St. Louis-based radio and TV personality Randi Naughton is kicking off 2024 with the launch of a new podcast, More to Say with Randi Naughton: Interesting Conversations with Interesting People. After retiring from a 30 year career in TV and radio, she realized there was more to be said. We’re checking with Randi to learn more about what her experience taught her and what the future holds.

What was it like leaving such a huge footprint on the industry?
I didn’t realize the footprint I was making, I just put my head down and did my thing. I really didn’t have time to reflect until I announced my retirement from TV news in 2022. Martin Kilcoyne did a little on-air thing for me at Fox 2, talking about all of my sports connections over the last 30 years. 

What was the most fun gig that you had?
Obviously, the big games and big moments— the Brett Hull 500, the Mark McGwire home run rally, the Super Bowls—were amazing, but I think it was the day-to-day interactions with the players. It can be a grind, but I really liked getting to know them on a more personal level.

What were your most memorable encounters?
Well, I had an encounter in the Ram’s locker room with another local reporter who was not happy that a woman was stepping onto the hallowed grounds of the St. Louis sports scene. This person let me know about it, and I busted him trying to convince a player I had asked to go on air with me not to. When I saw this, I dressed him down in front of the players. You do not mess with me or try to sabotage my work.

I thought you would bring up Mike Keenan.
Mike Kennan did not like me. For whatever reason, he hated me. The former Blues coach did not like a “gal” being in the locker room. I remember one time, he called me out in the newspaper about some game in Vancouver that I wasn’t even covering. If you’ve got a problem with me and I screw up, I will own it and we’ll move on, but don’t make up stuff.

Who inspired you to go for it in an industry that is not always nice?
Mr. Roy Naughton, my father. Picture Archie Bunker—he and my dad were the spitting image of each other. He was a huge sports fan, and I remember sitting and watching college basketball with him on Saturday mornings. He instilled that love in me. Not only as a fan, but I really got into the X’s and O’s of the Buffalo Bill back in the day. When I was around 11, the Buffalo News would print full page photos of the players. I put the entire offense and defense up on my bedroom wall. When the opportunity arose for me to get into sports, I went after it myself. St. Louis was hosting something called the Olympic Festival in ’93 or ’94, and one of Channel 2’s sports reporters had to bow out. I knocked on the boss’s door and said let me do it. He gave me a shot. There were some people in the sports office who weren’t thrilled. Ironically, the very first event I ever covered was equestrian and dressage. I knew nothing about it, but my daughter ended up being a state champion hunter jumper.

How was the transition from sports to morning news?
I still sometimes wake up at 2 a.m. and have to tell myself it’s OK to go back to sleep. It was definitely an adjustment. When I started the morning show, we were last in the ratings, but you just have to get on there. The transition went well and suddenly the ratings changed. We were sitting at No. 1 for the longest time, and I think they still are. It wasn’t difficult because I’ve always had weird shifts, dating back to radio.

When did you know it was time to walk away?
My husband had been telling me for a number of years that I should be on my last contract. He’s been retired for six years and has mastered the art of it. But I am too much of a worker bee. I’ve been working since I was 12, and my dad instilled it into me. It never crossed my mind until I finally decided to do it. I’m not sure I was ready for it. It took me a year to decide if I did the right thing, and now that I’ve got all these other things cooking on my terms, I’ve realized there’s so much I wouldn’t be able to do if I still had that schedule. I watched the Super Bowl for the first time in 25 years because I didn’t have to go to bed at 7 p.m.

Have you gotten your life back when it comes to family time?
I love to cook—ask anyone who knows me, I will cook for you any day of the week. My husband is a huge foodie, and he’s enjoying it. We’re able to do things together that we weren’t before. I’ve been spending a lot of time with my daughter. I rescued a mini horse from deplorable conditions, and my little guy stays on the farm with my daughter’s horse.

What is the most fun thing you have done since retirement?
As my retirement gift to myself, I traveled to Finland with my sister. It was the cleanest air I’ve ever breathed, the most beautiful water I’ve ever seen, the most gracious people I’ve ever come across and it was all covered with snow. I loved every minute of it. 

Did you make a bucket list while you were up in the wee hours of the morning getting ready for another show?
My bucket list was to find something to keep me busy. I run my voice over narration business from my home studio. I absolutely love doing it because I can do it on my time—and in my jammies. And then I launched a podcast. Real original, I know, but when you’re on TV, you’re limited to three minutes or less to talk to people. I wanted to do deeper dives. 

Lets go to the closet … what is the one thing that every woman has to have other than diamonds?
Comfortable shoes. Whether you’re on the hard floors or the sidelines on disgustingly hot summer day, if your feet are not happy, your whole body is not happy.

What is one fashion trend that didn’t work for you?
I’ve always liked the look of a tailored jacket. One day I bought a pewter leather blazer, which I thought was so cool. I wore it once on TV and sat under those lights. I looked like a baked potato. 

With a reasonably normal schedule, is more travel on the horizon and where?
Absolutely. I’m going to do a kayaking trip in Canada at the end of summer. We have a lake house at the Lake of Ozarks, which I hope to use more. My husband is a fisherman. I’m more of a nature photographer. I’m an outdoors person. I got to get outside every day. Riding my bike, I know all the trails around St. Louis. I love to go 20 or 30 miles and just be outside.

Beach or mountains?

One meal to die for.
It has to be my mother’s fried chicken. She was an incredible cook. She fed seven kids every night, so she learned how to do a really good job.

The one thing you are now realizing about St. Louis that is more fun than it gets credit for?
The night life. There is so much to do. You can go from a Cardinals game to a Blues game to a killer restaurant. Plus, there all of the sights and sounds for families. I’m just discovering it all because I couldn’t before.

What is next for Randi?
I want to get killer guests for the podcast. I was thrilled to pieces when Bob Costas agreed to come on with me. I just spoke with Alan Hunter who was one of the original MTV VJs. I want to get Jake from State Farm on the air with me. Adam Wainwright said he’d come on and so did Don Lemon. 

When it comes to your career, what is the best advice you can give?
Say yes to everything until someone gives you a reason to say no. I’ve mentored a lot of young journalists who get offers for radio, but they think they should turn it down because they want to do TV. Do the radio gig. It’s experience, it pads your resume, and it will get you in more doors.