10 Questions with ... Tessa Hall
August 9, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- 2003-2004: Middays at KIXY/San Angelo, TX
- 2004-2005: Middays/Production Dir. at WYOY/Jackson, MS
- 2005-2007: Middays/APD at KDJE/Little Rock, AR
- 2007: Mornings at KHTT/Tulsa, OK
- 2007-2010: Middays/Webmaster/Asst. MD at WAPE/Jacksonville
- 2010-present: Afternoons at WSGX, MD at KSLZ in St. Louis
1) What led you to a career in radio?
My high school English teacher heard me do the morning announcements and told me I should look into a youth forum featured on the public radio station. Once I started doing that, I begged them to let me do a solo shift. I took the tape of what I did and used it to land my first commercial gig when I went to college.
2) How would you describe the radio landscape in your market?
Listeners are proud that they were born and raised in St. Louis. It's very hard for an "outsider" to break into the community because it's so tight knit. The same goes for any "new" stations or formats. Listeners are fiercely loyal to the station they grew up with, and there are quite a few heritage stations here. The best thing anyone can do to win the hearts of listeners in St. Louis is praise the city as much as possible. After all, who can resist a good dollop of flattery?
3) What makes your station unique? How would you compare it to other stations you've worked at?
We're currently up against practically the entire past staff of the station across town. Local St. Louis personalities and programmers who grew up here don't leave very often. When they do, they almost always find their way back. It makes it a lot easier to judge what your competition might do given their history in the market.
4) What is your favorite part of the job?
I like having an array of duties. My job never gets old. If I get a little more burned out on one aspect, I'm able to divert a little more attention to another. It's a great way to keep me excited to come into work every day.
5) Could you give us a little insight into your on-air staff?
We have a syndicated morning show, and air Ryan Seacrest in middays. Our afternoon jock is live, and he's just about the perfect fit for St. Louis. Curt Copeland is a rabid Cardinals fan, which is practically required to live in St. Louis. He's very good at the "best friend" role he plays on the air, mostly because it's who he really is. Ty Bentli does nights for us. He's tracked out of L.A., and could have been a Premium Choice personality, but enjoys personalizing shows for different stations. He does a terrific job of sounding local. In fact, when I first got to St. Louis I thought he WAS local until I asked why I never saw him in the building.
6) Who is your favorite air personality not on your staff and why do you like them?
Jason Cage in Chicago. I first heard him on the air when I was in Little Rock, AR, and have been trying to steal him away ever since. The markets I tried getting him hired in were all larger than Little Rock, but he only had to wait four years till a top=5 market came calling. Smart man ... that saved on moving expenses, I'm sure.
7) Who would be a "dream guest" to have on your show?
I'd love to have Oprah on. By now she's probably starting to feel a little antsy about not being on the air herself, and would have a ton of pent-up creativity to unleash. Plus, she's got so many connections I could probably find out whatever I wanted about a ton of different celebrities.
8) Do you have a favorite hobby outside of radio?
Is it still a hobby now that I'm making money doing it? I'm big into photography, and one of the reasons I really got into it is that I love shooting shows. An extension of my photography hobby is painting and sketching. They really go hand in hand since no one has the time to sit for portraiture any more.
9) What artist would we be surprised to find on your iPod?
Los del Rio. Yes, I have "The Macarena" on my iPod ... and I'm not ashamed to admit it!
10) What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
A healthy dose of respect goes a long way, no matter whether you're dealing with co-workers or the competition. You never know who you'll end up working with in five years.
For someone vacationing in your market, what one thing would you say they "must see?"
I know you're thinking I'll say The Arch. The Arch is definitely cool, but the real thing to see is the City Museum. It's got a ton of slides all throughout the interior and exterior of the building. There's also an old airplane fuselage, school bus, and fire truck mounted outside that are only accessible by way of rebar catwalks. There are sharp pointy things to get stuck by, you'll end up with rug burns and skinned knees, and you may or may not leave with a few pocketfuls of stagnant water. It's the best time you'll have had in at least five years.