Talking to Sara Carnes feels like chatting with a high school best friend you haven’t seen in a few years — she’s approachable and sweet, yet energetic and supportive.
This welcoming personality also comes through when she’s on air as co-host of the Family Friendly Morning Show on 95.5 The Fish (the show airs weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m.)
Carnes should be familiar to many Northeast Ohioans for other reasons, too. Maybe you saw some of her segments when she appeared on Fox Sports Ohio. Or perhaps you recall seeing her in one of the in-game segments during a Cleveland Browns game or the 30-minute wrap-up of all things Browns that airs on WEWS Channel 5 (she laughs that she was born with a Browns jersey on).
You’re just as likely, though, to run into Carnes at her local church or in the community. Carnes, who grew up in Ashtabula county, has two daughters, Makayla, 15, and Reagan, 5, and her husband, Russ, is a teacher in Solon.
Northeast Ohio Parent checked in with Carnes, who offered advice for parents juggling family, work, life — and an undying affinity for Cleveland sports teams.
How did you get involved in broadcasting?
My career came about in a roundabout way. Since I was a little girl, I had the bug to be on stage. Throughout high school, I was in the show choir and theater, but in college I went back and forth on what I wanted to do. During school, I got a good job at Progressive, but I kept doing entertainment on the side — like shows at Beck Center for the Arts and I sang in an 11-piece Motown band. Eventually, my agent connected me with broadcast opportunities in Cleveland.
How do you juggle a daily morning show with two kids?
This is the biggest question I get. I do a lot at night and I try to get everything done the night before that I’ll need in the morning — most of the time. Usually, I get to work between 4:30 and 5 a.m. When I started this job two years ago, my husband took over mornings. I do a lot of prepping for him like laying out our younger daughter’s outfits and her hair clips, but he does the rest. When he first started doing mornings it was a little rough, like he didn’t know how to do girls’ hair, but now he’s a pro.
What advice would you give
other moms who are balancing work and family?
When it comes to a career, I believe that it’s never too late to do something. If someone would have told me 10 years ago that I would be on air one day, I would have laughed them out of town. Sometimes we get in our heads, “I’m too old for that,” or “I just can’t do that.” There’s always time to go back to school, to make connections, to change your career. I was in insurance for 15 years and then I pivoted to a whole new career. I just like to encourage women that if there’s something you’ve always wanted to do, go for it.
What are some fall activities/places around Northeast Ohio that you and your family attend? Do you have a fall activity/tradition? We always head to Mapleside farms in the fall, high school football games (Makayla Cheers!), and visiting the area Metroparks for hikes while the leaves are changing. Maybe even throw in a fall picnic at the park afterwards. Apple picking, visiting area fall festivals, and Sunday afternoon family football watching after church.
What’s the best advice
you have for other parents of teens?
The rule in our house is that I’m on whatever you’re on. At first, my teenage daughter didn’t want me to be on Snapchat. But I feel like I need to understand what’s going on in their scene. We just have to have active conversations with our kids. You’ve got to be able to talk to your kids.
Do you have an embarrassing mom moment you don’t
Oh, I just had one. It’s probably not my most embarrassing, but it’s pretty bad. I still feel really bad. My older daughter made cheerleading and she just went to camp. I ordered all of her gear for her, packed her up and sent her off. She was so excited. Then she gets there and texts me that I listed her graduation year wrong. All of her gear says 2020 instead of 2019. So in all of the pictures with her team, she’s the only one with the wrong number. We were going through the pictures of her with her team and she kept saying, “Notice anything different, mom?”
And your proudest moment?
Probably seeing my daughters interact with other kids and adults. It’s in the moments they don’t know I’m looking, but I am. They’re polite and kind — I see them going out of their way to serve others.
You have said that you love the Cleveland Browns, when did you start following the Browns and why do you think it’s a great team for your family to cheer on each Sunday?
Always a Cleveland Browns fan… I joke that I was born one. I still have my infant Brian Sipe jersey my mom saved all these years. I have fun memories watching as a kid, too. I loved Bernie Kosar and always enjoyed watching the games after church with my Papa. I think it’s because those were such precious memories to me, I want to create those same feelings with my kids.
What’s your favorite thing about living in Northeast Ohio?
I’ve never had the itch to leave like most people. There’s so much to do here. We try to do something different every weekend. We’ve got three major sports teams here. There’s always something going on.