Speaking from the Heart
Thousands of Houstonians tune in to 104 KRBE every morning to catch a bit of Maria Todd’s sunshine. She’s got a contagious giggle, upbeat personality and quick wit that keep listeners smiling all through the a.m.
Maria began her radio career in Buffalo, N.Y., after taking a college internship at the local radio station. “My talents always lied with speaking and writing in school,” she reveals. Originally planning on being a journalist, she admits of her first experience on the air, “I fell in love with it.”
After working in New York for a couple of years with Sam Malone, KRBE brought the duo to the Houston airwaves 12 years ago. Following 14 years of on-air partnership, the Sam and Maria morning show split up earlier this year. Maria stayed on at KRBE, and the afternoon DJ, Atom Smasher, joined her for morning antics there. Listeners had to wait a couple of months to find Sam, but he’s recently taken over the reins at the 96.5 KHMX morning show.
After so many years of catching them as a team, many Houstonians were surprised by the sudden change. She insists that they remain friends (who laugh often about the rumors that circulate about the change), but that the split was simply a career decision. “He got a really great offer and left,” she divulges. “I got a really great offer, so I stayed.”
She enjoys the challenge that being a morning host provides. With a new co-host, she says there are new aspects to get used to. “Atom has a totally different personality – a little more laid back – and his sense of humor is different,” Maria says. “Both (Atom and Sam) are really funny – but in different ways. Now, it’s getting used to working with a different person, but my job still remains the same – be funny, deliver punch lines and play off the other person.” She likens her job to her favorite sport: baseball. “It’s like comedy batter,” she says. “The balls you get pitched are different, but you still have to hit them.” Known for her superior knowledge and everyday updates of celebrity gossip, Maria also devotes much of her time to area charities. Whether she’s donating her voice, money or abilities, this boisterous babe believes in giving back to her community.
Every year, she builds a team for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life to raise money for ACS’s education and outreach while celebrating cancer survivors. She and her team join others across the nation at school tracks and parks for a 24-hour walking and running relay. She has also started her own charity, the Pink Ribbon Pals, which raises money for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. This year, Maria is teaming up with La Strada and Winsor Jewelers for a fundraising brunch and silent auction – and, of course, the proceeds go to helping find a cure for breast cancer.
She is also very involved with The River. A not-for-profit organization that teaches visual and performing arts to disabled children and their siblings, this charity hits close to home with Maria. With a brother who is mildly handicapped, Maria remembers only one time that she was able to participate in a organized activity with her sibling. Very rarely are disabled students combined with able-bodied ones for extracurricular classes. The River offers this unique opportunity, and Maria has jumped on board. An avid Houston professional sports fan and constant face around town at events and fundraisers, Maria truly supports her community. She says that her favorite part about Houston is the people, adding, “It’s easy to get to know people here – I find most Houstonians friendly and polite.” Of course, Houstonians adore her. And why wouldn’t they? H