10 Questions with ... Keith "Envius" Elliot
September 27, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I started with that KXJM Portland group of Ebro, Dontay Thomspon, Alexa when I was 18 as a Mixer/On Air Personality. Started in Syndication as Snoop's DJ for "Big Snoop Radio" and as a consultant, writer and producer for NBG Radio Network. I Co-created Ed Lover and Doctor Dre's "The Jumpoff" which aired on WWPR in New York then went to KDAY/Los Angeles then to WMIB/Miami with MC Serch then National with MC Serch on "The Old Skool Show", then created my current projects; Speed Bump Intros and The Mix-A-Lot Show, both Nationally Syndicated.
1. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I was always interested in being on TV or the radio. I actually wanted to be a TV weatherman as funny as it sounds when I was super young but mostly because of the TV element of it. I was always was into music, though. There are old pictures of me at 2 or 3 years old with a turntable. I got serious about being a DJ, in clubs and on the radio, from about 12 on.
2. What got you into radio?
I always was fascinated with radio. To have that many people listening to you, vibing to what you are doing at once was fascinating to me. The fact that I was a mixer and that element could be involved in radio was so dope. I grew up in Portland and we didn't have a Hip Hop station growing up so I remember saving up money for a small radio antenna from Radio Shack and making my dad install it on the roof so I could listen to Kube in Seattle! I remember listening to Scott Lander and Chet Buchanan at KKRZ in Portland and who is now my good homie- Bobby O at KUBE 93. I always had friends who would go to the Bay Area or LA to visit family and would always make them record KYLD or KPWR mixes for me. Growing up and during the early parts of my career Power 106 was a huge influence on me learning what good radio and specifically, mix-shows sounded like.
3. What do you like to do in your spare time?
I live in Miami so I try to take advantage of the amazing beaches and food, a lot of beach! I have been blessed to live in LA and NY but nothing is like Miami. Other than that its sports. To say I'm a sports nut would be selling it short. I also do music management so some of my spare time I'm still in the studio with my clients which really isn't work to me.
4. What was the first thing you noticed that was different from mixing in clubs to mixing on air at KXJM?
Rules and Structure. KXJM and more specifically the dude who really hired me into this business, Mark Mac, taught me structure. I learned things at KXJM that I have never seen anywhere else I have worked. I learned music strings, artist separation, etc. Things that not a lot of stations focus on but all things that make a huge difference in Programming in general. Those KXJM lessons are a major part of my programming with my current projects.
5. When you were programming, producing, and co-hosting Big Snoop Dogg Radio, what surprised you about working closely with Snoop?
I have to shout out my boy Felix who is at 105-7 in Spokane, WA now, who helped me get that gig mixing on that show, he was doing the music for that show when it launched and fought to get me the entire second hour of the show which ended up being all mine Production wise, writing wise and musically. We aired in some big markets including KKBT (92.3 The Beat) in L.A. which did huge things for my career! Working with Snoop was amazing, he had great energy. I also really learned a great deal about maximizing my time as a show Producer with talent via working with Snoop. That show was an absolute blast.
6. You're working with Benztown and you are the creator and Executive Producer of Explicitly Old Skool with Sir Mix-A-Lot. Did you know Mix before starting the show?
I have had a long relationship with Mix and his longtime manager, Ricardo. We all come from the same area. How that show came about is funny. We do a segment on the show everyday called the Mix-A-Lot Chronicles which is a "this day in Hip Hop and Pop Culture History" feature. I wrote that idea in 2010 and at that time we couldn't get anyone to bite. I told Mix at that time that our time would come.
My current business partner Tamiko Fletcher who used to be the VP of Network Productions at ABC then Cumulus Media and I were chatting and Benztown came up. I said we should put the Mix-A-Lot idea in front of them and Chachi, Justin, Masa and the crew instantly got our vision. They have helped bring this project to light and I couldn't be more lucky to work with those guys!
7. What's it like working with a personality like Sir Mix-A-Lot?
I have been blessed to have worked with a couple hip hop legends on the radio in Snoop, my brother MC Serch from 3rd Bass and now Mix-A-Lot and every one of them has been beyond easy to work with, amazing follow through and just great dudes. Mix is on another planet as far as work ethic, he travels constantly yet this show is one of his top priorities. He trusts my experience and knowledge in every area of this show 100% which is an amazing feeling. I tell Mix often I knew he was going to be good on the radio because he's hilarious in general but he's way surpassed my highest expectations. Mix also has a great local team in Seattle in his managers Ricardo and Wael at Zaki-Rose.
8. What's probably the biggest challenge in producing a daily show like Explicitly Old Skool with Sir Mix-A-Lot?
Honestly, I am an organization freak because so much is happening that it runs like a well oiled machine. We have a day I deliver the scripts, Mix always has a deadline to record. We have specific show delivery dates and I make sure everyone is on point constantly. No question doing a daily show and being on some of the big stations we are on we feel pressure to constantly deliver compelling content but Mix and I have such a good rapport that a lot of our best content comes from me mentioning a topic and he just goes off script! We have recently added an all request Friday where I jump on the turntables for the whole hour and the feedback has been amazing! Mix and I are having a great time doing those Friday shows!
9. Aren't you also producing an intro production package for stations? Where did that idea germinate from and what's it all about?
Yes! Speed Bump Intros is my heart and soul. We do customized sound-a-like intros that brand your station and really help you own the records you are playing! We offer it for over 8 formats now. We are currently heard on over 200+ stations. That came from trying to fuse my two worlds of music management and radio together. I have an amazing stable of singers and writers who make Speed Bumps the hit it has become including my writing partner Ryan Wotherspoon who's an amazing partner and even better person.
Customization has been our backbone since day one. Customization is an area I think so many in syndication don't focus on at all. I am constantly talking to all our stations and making sure we are giving each station 4 intros that fit their specific station each month. Speed Bumps really took my career to another level. I went and affiliated the project myself to start and handle a lot of affiliation still. I am beyond blessed to work with Eric, Rich, Jack and Joan at Superadio who I have done tons of projects with and have had a long relationship with. They are the most supportive team I have ever worked with, I literally cannot say enough great things about that team at Superadio. They have blindly supported my vision at times. We are just getting started with Speed Bumps and I couldn't be doing it with a better team than Superadio. PD's If you don't run Speed Bumps, you are slacking!! www.speedbumpintros.com.
10. What's Next?
Personally - Sports radio is an arena I would love to get into. Sports is my passion. The success of Mix-A-Lot and Speed Bumps has opened up some new opportunities for me personally, that I'm excited about.
With myself and my team in general - Continued growth, we have a couple new projects coming down the pipe that I think radio will really dig. We are really focusing on content, everything is content driven these days and we have amazing talent relationships on the music side so we are overloaded with content. We want to keep innovating our current projects as well, my team and I are bursting with ideas! The constantly changing state of radio and the music industry makes many nervous, it makes us excited.
If you weren't in radio/music, what do you think you'd be doing professionally?
Sportswriter. Probably an NBA beat writer or National NBA writer.