10 Questions with ... Shelley Wade
May 25, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
TWITTER: @ShelleyWade INSTAGRAM: @TheOneAndOnlyShelleyWade
I started my career in my hometown of Houston. KTSU was my college station, and KMJQ was where I started my professional radio career as a part-timer. KBXX was where I landed my first full-time job on the air. I did middays there and then mornings. I landed my dream job at Z100/New York in 2001 where I was on the air for 12 years. I feel like I became a true grownup there. I left New York City two years ago and I moved out west. I now do middays at KSSX (95.7 KISS-FM)/San Diego, and I can also be heard on KBIG (104.3 MYfm)/Los Angeles on the weekends. I've actually been on MYfm since I was in New York City. (Fun fact ...when I was on the air at Z100 New York and 104.3 MYfm Los Angeles at the same time, Ryan Seacrest and I were the only two jocks in the country on the air in New York City and Los Angeles at the same time. Of course, he was making millions of dollars more than I was, but it's still a fun fact. LOL!
1) It's been two years since you left Z100 in New York to move out west. You seem to be doing well professionally, but how are you settling in and acclimating yourself to our weather and the Southern California lifestyle?
Yes, I'm doing well professionally ... I'm really happy with how my life is going in Southern Cali.
It's really unfair how gorgeous it is here and how beautiful the weather is most days. It really is an idyllic lifestyle for me at this time in my life. I would never say that I wouldn't go back to New York City, but I'm happy in Southern California right now. I lead a very serene and drama-free existence. I haven't started surfing just yet, but I do go on the occasional hike up a non-threatening mountain. LOL! I feel very happy.
2) In addition to your show on iHeart Radio you've also been doing some TV spots recently. Can you tell us how these appearances came about?
I've actually been dipping my toes into the TV waters for years now. I can be been seen regularly on national TV. I recently appeared on CNN to discuss First Lady Michelle Obama's much talked about commencement speech at Tuskegee University. If you missed me on CNN and want to see some of my appearances on "The Talk" on CBS, you can watch at www.ShelleyWade.com.
3) Please tell us about your new podcast "Success Boulevard"?
I co-host the "Success Boulevard" podcast with Director-Producer-Author-Attorney Nathan Hale Williams.
We've been friends since our New York City days. "Success Boulevard" is another creative outlet for me to express my ideas and opinions. We sit with celebrities, tastemakers and other professionals to discuss their ideas of what success means, professionally and personally, and we ask them to share their journey to success.
4) You recently had a chance to interview legendary actress Jenifer Lewis on your show. Can you tell us what you learned about her?
The latest chapter of the podcast features our interview with legendary actress Jenifer Lewis. Jenifer is one of Hollywood's most familiar faces, with more than 300 appearances in film and television. Known as the "Black Mother of Hollywood," Jenifer currently guest stars on the hit show "black-ish" on ABC, in the recurring role of "Ruby."
During her visit to "Success Boulevard," Jenifer shared her inspirational life story, her advice for aspiring actors, and her experience with bipolar disorder, which is timely since May in "Mental Health Awareness Month." You can listen and subscribe to our "Success Boulevard" podcast on iTunes.
5) Who are some of the other interesting celebrities that you've interviewed recently?
We recently interviewed the cast of the movie "The Wedding Ringer" (Kevin Hart, Josh Gad and Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting) and held a special screening of movie for hundreds of marines and their families at MCAS/Miramar here in San Diego. It was an honor for me to host the screening and to interview the stars of the movie before a live audience of our military members on the military base.
6) How do you prepare yourself for an important interview and how to you prep for your show in general?
Like most jocks, my entire life is show prep. Everything I do, see, and hear can end up on the air.
Also, I keep up with all things pop culture with precision focus ... movies, music, TV, celebrities, social media, website, magazines, friends, and family members. I'm often asked to appear on TV to comment on pop culture topics, so I try to stay ready so I won't have to get ready.
As far as interviews go, sure, I check out what the artists and celebrities are Tweeting, Instagramming, and Snap Chatting. But what's most interesting to me in any interview is the conversation of it. So I prep myself by knowing what the artist is up to and having all the particulars of their current projects, but I mostly try to listen to what they're saying to me so that we have an organic conversation that's also entertaining.
7) How are you using social media to interact with your listeners?
I keep my followers in the know about what's going on with me on social media. Whether I'm on the radio, backstage at a TV show, getting my Zen on at the beach, getting my hair did, or visiting my family in Houston ... I'm talking about it on social media.
For whatever reason, I've decided to let my finger nails grow. So I've been sharing the pics with listeners on social media. The last time I did an appearance on "The Talk" on CBS, actress Tracee Ellis Ross approached me backstage and asked to look at my hands because my nails looked so good on TV. I was soooo excited and I couldn't wait to share that news with everybody on social media. LOL!
8) Who is the most amazing talent you've worked with?
Geez, I have worked in such amazing markets ...Houston, NYC, Los Angeles, San Diego. There are so many amazingly talented people I've worked with that I can't begin to name them all.
But I will give a special shout out to Jimbo (Jim Kovacik) who's on The Madd Hatta Morning Show at KBXX in Houston. Not only did Jim and I work together for years at The Box, but we've been writing partners for years too. In fact, we have a movie script that we've been working on for years that we're working towards getting into production. Jim's one of the most creative people I've ever met.
9) Who are some of the people who helped you to achieve success as a broadcast personality, and who gave you your first big break in the business?
Again, there are too many people to mention. But the names that stand out for me immediately include Rick Roberts at KTSU, who taught me my foundation in radio in college. Bill Travis was very instrumental in helping me launch my professional radio career at KMJQ. He taught me many lessons and he helped me in so many ways. Ron Atkins gave me my first professional job. Robert Scorpio gave my first full time job. In fact, I call "Scorp" my "radio dad" because he gave me so many of my first big breaks. And he's someone I'm in touch with regularly. Sharon Dastur and Tom Poleman gave me my job at Z100 New York and were responsible for me achieving my lifetime dream of becoming a success in New York City. Andrew Jeffries has always been supportive and on #TeamShelley and I love being a member of the MYfm Los Angeles family and working for him. John Peake brought me to the West Coast where my amazing radio career continues. I can't thank them (and the countless other people who helped me along the way) enough.
10) What is the one truth that has held constant in your career?
Dreams come true! I'm a big dreamer and I believe that every dream that I have will come true ... at the right time.
What advice would you give people new to the business?
Getting your big break was easier when I started in radio. What I'd like to say to people new to the business is that although it may seem like an uphill journey, it's still a journey that is completely worthy of being embarked upon. Things don't always happen over night, but if you stick to it and put the hard work in, it pays off. Network with others and reach out to programmers even when they're not currently looking to fill a position. If you send your audio at a time when the whole industry is sending their audio, there's a chance you might get lost in the shuffle. But if you send your audio at times when there's no gig to be filled, the programmer may have time to take a listen to it and get to know you. That's how I always did it. Never give up on your dreams.
What do you do in your spare time?
Spare time? What's that? LOL! I love leading a very leisurely lifestyle. I work a lot, so that's not always possible. But when it is, I like doing drama-free things. I love sitting and looking at the ocean. I love smelling the roses and looking at the tulips. I love having dinner and cocktails with friends. I LOVE going to special wine dinners. I love seeing live comedy and live music. I also love vegging out at home and watching TV and movies.
Who is your best friend in the business?
Believe it or not, my sister ... and she is not even in the business! All of my siblings studied radio and television because our high school was a school of communications. We all could've ended up in radio, but I was the only one who pursued it. My sister is my biggest supporter. Everyday when she gets to work, she pulls up iHeart radio on her computer and she listens to my entire show all the way from Houston. She'll text me when I'm playing a song she loves. She'll text me when I did a sucky break. She'll text me when I did a great break. She's my best friend in this and I value her unconditional support. Really, my whole family loves and supports me unconditionally. It's really amazing!
What is the biggest change that you'd like to see happen in the business?
I'm a jock through and through, so I'm always for anything that supports the upward mobility, the fair payment and the sustainability of the regular jock. Not just the superstar jocks, but the lesser known jocks as well.
What is the most rewarding promotion or activity you have ever been involved with to benefit the community or a charity?
I was new to New York City when 9/11 happened. I don't have to remind everyone of the tragic the events of that day. What stands out to me as the most rewarding radio activity I've been involved in was being on air in the aftermath of the events of September 11th. Not only were my fellow Z100 jocks and I able to be those familiar and comforting voices that listeners were able to tune in to while trying to rebuild life, but we were also able to help the first responders get the help they needed.
At the time, our offices were on the Hudson River. So our Promotions team would ferry over to Ground Zero and talk to the first responders about what they needed, then get back to us with those needs and we would announce on air what kinds of donations our listeners could contribute. We were the line of communication from the first responders at Ground Zero to our listeners.
We also went to vigils and events honoring those we lost. Instead of sitting back and feeling helpless, everyone just wanted to pitch in and help. So from those horrific events of 9/11, came lots of beautiful acts of compassion in the aftermath and it was very inspiring to be a part of it all.
Tell us what music we would find on your phone or MP3 player right now and what is it you enjoy about that particular selection?
I love all kinds of music and I always have. Lately, "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" has been on repeat for me. That whole album is freaking amazing. But listen, I'll go from listening to Kanye West, to Prince, to Nat "King" Cole and everything in between. I'm crazy like that!
What was the biggest gaffe you've made on air?
I don't generally curse, so I've never had the fear that I'd slip up and curse on air. But I did fall asleep a few times and I accidentally had dead air when I was doing overnights. LOL! Hey, I'm not a night owl. The struggle was real!
What's the best piece of advice anyone's ever given you? The worst?
The worst advice...I've ALWAYS hated for someone to tell me to listen to someone else for examples of what to do or how to sound. I've never wanted to sound like someone else. I'm Shelley...that's who I wanna sound like. So the advice I'd give people is to do you! The best advice? Isn't something that someone's given me, but that I've come to learn over time. And that's to be confident that what's truly meant for you will happen. For example...If I don't get a gig, I've learned not to be heartbroken about it because if it were meant for me, I would've gotten it. Keep it movin. I've learned that when I find myself banging my head up against a brick wall or spinning my wheels and getting nowhere, that's not something that's working out organically and probably isn't something that's meant for me-at least not at that this particular time. The things that were meant to happen in my life have ALWAYS worked out seamlessly and organically. That's not to say that I didn't put the hard work in, but that it happened more organically because it was meant to be. I'd also urge people not to look at others and envy what they've got or what they're doing. Their life trajectory has nothing to do with you. Your energy is put to much better use going after your dreams than envying those who are achieving theirs.