From dealing with third-graders
to dealing with Triv!
Kim Mihalik was born in Cleveland on May 16 and grew up in Middleburgh Heights. A 1988 graduate of Midpark High School, Kim went on to receive her Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from Baldwin Wallace in 1993.
She actually taught in the Berea School System for five years before fate stepped in and changed the path of her life.
"I can't say I didn't have parental support while I was teaching, because I did have some very nice support. But in the time you're allotted you're supposed to teach and discipline and counsel and inspire all at one time. Sometimes keeping order was a full time job in itself."
She often brought the students' problems home with her, something husband Brian knew could not go on. "He could see how hard it was for me and he knew it wasn't healthy."
Although she was considering the possibility of leaving the teaching profession she hadn't made any serious moves in that direction. That is until she called WTAM in response to a contest. She left a voice mail message and they liked her voice!
They called her down to the station where she did a Saturday show on her own. Then she met Mike Trivisonno who had been looking for a female "side-kick" to help round out his show.
"We hit it off immediately. We had a type of sarcastic chemistry between us."
She took a leave of absence from the 1998-99 school year to try out working with Triv for one year. She's still there and she says it doesn't even feel like work. She loves it!
"It's difficult to find the kind of chemistry Mike and I have here. With the whole team; Marty (Allen), Paul (Rado), Mike (Snyder), Mike (Trivisonno) and me it's like "Lightning in a Bottle."
Kim Mihalik with Mike Trivisonno and WTAM personalities Marty Allen, Mike Snyder and Paul Rado
Aside from personally wanting to take the chance she saw it as an opportunity to "walk her talk" with her daughter, Mackenzie, (who was only two at the time), any future children she had and the students she taught.
She wanted all children to know that you really can "follow a dream" or "be anything you want to be" as long as you work for it and take some chances. "Life is not risk-free. I thought if I'm going to preach it, I'd better be ready to live it."
She's the softer side of WTAM drive-time radio with Mike Trivisonno. She's not shy to voice an opinion or argue with the host, but she knows her role is to be second chair.
"It's Mike's show. I'm very happy to be part of it." Just like any family Kim and her co-workers don't always get along. But also like a family they bicker - and then get over it.
Kim is passionate about the Arts - live theater and music on a non-professional basis especially. She would love to see the Greater Cleveland area become more involved in community theaters and productions. "There are such wonderful talents in the area, but only professional shows get the attention."
Kim was a fairly good softball player and was surrounded by a father and brother who were both athletes. "Sundays in my house were all about the Browns." Although she is more of a baseball and football fan, she also enjoys basketball and remembers watching the Cavs play at the Coliseum.
"I think the first time I heard Mike Trivisonno's voice was when I was ten years old. I was listening to Pete Franklin on the radio on the way home from a Cavs game."
Kim fears that sports are being taken too seriously today. She believes they are meant to be fun and entertaining, but are becoming more and more about business. Make no mistake, she does know her sports.
"It's taken for granted that men know all about sports and they all love the game and that just isn't the case. And a lot of women know a lot about sports and follow it too, yet we always think of sports in the masculine. Women have huge brains and huge hearts and that puts emotion into the game. Emotion is an integral part of any sports event."
Of course it doesn't hurt that in her position she has had the opportunity to meet many of the owners and players and coaches of Cleveland's teams.
Coming onto the Triv show after he had been on the air for quite awhile was not easy. Combining the change of dynamic and chemistry of the show along with the fact that she was a woman made a lot of the callers uneasy, and some downright hostile. Some assumed she was there to play a subservient "bimbo" role and some actually got venomous.
My job is to "be quick - be concise - make my point and get out. I'm a supporting player. That's not sexist, it's real. That is the job I was hired to do and I love doing it."
Kim stuck it out and the audience has grown to accept her and appreciate her input. Again, she finds a message for her daughter and now also her son Jake. "You can conquer anything if you just venture out, stick with it, grow thick skin and learn to enjoy what you are doing."
Mike Trivisonno helped her grow the thick skin. He taught her the business and helped her fit in. His daily mantra to her was "You're going to make it."
She did stick with it and it did pay off. Today she is proud of the job she does and proud that she didn't walk away. "If it's worth having, it's not easy."
Kim Mihalik in the WTAM studio
Kim is married to Brian who works at Key in the Corporate Real Estate Division. They are true partners, respecting each others goals and dreams and assisting wherever and whenever they can.
Brian understood that if she left teaching there would be no guarantees that this new career path would work out. He also understood her need for a challenge. With no hesitation he encouraged her to take the opportunity.
Kim describes Brian as "the best possible Dad." She knows that when she is not there, her children are happy and well taken care of.
Kim attributes their marital longevity to "a tremendous amount of love and respect and knowing that we are in a partnership. He understands my needs and I hope I understand his as well."
Kim has always been a voracious reader. In High School she remembers waiting outside of B. Dalton Booksellers for the new edition of Sweet Valley High books to come out. She also loved (and still loves) British literature, which reads like a puzzle to her.
It doesn't matter whether she is reading the classics or sports books or even the occasional trashy romance novel - Kim loves to read.
Her job has given her the opportunity to go to Spring Training every year, which she thoroughly enjoys. She also loves to travel to Las Vegas. Other than that, she is more interested in traveling her own area.
She enjoys treasures closer to home that so often go overlooked, like her jaunt to the Winery at Wolf Creek in West Virginia.
Although she is Italian, English and Irish she hopes to see Austria someday. "I think it's because I just loved the Sound of music!"
Kim is a sensitive soul. "Since when is compassion a crime?" She remembers in high school how it broke her heart to see someone eating lunch alone. She believes strongly in making a difference in people's lives.
"Whether you're helping one person by calling a friend who needs you or getting involved in a cause to help a lot of people, it doesn't matter. The important thing is to care about people and show them that you care."
Kim's hours on the air are few, but her work day is 24 hours. She is constantly absorbing information, reading newspapers, checking the internet and watching television so that she knows what is going on in the world in general and Cleveland in particular.
She has to anticipate what people are going to want to talk about and be ready for discussions on most anything. Whether it's the latest movies, controversial politics or sports, it's Kim's job to be ready with the facts.
Kim Mihalik is an intelligent woman with a good understanding of her multiple roles as local celebrity, wife and mother. Like so many working women she juggles each role with finesse and style, never loosing site of what is really important.
Profiled by Debbie Hanson
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