10 Questions with ... Joel McElree
November 24, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Currently, I'm the MD for Top 40 Xtreme 107.1 and Classic Hits Super Hits 106.1. And I do afternoons on Xtreme 107.1.
I started as an intern and part-timer with QueenB Radio. I've done mornings, middays and afternoons and taken on the roles of PD and MD in this company. I've also been a part of the creation and launch of two stations, both of which I still program.
I've been lucky to work for the same great company since college. It's a fabulous company that allows for growth within and really takes care of its employees, which is why I've never left.
1) What led you to a career in radio?
I got bit by the radio bug in college, instantly hooked, loved everything about it. But I do remember writing a paper in middle school on radio DJ as a career, so I guess it's been what I've been working towards all along. That, and I cut a commercial in high school and thought it was the coolest thing ever!
2) What makes your station unique?
Being a small market, we are allowed freedoms other stations are not. We have great people working here and our parent company supports us and gives us the tools to succeed. We create and decide everything here in house.
We are able to take chances on music, being able to really help break new artists and songs. Our music mix is completely unique.
We're new ... starting totally from scratch and it's made sure that we always out-hustle everyone in the market.
3) What is your favorite part of the job?
For me it's the music. I get paid to play with music! I love being able to program two different stations every day, get to hear new music first, and help break new artists and talk to all my great record promo friends. And of course I also sit in a room and talk and laugh to myself and I'm not considered crazy!
4) Who would be a "dream guest" to have on your show?
By far, Pearl Jam. I wouldn't sleep for a week in excitement if I knew they were coming on.
5) Do you have a favorite hobby outside of radio?
Pre-baby = going to any and every concert I could go to! I love the live music experience!
Post-baby = anything with my daughter ... being a dad is the greatest thing ever!
6) What music do you listen to when you're not working?
Hard Rock/Metal -- favorites are Sevendust, Nine Inch Nails, Rammstein, Type O Negative, Slipknot ... you get the idea. Favorite of all time is Pearl Jam ... hands down.
7) What is it about our industry that keeps you wanting to do it for a living?
The excitement I get when I debut new music or new artists, knowing it's something totally new and getting my listeners to share in the excitement with me.
Also, for me as a perfectionist, creating a great music sweep in the music logs is the best feeling.
8) What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
There will always be surprises! You never know what will happen in any given day or week. And expect to get that "Radio High" when you hit your post, have a perfect tease or perfect bit, get that phone call saying how much they love the station ... one of the best perks we have!
9) What advice you would give people new to the business?
Be a sponge. Learn everything you can. And not just programming, learn sales, traffic, engineering ... constantly strive to be better. Never settle for just okay. And get involved in your communities as much as you can, which will lead to all types of cool opportunities. And stick with it. It takes time to get better, but when you start to get there, it gets really fun!
10) What's one thing that would surprise many people to learn about you?
That I have worked with my wife, Laura, for almost our entire careers (14 years and counting). I've been told that working couples in radio are a pretty rare breed. We've been able to sucessfully keep work and home separate and stay happily married!
For someone vacationing in your market, what one thing would you say they "must see?"
I don't know if it's a "must see," but we do have the world's largest letter M. Seriously, it's a giant M on a hill side. Google it. It's a really big M. And our local university lights it on fire every year during homecoming.