10 Questions with ... Renee McNeil
April 17, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I've been hanging around radio stations for over thirteen years now. I initially headed to Belmont University to pursue a career in music business, but got sidetracked along the way and ended up in the world of radio. In 1998 I started at WXXL Orlando, Fl (Top 40) where I got my first taste of being an on-air personality and working in Promotions. After six years with Mickey Mouse, I headed back to Nashville, TN where I worked at Cromwell Radio juggling on-air responsibilities with being Promotions Director. After my time at Cromwell, I spent a short time at Mel Wheeler Broadcasting in Roanoke, VA, on the air at WSLC, but Music City kept calling me back. I moved back to Nashville and started working at Citadel Radio's WKDF where I still work part time. While at WKDF I learned about a syndicated radio opportunity at Great American Country Television, which ended up being the next stop on my career journey. I produced GAC Nights Radio until the show ended almost two years ago. I'm currently working at All Access in Nashville.
1) You did a good amount of radio work before coming to All Access--What drew you to the business in the first place?
An internship. I needed a music business oriented internship and was already working in an artist management office so I had to find something else. In Orlando, at the time, the only other thing I could think of was radio. On my first day as an intern at WXXL I got to ride in a blimp. That pretty much sold me on the world of radio!
2) You grew up in a small town with just a few TV and radio outlets, what was that like?
Like a lot of others I grew up with, I lived out in the country with no cable or satellite dish. We had no idea we were missing out on anything. Now, when people talk about shows and some music from the 80's I have no idea what they're talking about - and they have no idea what planet I'm from. I grew up with one local Country radio station, and as far as TV, I had PBS, CBS, and on a clear night, ABC.
3) Why did you want to live in Nashville? Was it the music industry?
It was the industry that initially brought me up to Nashville and once I got here I really fell in love with the city.
4) Who have been some of your mentors in life and what have they taught you?
Pete de Graaff, who is currently OM at Cox Media Group in Athens, GA, was my MD at WXXL. There is nothing I feared more than aircheck meetings with Pete, and there's nothing more than the things I learned in those meetings that I use to this day. Pete taught me everything I know about being on the air and intuition on music.
Bobbi King was Promo Dir. when I was at WXXL and thanks to her I can hitch a huge rolling radio trailer to the back of a truck by myself, put up a tent in 100 degree heat all alone and most importantly, create some pretty amazing promotions. Bobbi taught me how to take your craziest ideas and turn them into successful promotions.
My third mentor is a Nashville combo deal of Sarah Trahern, Shanna Strassberg, Donna Hughes, Suzanne Alexander, Nan Kelley, Mechalle Myers, and Becca Walls. These women show me on a daily basis how to survive in this industry. The life and career lessons they have taught, and continue to teach me, are endless.
5) What did you do at the show "GAC-Nights" and what were some of your favorite things about that job?
I was the Associate Producer for "GAC Nights" Radio, a syndicated radio show that was produced by Great American Country Television. I really enjoyed the fact that the GAC show allowed me to get back to my initial interest in the music business while working on a radio show at the same time. It really allowed me to grow and expand my abilities, and to connect the dots I was missing between radio and Music Row. Secondly, I absolutely loved the people I got to work with. From the GAC staff and hosts, to the PD's who ran the show, everyone was amazing. I spent the last few months of the show working with host Buzz Brainard, who has to be the most dedicated, loyal, and fun person to be in a studio every night of the week with.
6) Tell us why you wanted to work at All Access, aside from the fact that you needed a gig.
Radio today isn't what it was when I first signed up on that blimp back in the day. I was looking for an opportunity to take everything I know about radio and head in a new direction. And, Charlie Sheen didn't pick me to be his paid intern, so after that what's left?!?!
7) What would be your dream job?
Professional Storm Chaser with Trace Adkins and Storme Warren
8) What kinds of music do you listen to and what are a few of your favorites?
That question should be illegal. I truly do listen to ALL kinds of music. Some of the artists you'll find lurking within my iPod are Tony Lucca, Edwin McCain, Jann Arden, Dave Barnes, Sara Bareilles, John Mayer, Incubus, Jonny Diaz, Adele, Sinatra, Sister Hazel, Johnny Mercer, Robin Thicke, The Police, and a whole lot of others!
9) If a friend came in for a visit what would be a couple of must-see places in Music City, restaurants etc where you'd take them?
Outside of the normal "touristy" places, The Pfunky Griddle, Arrington Vineyards, The Cupcake Collection, Leipers Fork and Savannah Tea Company are all on the list of stops.
10) Did you really work with Britney Spears?
I worked for Johnny Wright at Wright Entertainment Group for a little while. At the time he managed NYSNC and Britney Spears among several others. It was when the explosion of boy bands in the Orlando area was happening, and it was an experience to say the least!
1) What are a few of your favorite junk foods?
Fortunately I'm not a big junk food eater, however when I do give in, it's usually just for sour/tart candy, Chinese food or cupcakes.
2) Do you really listen to Christmas music year-round and why?
I do, in very small doses. This is some of my favorite music and I don't think it should be confined to a month or two.
3) Name a couple of your favorite TV shows and tell us why we should watch.
Mad Men - I think anyone in a creative industry should watch this show, it's like taking a history class each week.
The Office - best cast ever!
Nurse Jackie -one of the funniest shows you'll ever watch!
Parenthood - Great family drama, it always amazes me when I hear people aren't watching it.
American Pickers - there's nothing more fascinating than watching these guys go through people's junk.