‘Preston & Steve’ celebrates 20 years on the air

Preston and Steve in their studio at WMMR. | Jeff Cohn Photography
Jeff Cohn Photography

Everyone gets their start somewhere, and for the now iconic morning radio show, “Preston & Steve,” the journey began with a series of small steps.

In fact, the first time they were on the air together, the pair didn’t even see each other.

“It was at WDRE, an alternative rock station. Steve and I met on the radio. We didn’t meet face to face for about a month,” says Preston Elliott, one half of the dynamic duo.

“I was doing independent production and comedy news for a morning show in Manhattan,” adds Steve Morrison. “I came down to Philly because was a client who liked the commercials I was doing for The Riverdeck Cafe in Manayunk. He wanted me to do a live party broadcast from the club.”

Preston would check in with Steve a few times an hour from the station for the segment.

“I would riff and he would riff — we synergized well,” he says.

Steve adds, “We were having a good time — he got the same references. Pop culturally we were syncing up. It was good enough that the program director, Jim McGuinn, said to keep it going.”

When McGuinn eventually got hired by Y100, he asked Preston to cover mornings at the station.

“They talked me into it,” he says. “They saw that Marilyn Russell and I had chemistry, so we did it. We were missing an element though, and Steve was looking for work.”

Steve accepted the offer and commuted for work every week from New York on Sunday nights, living in a small, efficiency apartment in Philadelphia during the week.

“My wife and I just got married and she was at a station up there,” he says. “We were apart that way for 5 years, but we all knew that we were building towards something.”

“The Morning Show with Preston, Marilyn and Steve” had a successful four-year run on Y100. When Marilyn left the show to spend more time with family, they didn’t seek out an additional host — it remained Preston and Steve, just as it is today.

When it comes to their favorite aspect of the show, it’s all rooted in a good time.

“Having fun is what we do for work,” Preston says. “We put a lot of work into it  but we come to work and everyday we laugh.”

Steve adds, “Our  listeners are our friends in a big car that we’re all going to work in. People will say, ‘Is it weird that I know such much about you?’ It’s an amazing thing.”

As far as favorite interviews go, Preston says that the best interviews are often the ones you least expect.

“We had Darryl McDaniels of Run DMC, and we thought we’d talk about the history of hip hop. He came in and gave the most inspirational message I didn’t expect at all,” he says. “It was from the heart — he lived it. The responses that you were seeing on the message boards from people…when they come out of left field like that, those are awesome.”

Steve adds, “We’ll also have people on that we don’t agree with, like Michael Moore. We had a good exchange, though. He was a really good guest.”

Despite their busy mornings on the air, Preston and Steve also spend a lot of time giving back to the community. Their initiative Campout for Hunger collected 839 tons of food and raised $272,683 in 2017 alone.

“Standing there with hundreds and hundreds of people, with band performing on stage and celebrities coming by, being able to affect change through charity — we are blessed and privileged. We are honored and never take it for granted,” Steve says. “We see so many shows come up and take it for granted. You cannot take and take and not give back. It is an honor to be able to have that position to do that. Also, to be apart of people’s mornings.”

You can tune into “Preston & Steve” every weekday morning from 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on 93.3 WMMR.

For more information, visit: wmmr.com.

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