By Ryan Gueningsman
BURNSVILLE, MN A Delano drummer recently had the chance to help Fox 9 news reporter/traffic anchor Kelsey Soby complete a fun segment for the morning news.
As part of the band Brat Pack Radio, Pete Johnson of Delano was excited to work with Soby on the segment, which was called “I’ve Always Wanted to . . .” The week-long series featured the Fox 9 personalities trying different things they have always had the desire to do that would also allow viewers the chance to get to know the anchors better.
One of the anchors tried his hand at bartending, one illustrated comic books, and another drove a team of horses. Soby wanted to perform with a band, which is where Brat Pack Radio came into play.
Soby solicited on Facebook for a band that would let her perform with them at a gig that would also be conducive to the Fox 9 schedule. Brat Pack Radio leader Ryan Lance, a four-time Emmy winner who is also part of the group The Blenders, remembered he had worked with Soby as a judge of a statewide showchoir competition, and reached out to her.
Lance had another Fox 9 connection, as The Blenders wrote and performed the familiar “Wake Up With Fox 9” jingle that is heard daily.
Once the connection was made, the members of Brat Pack Radio Johnson, Lance, American Idol Season Eight Top 20 Finalist Jesse (Lang) Langseth, Craig Holtes, and Jack Mansk did something the band doesn’t normally do. They rehearsed.
“We don’t rehearse,” Lance said with a laugh. “Since the band started, there really isn’t a good time to get together and rehearse. It’s nice to have people who are on top of it enough.”
However, adding Soby into the mix for a couple songs called for the decision to pull together an impromptu rehearsal. While there, Johnson said Soby interviewed each band member individually to get to know them and the band as a whole.
“She wanted to have some fun and so did we, and that was a really good match up,” Johnson said. “I didn’t think anyone was nervous around each other.”
Lance sent Soby the Brat Pack Radio play list for Soby to pick out a couple tunes she may be interested in singing with them.
“I can keep a tune. I’m not a terrible singer,” Soby said. “But I’m definitely no singing sensation.”
After doing everything from Lady Gaga to Michael Jackson to Britney Spears, Soby and the band settled on Blondie’s “One Way or Another” and Cheap Trick’s “I Want You to Want Me.”
“I was excited we ended up with ‘80s songs because they play that,” Soby said.
Performance night rolled around several days later, and the band met again with Soby before it took the stage at McCracken’s in Burnsville. During the first part of the band’s first set, Soby watched the band, and prepared herself to step on stage.
“I was peeking so I knew who was there,” she said, as some family and friends also came out for the night. “I thought to myself, ‘have fun and take some deep breaths.’ We chose songs where I could be in character. To some extent, it was more about performing than the notes I could hit.”
Soby said she always enjoys trying something new, and is always up for adventure. Being in front of a camera for her day job no longer phases her, and she said she loves being able to connect with an audience.
“It doesn’t really matter if they are hidden through the technology of cameras or if they are right in front of me,” Soby said.
Lance commended Soby for her having the bravery to get up on stage and perform with the band.
“I wouldn’t want to get up and do a newscast,” he said.
After the two songs, Soby joined her family and friends in the crowd and enjoyed the rest of the Brat Pack Radio set.
“The band was so good with letting me perform with them, so I wanted to stay and cheer them on,” she said.
A Hopkins native, Soby’s musical tastes are all across the board.
“One of the reasons I became a reporter is because I have an interest in so many different things,” she said. “My music is the same way. At the end of the day, my favorite music is the kind of music that makes me want to dance. People laugh at my iPod.”
Soby attended college at Vanderbilt University in Music City (Nashville) and enjoyed the live music scene there. Her first anchoring job was in Mankato, and then she spent time in Fargo, ND, before landing closer to home with Fox 9.
Considered a “jack-of-all-trades” at the station, Soby recently began a segment on Thursdays during the 5 p.m. broadcast about navigating Pinterest. She also does a travel segment on Fridays, and fills in for anchors and reporters who may be gone on a given day.
So, is she going to form a band anytime soon?
“I’m going to do the world a favor and I will not start a band or join a band,” she said with a laugh. “I’m so appreciative for the opportunity to perform with such a cool band. They were very welcoming to me, and they made me feel like I could pull it off.
“When you have a four-time Emmy-award-winning songwriter in the bunch, and an American Idol finalist, it’s intimating. They went out of their way to make it happen.”
Johnson, admitting a little bias, said he thought Soby’s segment was the most exciting of all the anchors.
“I felt she did really well,” Johnson said. “It’s really hard if you’re not doing that every night to get up and remember words, and know everyone is looking at you she did a good job and looked relaxed.”
If the band members had the chance to do something they’ve always wanted to do, Lance quipped he’d enjoy “not doing anything and just having the money roll in.”
However, with the success and fun Brat Pack Radio is having, that doesn’t seem to be an option.
Two local dates are on the books for the band, as ‘80s hits will be flowing at Delano Lanes and Entertainment Saturday, April 6, and also during the Delano Fourth of July Celebration Saturday, July 6.
“We’re gearing up for that with a lot of new tunes they didn’t hear the last time,” Johnson said of the group’s upcoming appearance at Delano’s oldest and largest celebration.
For more information on Brat Pack Radio, follow the link from the Delano Herald Journal homepage.