10 Questions with ... Diane Mitchell
August 13, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I started my radio career 25 years ago at 89.3 WRDV in Warminster, PA. My first paid radio job was at WPST/Trenton, where I worked for nine years before accepting the morning show co-host position at WBBO/Manahawkin. One year later, I started my current job as co-host and producer of the "Mike & Diane Morning Show" on WAYV/Atlantic City, and I have been here for 15 years.
1) How would you describe your first radio gig?
My first gig at WRDV was the best education in radio I could have ever gotten. The station didn't have enough money to pay the bills, so staff members would pay "tuition" to do air shifts. I walked into the station with no experience and they put me on the air immediately. I did every shift possible and even hosted my own medical talk show. I learned much more about radio on the job than I did in any of my college classes.
2) What led you to a career in radio?
I always knew deep down that I wanted to be a broadcaster because as a kid, I constantly "interviewed" my parents and sister with straws as my "microphone"... and it would drive them crazy. I changed my college major from Accounting to Communications after volunteering to answer phones at the Philadelphia broadcast of the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon. I was sitting next to radio and television personalities and I was fascinated. I thought they were the most interesting people I had ever met, so I wanted to be part of it.
3) "Local, local, local" has always been radio's mantra. How do you keep your station visible and involved in the community?
Several of the morning shows in our market are syndicated, so we have the edge that we can get out there, meet our listeners and get involved. We are affiliated with several charities, including the Shirley Mae Breast Cancer Assistance Fund and United Way, so we participate in their fundraising events each year. Since we're located in Atlantic City, big headliners come to town most weekends, so we often have the advantage of either presenting a show or having our promo crew set up at the venues. Plus, we live in the area, so we are shopping at the same stores, eating at the same restaurants and going to the same hair salons as our listeners.
4) What is your favorite part of the job?
My favorite part of the job is doing my hourly Celebrity Dirt reports. I am a walking resource for everything you need to know about celebrities - who they are married to, their kids' names and ages, their favorite food, etc. All of that info only comes in handy when there is a celebrity question on Jeopardy (lol). I love doing "research" for my reports - watching a lot of TV (especially The Real Housewives,) going to see new movies and reading at least 20 magazines a week. It's fun going to work when there's a big celebrity story in the news.
5) What is the most challenging part of the job?
Getting up early is a challenge, but the most challenging part of the job is coming up with new things to talk about each day. We have been doing the show for 15 years, so some days I think we have said it all, but then life always gives you something new to talk about. Mike and I both take notes all day, and our lives are the show prep. We have to be extremely observational, because the smallest thing we see or encounter can make for a great topic that our listeners relate to.
6) What is the coolest promotion you have EVER been involved with?
The coolest promotion was with WAYV when Mike and I lived on the roof of Sam's Club in Pleasantville, NJ for three nights to raise money for the children of the September 11th victims one month after the attacks. We set up tents on the roof and broadcasted live all day. So many of our listeners came to Sam's to support us and bring us coffee and donuts, and everyone really came through for us with donations.
7) Who is your favorite air personality not on your staff and why do you like them?
Hands down, Howard Stern has been my favorite for 25 years. Most people don't give him the credit he deserves because he makes it sound effortless, like he's just "hanging out." It takes an incredible amount of talent and preparation to be able to talk for five hours straight and move the show along like he does, and to do it for so many years.
8) Who would be a dream guest to have on your show?
Besides Bradley Cooper, so I can ask him on a date? Seriously, you can call me a nerd - Barry Manilow would be my dream guest. Yes, I'm a "Fanilow" and it's on my bucket list to meet him.
9) What was your favorite station to listen to when you were a kid?
WCAU (Hot Hits 98) in Philadelphia ... I used to call Terry "Motor Mouth" Young on the request line every night when I was 13 years old.
10) What advice would you give to people new to the business?
My best advice is to just do it ... get on the air somewhere, whether it's on a college radio station or community station. Take every shift you can get, even if you're not being paid, and make yourself available when they need you. Also, internships are great to get your foot in the door. It's tough to break into the business, so do everything you can to set yourself apart from the others.
For someone vacationing in your market, what one thing would you say they must see?
The Quarter at Tropicana Casino ... great restaurants and shops ... and if you're there on a Friday or Saturday night and feel like dancing, head to Boogie Nights nightclub at Trop - '70s and '80s music, disco ball, characters in costume, artist impersonators - a lot of fun!