By Woodrow Polston
The Mexico Area Chamber of Commerce has announced that it will be giving its Excellence in Tourism Award to Matthew Pilger, host of the “Am I Awake” morning show on AM 1340 KXEO. The award will be presented during the Chamber Annual Dinner at the Mexico Elks Lodge, on Feb. 18.
“I will be accepting this award on behalf of the radio station, and all of the guests that have come on the show over the years,” said Pilger. “The Excellence in Tourism award recognizes someone in the community that is doing work to help promote and put a spotlight on the Mexico area. I have been here for about six years now, and I am very humbled and excited to be receiving this recognition,” he added.
The past president’s of the Mexico Area Chamber of Commerce are invited to gather in October each year to select the award winners that will be honored at the chamber’s annual meeting. Other awards to be presented at the annual dinner include the Col. C. R. Stribling Award, the Civic Award, the Philanthropic Award, the G. Andy Runge Ambassador Award, the Educator of the Year Award, and the President’s award.
“I started out in the food industry, cooking in restaurants and waiting tables,” said Pilger. “I always wanted to go into broadcasting, especially on the sports side of things. So, I went to the Broadcast Center in St. Louis, I did a two-year program and graduated. Immediately following, I began my career in broadcasting. Before coming back home to Mexico, I worked as a news director for KCHI in Chilicothe, Mo., for approximately two years,” he added.
In 1972, Broadcast Center opened in the St. Louis suburb of Clayton, Mo., with only a handful of students and staff members. By 1976, the school had outgrown its original space. In order to accommodate more students, staff, and equipment, the Center moved to a much larger building in Clayton. Located only a few blocks from several radio stations, Broadcast Center became a central gathering point for many of the greatest broadcasters in St. Louis.
“On the morning show, we try to interview local leaders in Mexico and Audrain County,” said Pilger. “Once a month we have Presiding Commissioner Alan Winders on the show. We also have a program for the sheriff titled “Give Matt Oller a Holler,” which is a call-in show where folks can speak directly with the sheriff about things going on in Audrain County. We also speak with the schools, Mexico Public Safety, local churches, and try to cover everything that is happening in the area. And for these efforts, we are being recognized by the chamber,” added Pilger.
The Mexico Area chamber of Commerce works cooperatively with the business and professional community, the City of Mexico, Audrain County officials, schools, churches, clubs, and other organizations. The mission statement on their website states; “We believe Mexico is a small-town success story because of the team efforts of concerned citizens, governmental officials and staff, and the chamber.”
“One of my favorite highlights of the show, was a live call in from Tyronn Lue, on the annual Tyronn Lue Day of Community Service,” said Pilger. “He was preparing to start up the NBA season again, but he took the time to call in and speak to me about what the day of service meant to him. I went to school with him, and we are very proud of his accomplishments here,” he added.
The “Am I Awake” morning show broadcasts Monday through Friday, from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. on KXEO AM 1340.