New voice joins Highway 98 Country

Scratch and Mallory are the morning DJ’s for Highway 98.1 Country, 98.1 FM.

If you tune into Highway 98 Country, in the mornings, you know Scratch — the deep voice, the dry sense of humor, even the adventures of his growing kids. But now there’s a new voice sharing in the morning conversation, and it belongs to Scott Mallory.

Hailing from Ohio, Mallory joined the Apex Broadcasting team back in May and is enthusiastically settling into his new office, which overlooks the Destin harbor.

“I am loving it here,” Mallory said. “I love walking the harbor and seeing all the different boats bringing in fish. We live in a beautiful area and I can’t wait to make a home here for my family.”

Morning radio is not an easy gig and after a 7-year hiatus, Mallory said it’s a bit of an adjustment.

“You never get used to the early mornings,” he said, showing off his five-plus alarms he must set on his iPhone in order to wake up. “But it’s fun to be in radio. And Scratch and I have a great rapport, which is important. You can’t just have good radio-announcer ability, you have to also have chemistry with your co-host.”

Chemistry, Scratch explained, is part of the “puzzle” that makes morning radio shows so enjoyable.

“The morning show is the most fun,” Scratch said. “You get to work with a partner and have conversations and explore so many different things. It’s about reflecting back to the listeners and being able to relate to their lives. And when you have that chemistry between two people — it just works.”

When Scratch started in radio (more than two decades ago), he got “hooked” on the puzzle of it — the different ingredients and things you must do to master it. And fortunately, he found a co-host that gets the puzzle pieces — the most important being: always strive to get better.

“You can’t ever be satisfied,” Scratch said.

Mallory agreed, “You can’t be comfortable. You should never think you’re great. You’re never there but you’re always trying to get there. You always want the next show to be better than the last one — the next hour, the next minute better than the one before.”

And when you’re facing four brand new hours of show every day, there are sure to be some bumps in the road. Especially when you have two co-hosts, both with big personalities, working in such small quarters.

“We’re still getting to know each other on a DNA level,” Scratch said. “In reality-mode more than show-mode. We’re still learning each other’s sense of humor and personalities. I find myself getting angry at Mallory only to learn later he was being sarcastic.”

So when you tune into Scratch and Mallory on Highway 98 Country, don’t expect a smooth ride on your morning commute.

“I want our show to be like Space Mountain at Disney World,” Scratch said. “Full of dips and turns you don’t know are coming.”

Because after all…

“Chaos is fun sometimes,” Mallory said.