Fez Whatley

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Fez Marie Whatley
HomelessFezWhatley.jpg
Fez Whatley during the 2006 Opie and Anthony Homeless Shopping Spree
Born (1964-03-31) March 31, 1964 (age 50)
Show Ron and Fez
Station(s) Raw Dog Comedy (SiriusXM Channel 99)
Time slot 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM ET
Monday - Friday
Style Host
Comedian

Contemporary
Country USA and Canada

"Fez" Marie Whatley (born Todd Hillier, March 31, 1964), is an American talk radio host and comedian who co-hosts The Ron and Fez Show. From October 9, 2007 to June 27, 2008, Whatley also served as the Executive Producer.

Whatley originally became well known after becoming a producer and contributor for the highly-successful and wildly popular syndicated radio program The Ron and Ron Show. After the show disbanded due to being cancelled for low ratings after the departure of Ron Diaz, Whatley teamed up with Ron Bennington to create The Ron and Fez Show on a small Daytona Beach radio station (WKRO). After a relatively short stint there, the duo then created a show originally titled Ron and Fez Dot Com as they moved to overnights on WNEW in New York City.

Personal life[edit]

Whatley graduated from Pinellas Park High School in Pinellas Park, Florida in 1982, and received a publication award from the International Thespian Society.[1]

Whatley suffered a mild heart attack on November 9, 2005 which he did not recognize. He went on to host The Ron and Fez Show the next day before consulting a doctor where he was informed he had suffered a heart attack and was also diagnosed with diabetes.[2] An angioplasty was performed and Whatley returned to the show on November 28, 2005. Approximately one year later, Fez left the show again due to chest pains, and needed a second stent put in.

On September 24, 2010 Fez was diagnosed as suffering a third heart attack while in the hospital for treatment for an unrelated medical issue. He was released from the hospital on Monday, September 27 and returned to the show on Wednesday, September 29.

On February 24, 2010, Fez's father, Dick Hillier died in a NYC hospital. Ron Bennington was on-air the next day and in Fez's absence put on an impromptu radio memorial for Fez's father going to break playing Danny Boy. Fez returned to the air on Monday, March 7, and offered a touching remembrance of his father.

On February 24, 2012, Fez came out as gay. Fez had been playing a flamboyant character on the air for more than 20 years, but became increasingly uncomfortable in the role after recognizing his sexual orientation and being unable to publicly embrace it. After admitting his sexuality to his co-host Ron Bennington three years earlier, Fez spoke openly on the air about his issues as a closeted man, referring to his "secret," but had remained unable to say it directly. He chose to come out on the one-year anniversary of his father's death.[3]

Radio career[edit]

Whatley originally became well known after becoming a producer and contributor for the highly successful syndicated program The Ron and Ron Show. After the show disbanded due to being cancelled for low ratings after the departure of Ron Diaz, Whatley then teamed up with Ron Bennington as a co-host[4] to create The Ron and Fez Show on WKRO FM, a small Daytona Beach, Florida rock station. After a relatively short stint there, they then retitled the show: Ron and Fez Dot Com and premiered on overnights on New York City radio station WNEW FM on April 17, 2000.[5]

Whatley and Bennington continued on WNEW FM until the end of 2002, as well as being simulcast to a few other FM markets, including WJFK-FM in Washington, DC. After being canceled in New York City, as well as the other markets, they continued to broadcast from WJFK FM, and relocated to DC.

On July 19, 2004 Whatley and Bennington unceremoniously returned to the Florida airwaves in the 1 PM to 3 PM slot on Tampa Bay, Florida's The Buzz WBAA-AM 1010, a relatively low wattage station which adopted a new talk format, and abandoned its former sports talk format. The duo didn't produce well in the ratings however, and their tenure was short lived. [6]

The Ron and Fez Show moved to XM Satellite Radio on September 12, 2005 after leaving WJFK 106.7 FM in Washington D.C.[7] Eric Logan who at the time was the Executive Vice President of Programming for XM Satellite Radio said "It should come as no surprise that Ron and Fez are making the jump to XM where they will have the opportunity to create the kind of radio that has made them popular with their long-time fans and expand their fan base to millions of XM listeners," and "Ron and Fez are two of the funniest guys on the radio and XM's High Voltage is a perfect place for them to do what they do best."[8]

On December 20, 2006 The Ron and Fez Show premiered on 92.3 Free FM in New York City from 6 to 9 PM, while still holding on to their XM Satellite Radio show from Noon to 3 PM.[9]

On November 4, 2008 Ron Bennington and Fez Whatley hosted Presidential Thunderdome '08, a live radio show covering the 2008 presidential elections.[10]

On February 26, 2010, Whatley put up $1000 cash reward for the apprehension, conviction, and incarceration of the vandals who defaced the Mount Airy, North Carolina statue depicting Sheriff Andy Taylor and Opie Taylor of the iconic 1960s television program, "The Andy Griffith Show". Whatley is working closely with the Mount Airy Crime Stoppers Division as they monitor leads in the case.[11] He has a running bit that he won't buy interns Vietnamese food.

On December 1, 2014 Fez admitted on the air he was in a accident with his brothers Audi convertible in Florida during a rain storm and damaged the whole side of the car.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kirby, Sharon (June 24, 1982). "Students honored for community, school work". St. Petersburg Times. p. 3. Retrieved 2008-10-18. 
  2. ^ "Talk Radio Favorite Suffers Heart Attack". Retrieved 2008-10-14. 
  3. ^ Whatley, Fez. "Exclusive Interview with SiriusXM Radio Host Fez Whatley on Finally Coming "Out"". http://theinterrobang.com/2012/02/fez-whatley/. 
  4. ^ "In the Studio at The Virus Fez Marie Whatley On-Air Personality". XM Radio. Retrieved 2008-10-21. 
  5. ^ Bachman, Katy (April 24, 2000). "Local Media". Mediaweek.com. Retrieved 2008-10-14. [dead link]
  6. ^ Deggans, Eric (July 8, 2004). "WQYK drops sports talk format". St. Pepetrsburg Times. Retrieved 2008-10-14. 
  7. ^ "Names & Faces". The Washington Post. July 31, 2005. Retrieved 2008-10-14. 
  8. ^ "Talk Radio Personalities Ron and Fez to Joint XM Satellite Radio". Archived from the original on 2008-05-15. Retrieved 2008-10-14. 
  9. ^ "Starr Report". Retrieved 2008-10-14. [dead link]
  10. ^ Nicholas Deleon (November 4, 2008). "Follow election coverage on satellite radio with Ron and Fez". Retrieved 2008-11-06. 
  11. ^ "Andy Griffith Statue Mostly Cleaned; Radio Host Offers Reward" February 26, 2010 FOX8.com