10 Questions with ... Amber Stone
September 30, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I started my career seven years ago interning at Citadel/Detroit (WDRQ, WDVD) in the production and programming departments, while attending Specs Howard School of Media Arts. Before graduating, I was hired on as a Promotions Assistant. I eventually got my big break in 2010, cracking the mic for the first time on WDVD July 4th weekend. From there, with a little nudging from one of my mentors Roxanne Steele (midday personality at 98.7 AMP Radio Detroit) I went full-time at WZRT/Rutland, VT, which was a perfect move for me! The past three years have been filled with connecting to listeners, community involvement, and becoming a household name. I was even able to launch my own popular local TV show "Amber Stone Show." In addition to that, for the past year I have been part time at WODS/Boston. Thanks so much to Joe Breezy and Dan Mason for this amazing opportunity.
1) How would you describe your first radio gig?
My situation was pretty unique and very rewarding. While I finished up my broadcasting program at Specs Howard School of Media Arts, I landed a production internship at WDVD/Detroit with Brian Figula. (now PD at KOIT) who even since then has become one of my dearest mentors. Soon after, I was hired to be a part-time Promotions Assistant and began beating down the door of Byron Harrell (Now Dir./Music Programming, PD KVIL-KLUV/Dallas-/Fort Worth). I scored my first on-air shift July 4th weekend and NEVER missed a commercial spot that night, but did say "Happy Memorial Day!"
2) What led you to a career in radio?
In middle school, I felt a bit like an outsider. I wasn't comfortable in my own skin, and didn't quite "fit in" at school. The one thing I did know was I had this desire to become something big. I used to drive my family crazy reading words off the TV screen from Price is Right, pretending to be an announcer. Then at night I would listen to my pretty awesome boom box and make mix tapes. I felt a connection to radio personalities. It almost blocked out the bullying I endured at school. Looking back, I was that kid that I try to inspire today. The ones who may get bullied feel as if they don't belong, or are emotionally struggling. I wanted to inspire people ... and so far I am living out that dream.
3) What's the coolest promotion you've been involved with recently?
I would say Z97.1's 25th Luau Birthday Party! My PD, Kwame Dankwa, and I pretty much spent all summer planning this massive event. My station is a heritage station that's truly loved in the community. We wanted to create something the whole area would be talking about for a long time. The station threw an exclusive invite only bash on Lake Bomoseen (if you're ever in Vermont it's a must-see spot!). A fabulous laser light show, Boston-based producer/DJ Joe Bermudez and up-and-coming folk singer Ashley Sofia performed and we ended the night with fireworks. Our listeners are still talking about it to this very day, which means we accomplished our goal. We wanted an event that WZRT could say thank you for the constant love and support.
4) Who is your favorite air personality not on your staff and why do you like them?
I would have to say Donna Saker from CKBE/Montreal. I stumbled upon her when taking a trip across the border last Summer. Donna encompasses everything a successful woman in radio is. She is smooth and most importantly ... real. You can tell the listeners connect with her on a deep level. She doesn't just show up, do a show and go home ... it's her passion! Not only is Donna a great radio personality, she has fantastic style as well! I can relate to her. We get involved with community work, inspire our listeners, and love those pretty little things called shoes. Thanks, Donna, for being a solid talent who inspires women!
5) "Local local local" has always been radio's mantra. How do you keep your station visible and involved in the community?
We have it more challenging with "local" due to WZRT being a 50,000-watt station. We definitely don't let that stop us. If there are any major incidents/breaking news going on in the surrounding areas, that's where social media has become crucial for us and our listeners. We have no problem grabbing badges and the station vehicle and being visible to listeners in their towns. I'm heavily active in our community with events. Listeners know that they can reach out to us to either post on Facebook about an upcoming fundraiser/event, or if schedules allow we show up and support the event. So many stations have moved away from "live and local" when -- IF the content and personalities are entertaining, it can be so beneficial for your product.
6) Do you have a favorite hobby outside of radio?
Over the past three years, fitness has become another passion of mine. I work out three to five days a week. In this business, you can get caught up in the stress. You have to have a positive outlet, and fitness is the perfect example. Oh, and come on ... I am a woman ... of course shopping for unique fashion is up there as a hobby!
7) What music do you listen to when you're not working?
Believe it or not I LOVE Rap and Old School R&B. Depending on the mood, it switches between the two. What can I say ... that Detroit soul just flows through me.
8) What is it about our industry that keeps you wanting to do it for a living?
The chance to connect with people and help them get through their day. You have two options, you can show up, do a show and go home, or show up, leave an impression on listeners and be remembered. Don't get me wrong; there were many moments I thought "Wow, what am I doing in this crazy business?" However, at the end of the day, once you get bit with the radio bug, it's with you forever. I love connecting to my listeners. My goal is for them to feel they always have a friend they can count on to brighten their day. It's been a long and empowering journey so far. I have learned so much about myself, and experienced tremendous growth. This truly is my calling in life, and I'm blessed to be able to say that.
9) What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
WORK HARD! Radio is a unique business to be in. It's not for everybody, but if you take on this journey ... like RuPaul said, "You better work." Hard work and determination will get you to places you want to go. I also have to mention networking. If you don't put yourself out there, nobody will know you exist.
10) What would you like to do to save radio from its "dying-industry" image?
Steal all the new technology away? (Just kidding.) No, I would say continue to prove why radio is better than a digital dash, iPad or CD. Live and local, baby! As much as people are connected to their technology, they still want a familiar voice to stay connected to. Groom talent to be the best of the best. Invest in people to make your product profitable. The power of radio is a beautiful thing; give individuals the opportunity to make that come alive.
Name artist/act (living or dead) you'd love to meet and why?
She's not a musician, but an icon ... Audrey Hepburn. I respect what she did as an artist. Audrey was a humanitarian, and had impeccable fashion sense! She was a beautiful and talented woman whose work lives on!