airline industry

Biggest 21st-century thrill? That I'm in it

Biggest 21st-century creep out? Bad manners and way too much information about way too many people

What do you drive? A Toyota something

In your car CD player right now: Pink Martini's Hey Eugene. Bizarre.

Next journey? Exotic Columbus, Ohio– a sister's birthday

Most trouble you've ever gotten in? Making a huge mistake doing my own income taxes when I was self-employed

Regret: Not being able to take my mother to Italy

Favorite comfort food: Meatloaf, my mother's recipe

Always in your refrigerator: Far more condiments than any two people need

Must-see TV: News

Describe a perfect day. It would involve Pat and Punkin: taking a walk, having a swim, reading and having a fabulous dinner while watching a sunset.

Walter Mitty fantasy: Taking my entire family to Italy

Who'd play you in the movie? Ashley Judd to Meryl Streep to Bette Davis

Most embarrassing moment? Using my new computer at the station, I was making my first attempt at ordering a product on-line. Let me just say when you order sporting goods on-line from the company that has a store in the Rio Hill Shopping Center, be sure to use the company's full name.

Best advice you ever got? Make sure they can hear you from the balcony.

Favorite bumper sticker? Pittsburgh– Gateway to Ohio



This world is a better place, mainlly becuase Jane Foy is in it!

I can see Meryl Streep playing Jane, or Bonnie Belinda

Reading about my friend Jane makes me homesick for Charlottesville. No-one can tell a story like Jane--the detail, the build-up, the punchline....and she does it on one breath.