10 Questions with ... Jamie "Eva" Matteson
May 26, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- WMGX-Portland, ME - (2005-present)
- WSM-FM Nashville - (2003-2004)
- The Gavin Report/Nashville - Bureau Chief/Country Editor - (1996 to 2002)
1) What Got You Interested In Radio?
I sort of fell into it by accident. When Gavin closed in 2002, a radio station in Oklahoma City asked me to do an "Eva the Country Dirt Diva" feature. Several other stations found out about it and asked me to do a feature too, so I kind of created my own little syndicated call in thing for about five stations.
2) Who do you consider your radio mentors?
Lee Logan mentored and taught me a lot. Words of wisdom; "Mind in gear before mouth in motion." I try to remember it daily!
Randi Kirshbaum has been my PD since I got here and she has always believed in me, and given me basically free reign to be myself and push the boundaries. I am sure I've caused her some sleepless nights.
3) You were recently named Portland's "Best TV/Radio Personality" by your local Phoenix Magazine. Please tell us about this experience and what it is about your show that you feel resulted in this honor?
This was my first time being nominated so at first I didn't take it too seriously. I am not comfortable asking people to vote for me in a popularity contest.
But then I realized, people had taken the time to nominate me, and I embraced the opportunity. My station did a great multi-media campaign, and it worked. It's been quite a thrill! This is a small market so everywhere I go, people are congratulating me, and saying such kind words to me in person or via E-mail, social media, etc. It's also been fun because of all the industry press, I've heard from people in the business that I haven't connected with in years.
Our morning show is a partner show. Blake Hayes and I have just been together since late January. He is my third partner since moving here. We bonded by phone before he ever flew in to audition. It's definitely not just about either one of us, but the show does give us a platform to make people laugh, sometimes cry, share an opinion, or just know they're not alone.
4) What makes Portland, ME unique? How does this compare to other markets or stations you have worked at?
Portland is amazing. I came here in January 2005 to fill in while part of the morning show was on medical leave. Two weeks in I told my then GM Cary Pahigian, "If one of those two gals I'm covering for can't come back. I am never leaving." I got lucky!
Portland is a small, metro is only about 65,000, but it's like a cool big city, in a small package. It has truly become a "foodie" mecca. There is a lot of culture here with several Fine Arts schools, a melting pot for lobstermen, artists, environmentally-minded people, gays, and a number of refugees from Rwanda and Somalia. The summers are short, but spectacular. I thank God every day I landed in Portland.
5) You previously ran Gavin Nashville as the Bureau Chief and Country Editor as well. What was it like working for this legendary trade magazine?
Working at Gavin was a great experience. I am very proud of the contributions we made in the Nashville community and our relationships with radio.
I made some lifelong relationships with co-workers and peers. At the time I probably took for granted that I was able to meet almost every Country artist, attends industry parties, go to Reba's home, see private, intimate performances, and watch superstars develop before my eyes. I now see what a special time that was and few get to have those kind of amazing experiences.
6) What is it about your show that you feel really makes it cut through?
We are the relationship show. For Blake (Hayes) and me, it's about our relationship with each other, with our listeners, with our community. I'd like to think our show is "real." We've never been asked to do something that doesn't feel or sound authentic to us.
7) What do you view as the most important issue facing radio today?
I would think the most important issue facing radio is the amount of choices people have for entertainment outlets today, and how radio can stay relevant and keep people's attention in an A.D.D. world.
As Randy Lane and Steve Goldstein say to us a lot, it's the "What else" factor. What else can we do to stand out? Some days I think there is not one new good idea left and other days it just comes easily.
8) How are you using social media to market your radio station and your show?
Facebook is our biggest way to launch topics and get some traction on a subject. We're also active on Twitter, but it's more for appointments than real interaction, at least right now.
I also let anyone friend me on my personal account. About 50% of my "friends" are listeners I've never met or have met once. My whole life is on the air and on Facebook, so they feel they know me, my friends, my sister, my hobbies, etc. I consider it an easy way to create a personal relationship with someone I might never have the opportunity to meet.
9) What type of features do you run on your show?
Since Blake and I have just started our partnership, we've changed a lot. We've launched several new to us. We're working to have a benchmark each day, VENT DAY" where we let listeners call and vent about anything, "Monday-Craigslist Missed Connections," "Friday-Tell us something good" becomes infectious when people start sharing. We're starting "Blown Off," where someone has a great first date but then is totally blown off. We created "Brittany the Bridezilla" using a caller service. We got an awesome "Brittany" who was so over the top, but also nice, so it was hard to really hate her. Her demands were so outrageous though. It's definitely been one of our biggest passion segments.
Our show is largely about phones, phones, phones. We work very hard to have our listeners feel like they are part of our COAST community.
10) How would you say listeners would describe you?
I am very passionate about women's health issues, shelter animals, putting away your shopping carts at stores, clearing your unused time off the microwave, I have no filter. Sometimes it's good, sometimes not. I am the worst liar ever. I hate mushrooms and chicken. I don't really like kids. I have a big, distinctive laugh. I laugh at myself a lot, and I do not get embarrassed or offended easily.
After nine and a half years, does waking up at 3:00 a.m. every get easier?
Absolutely NOT! I am a morning person, but I admit that when the first alarm goes off (I have two), I sometimes think I'd rather be fired than have to get up at that moment. Luckily, by the second alarm, I am up and headed to the shower.
How do you prep yourself for your radio shift?
I think the challenge is that there is so much material out there to prep from. Life, what's happening in the community, pop culture, trending, viral topics, and social media.
What has been your station's biggest accomplishment?
We've won several awards, and it's always nice to be recognized by your peers. We also created "The World's Biggest Whoopie Pie" several years ago. It was over 1,000 lbs. We gave out slices for donations and the funds were donated to a local organization that works closely with military families. It went global and we even did an interview with a station in Australia that made newscasts around the world.
What is the most rewarding promotion or activity your station has ever been involved with to benefit the community or a charity?
In October 2005, I had a mammogram on the air as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I was diagnosed with breast cancer a week later. The entire journey and treatments were shared on the air. My doctors were awesome about being on the air to offer facts about my treatments. I considered it cathartic for me to be able to talk about it publicly. I had no idea at the time the impact it had on many of our listeners.
That diagnosis is such a huge fear for so many women. I didn't mean for us to become the "breast cancer" station, but nine years later, I still meet women who mention that time period to me.