10 Questions with ... Tabatha Levrault
May 14, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- Part-time/Weekends: WVRV (101.1 The River)/St. Louis 1998-2002
- APD/Middays: WKIB (Mix 96.5)/Cape Girardeau, MO 2002-2004
- Midday's then promoted to PD/Afternoons in 2006: WLTO (Hot 102)/Lexington, KY 2004-2012
- PD/Afternoons: KKSW (105.9 Kiss FM)/Topeka-Lawrence, KS 2012-present
1) How would you describe your first radio gig?
During my last semester at Lewis & Clark's radio program, I landed an internship at WVRV (101.1 The River). The last week of my internship, the afternoon jock (David Myers) threw me on-air to run a contest giving away Tori Amos tickets. Talk about being nervous! LOL! He told me to keep the aircheck and give it to our PD/OM. I did. The next week our OM (Allan Fee) called me in and hired me on part-time! I did everything I could to gain as much experience as possible. I worked overnights and weekends, ran the board during live broadcasts and more. I was so fortunate to work and learn from some of the best in St. Louis!
2) What led you to a career in radio?
Growing up, radio was all I listened to. I had a strong connection to music as far back as I can remember. I spent many hours in my room listening to the radio. When I entered college, I knew I wanted to study something in communications. I did newspaper, but I found it boring. I interned at a TV station, but was very camera-shy. Then I tried radio, and it just clicked!
3) How would you describe the radio landscape in your market?
Very unique and challenging. We're a little over a year old. The frequency was formally KLZR 105.9 The Lazer (Hot AC) for years and became 105.9 Kiss FM (Top 40) January of 2012. 105.9 Kiss FM is a 100,000-watt radio station that reaches East into a good part of Kansas City and west past Topeka, KS. We are heard in two radio markets. The bar is set for us to have a major-market sound, yet our ratings are based out of a smaller market. I have to keep a healthy balance between the two markets. KC has two Top 40s and a Hot AC in the market. I love the competition from that side of our signal. It keeps me active and growing!
4) What is your favorite part of the job?
The music and making a difference in the community. Perhaps it's playing a song that helps lift a person's spirit or helping to organize an event raising money for a charity. I love helping and connecting with people.
5) What is the most challenging part of the job?
There is so much to do! The tough part is doing it with limited resources. With good time management, training the right people and having a great attitude, it can be done. Focus on the solution, not the problem.
6) If you could add one full-time position to your budget right now, what would it be?
A Digital Media Director. All media is evolving to a digital platform. Radio stations are not only exposed to listeners within their signal, but to the world online. It's not just about having a website and a stream, it's about communicating in real time with posts, texts, pictures and video. This is a full-time job in itself and another form of revenue.
7) What was your favorite station to listen to when you were a kid?
Growing up listening to St. Louis radio, I was exposed to some great radio stations like KSHE 95, KWK and Magic 108 (back in the day). My favorite was KHTR Hit Radio 103.3! I still remember being a kid and winning a KHTR T-shirt. I wore that T-shirt out! LOL!
8) What music do you listen to when you're not working?
I love listening to The Beatles, Classic Hits (K-Tel), '80s New Wave, Disco/Funk, and Classic Alternative. My hobby is to drink a glass of wine and go online and research old charts from the '70s, '80s and '90s and look for those "Oh Wow!" songs I haven't heard in years.
9) What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
Appreciate the good times, this too shall pass. Be strong through the tough times, this too shall pass. Radio is ever-changing, which is part of why I find this career so appealing.
10) What advice you would give people new to the business?
Radio is a business. The sooner you realize this the easier you'll adjust.
Never forget why you got into radio. Write down three reasons why you love radio and keep it tucked away so you can look back at it when times get tough. It'll help refuel your passion.
Be prepared to live the radio lifestyle. It's not a 9-to-5 job with your weekends off. It's like being a doctor on call. You never know when the station may be off air and you have to come in. Or there's a major storm and you have to go on air and keep the public informed.
Name the artist/act (living or dead) you'd love to meet and why?
I would love to meet Sir Paul McCartney. It would be cool to meet a Beatle! Plus, I'm a huge Wings fan! Paul is a musical genius and legend.