10 Questions with ... Jeanne Ashley
February 25, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I got my start while still in high school on FEN, The Far East Network (AFRTS) in Okinawa, Japan in 1982.
My first real (paid) job was at WPEX AM 1490 in Hampton, VA (1988 - 1990) where I failed miserably in sales and owner Joe Moore (heard still on Motor Racing Network MRN) decided I was more suitable for on air. I joined him on his morning show until marriage swept me away to Utica, NY.
After a three month morning side-kick stint at a Classic Rock station that no longer exists, I moved to AC WLZW (Lite 98.7) where I started out doing evenings and was eventually promoted to MD/midday host. (1990-1996). From 1996 - 1999 I was the midday host and music director at WYYY (Y94 FM) in Syracuse. The time I spent at WLZW and Y94 FM were great years. Those are two truly legendary stations and I'm proud to have worked with all the great people there.
In 1999, Jon Zellner was about to launch an AC station in Kansas City and he invited me to be a part of it. What we accomplished at KCKC (Star 102) still makes me smile. I stayed on as MD/midday host a few years after he moved on.
In 2010, with my daughter was off to college, and it occurred to me that my work in Kansas City was done. So I left for Miami to be the evening host at WLYF (101.5 Lite FM). Unfortunately, I experienced my first job loss (budget cuts) there in January of 2012, but the timing couldn't be better. Cox was ready to staff up on their new soft AC, Easy 93.1 WFEZ so here I am.
1) What Got You Interested In Radio?
Listening to Carol Miller on the old WPLJ! I wanted to be her when I grew up... I still do!
2) Who do you consider your radio mentors?
Bobby Irwin (OM at Cumulus/Colorado Springs). He is my radio guru! I've never made a move without consulting him and he has never steered me wrong. I think of Bobby every time I crack the mic. Jon Zellner is a programming genius whose lessons of the art of keeping things simple, fun and smart stay with me even today. And of course, Gary Williams who is my PD here at Easy 93.1. In less than a year, I've learned more from him than I ever dreamed possible. If you look at how we've become the #1 AC in Miami in such a short time, it's all Gary!
3) What do you view as the most important issue facing radio today?
Something that I've worried about for years is the lack of cultivation of younger talent. We train young talent here at Cox Miami and that's encouraging, but I think when you look at the industry as a whole, it's something that needs a lot of attention. ASAP!
4) How are you using new technologies in your career and in your personal life?
For show-prep I'm a Twitter addict. I am obsessed with finding interesting blogs/sites on the local, national, and international levels that I think (or hope) that nobody else knows about. For the station though, for now the only social media I use is Facebook, and only on our station's Facebook page. All of us at Easy work that way, simply signing our posts with a "~Susan, "~Jeanne" or ~"Denny." I know a lot of jocks have both their own public Facebook sites and also post on their station's Facebook, but I think that takes away from the station. My personal Facebook is my own. I never mix the two. Personally? You'd laugh if you saw my phone. It's the dumbest phone you'd ever see.
5) Most of us have known or even worked for a "colorful" owner/GM/air talent. Care to share a story? (The names can be changed to protect the innocent).
I live a life of gratitude. When I am riding my bike to the beach, especially in February, I say a private "Thank You" to Pig Vomit. (We all have one and mine knows who he is. Or maybe he doesn't? And that's ok.)
6) What is the biggest change that you'd like to see happen in the business?
I would love to see broadcasting companies put more trust in their local programmers. (It's working for us here at Cox Miami, so maybe I don't want others to do it??) But seriously, I know so many smart programmers whose hands are tied and who face the daily question, "If they think they know what's best for us from 1000 miles away, why did they hire me?"
7) Tell us what music we would find on your MP3 player right now and what is it you enjoy about that particular selection?
Would you believe I don't have one? But I'm all over Last.fm. You'd find mostly Classical guitar, a lot of Funk, Jazz and Blues and everything The Beatles, Aretha Franklin, Bruce Hornsby, Jamie Cullum, and Paolo Conti ever did!
8) What was the biggest gaffe you've made on air? (dead air ... forget a mic was still on ... etc.)
I've done a lot of stupid things, but I think the older and wiser you're supposed to be, the more the pressure is on for perfection. So the gaffes get bigger with age I guess? We have a contest at Easy 93.1 where we call out names of "VIP Preferred Listeners" and they have 15 minutes to call back to claim their cash. I should have looked at the name before I said it on the air a couple of months ago, but I didn't. So when I said an "Easy 93.1, with an 'At Work Hello To Betty White." I completely lost it! There was no recovery! (She called back, though, God bless her!)
9) What's the best piece of advice anyone's ever given you? The worst?
Best: Be who you are (my sister Kathy told me that).
Worst: Don't burn bridges.
10) What is the one truth that has held constant in your career?
There is nobody more important than the listener. Never betray their trust!
What are your hobbies?
My Etch-A-Sketch! Don't believe me? (See below). It's my masterpiece! It's my version of Caravaggio's "Basket Of Fruit".
What's one thing that would surprise many people to learn about you?
I don't own a TV. It's a medium I reject. I rarely even acknowledge its existence on the air. Why should I when everyone else does?
Who is your best friend in the business?
Denny Miller (host here at Easy 93.1.)
Who is the most amazing talent you've worked with?
Oh my God, wow! There are so many! But if I can only mention one person it would have to be Kathy Rowe at Y94 FM in Syracuse.