10 Questions with ... Valerie Anderton
June 20, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- WKDF & WGFX/Nashville, TN (1996 to 1999)
- WBUZ & WQZQ/Nashville, TN (1999-2002)
- WNFZ & WVRX/Knoxville, TN (2003-2014)
- WJXB/Knoxville, TN (2014-Present)
1) What Got You Interested In Radio?
Ok, I know this may sound a little on the cliché side, but I just always wanted to do radio. I'm sure I was intrigued (and influenced) by some Nashville DJs, like Coyote McCloud. There was a split second where I wanted to be a veterinarian, but then I realized there was math involved. I don't do math. #eek I didn't really have to think about it, I knew that this was the career path I wanted to take.
2) What makes your market unique? How does this compare to other markets you have worked at?
One of the reasons we're unique is geographically. Knoxville is in a big 'ole valley, surrounded by the Cumberland & Great Smoky Mountains. Also, we're a medium market, but I feel like we have more of a small market loyalty from our audience.
3) What do you view as the most important issue facing radio today?
An important issue is just standing out from the crowd. There are just so many ways to get your brand and message out there. Yea, it's a wonderful thing, but it can sometimes be tough to cut through the clutter. You don't want to bombard or annoy people to the point of tuning you out, sometimes literally. You've got to do it right to get your brand and message across to the right audience.
4) How are you using social media to market your radio station and your show?
How are we NOT using social media these days? Social media is a huge part of everything we do. It's essential, whether I'm on the air, at a remote, running errands and meeting people or just sitting at home, I'm always trying to find a way to engage and connect with people.
5) How do you stay in tune with your audience?
Well, these days, I am my audience, which wasn't the case for so many years. I was so used to rock radio and prepping for men that it was a hard habit to break for this format. It's much easier to stay in tune now, since I have many of the same interests. I also try to talk to listeners, coworkers and friends about what they like, what they want and what's important to them.
6) What is the biggest change that you'd like to see happen in the business?
I'd like to see a change to the crazy system/ formula that creates our ratings. We don't have people meters and I'm not sure that will ever happen for this market.
7) How are you using new technologies in your personal life to listen to music, and what observations have you made about how today's listeners use technology?
I like everything from Judas Priest to Jack Johnson and in between. I use just about any technology available. I guess it depends on where I am or what I'm doing. We love some Amazon "Alexa" in our house. I'm still old school, though. I love to put on an album or a CD while we're cooking dinner or I'll listen to our station then, just to get a different perspective. Today's listeners? I think they just want what's most convenient.
8) Who do you consider your radio mentors?
I still remember things that my college professor, David Von Palko (aka. "Dr. V") said to me at Austin Peay while I was on WAPX there. I think about his advice every single day. Kidd Redd, at WKDF/Nashville gave me my start and some good advice. He helped build my confidence. As for the present, I'd have to go with the boss man, my current PD Shane Cox. We've worked together for a pretty long time in two different formats. I know I can go to him for anything.
9) What is the most rewarding promotion you've ever been a part of?
Ooooh, that's so tough. I was a part of a couple of "Get a Life" promotions, with prizes that continued throughout the entire year. That was cool! We also did a $25,000 furniture giveaway on WJXB that was very rewarding because the winner really, really needed it.
10) What advice would you give people new to the business?
It's the oldest advice ever, but it's true: Get your foot in the door. You need to get in that building, doing anything and everything, be seen and be willing to work the hours that nobody else will.
What do you do in your spare time?
My husband and I go to a lot of shows. We both love any live music and it gives us a great excuse to travel. Also, I'm a DIY'er and I love to work on projects for the house.
What's one thing that would surprise many people to learn about you?
That I briefly thought about going into a branch of the military. It was merely a split second. I wouldn't last a day. Ha! Ha!
Tell us what music we would find on your playlist right now and what is it you enjoy about that particular selection?
I listen to everything, depending on my mood. I was obsessed with Taylor Swift's "1989" for quite a bit. It's THE best pop record I've ever heard. I'm still not sick of those songs!
What was the biggest gaffe you've made on air? (dead air ... forget a mic was still on ... etc.)
Um ... yeaaaaa, I've forgotten a mic was on a time or two, but only once was it really awful (in college radio).
Who is your best friend in the business?
My best friend in the business is Mike Creel, aka "Squeegie" on WBUZ/Nashville. We don't get to talk often, but he's my favorite person to talk radio with and bounce ideas around.
Do you have any good stalker stories? Misty requests? "Fatal Attractions?"
I have a few, but one that really sticks out. I went by "Trixie" when I got to Knoxville for 94.3 (then Extreme Radio) and I had a guy who would send me all of this Speed Racer stuff and then one day, he sent me a DVD. When you opened it, it was like you were looking down the barrel of a gun. SUPER creepy.