10 Questions with ... Rachel Steele
January 7, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I started as a weekend jock in 2001 on CBS's 92.3, Xtreme Radio in Cleveland. I was promoted to nights, 7p-12a. We then re-branded ourselves as WKRK (92.3 KRock) and I did middays. The station eventually went jockless, and in Dec 2008, I went home! On my radio hiatus, I started a DJ company. In June 2012, I accepted the Music Director/Afternoon Drive position at WLFM
1. How did you become interested in radio?
I have been interested in radio since I was a kid. I've always loved many different genres of music, and always enjoyed the mystery of the person talking.
2. How did you get involved with this new station?
I worked for Chris Maduri for several years when he was the Cleveland Market Manager for CBS. He is one of three owners of Cleveland's Sound, and filled me in on the opportunity.
3. Tell us about the unusual way you have acquired a signal to broadcast to Cleveland.
We carry the audio of low-power channel 6 on the 87.7FM dial. When it wasn't being used for television programming, the partners saw an opportunity to purchase the channel and put it to good use. If you still have an analog television, channel 6 displays our logo and pictures of the staff.
4. In what ways is the station focusing in on the Cleveland community?
Everybody on staff was born and raised in Cleveland, so we're able to relate to our audience. Many local business owners or local people of interest have stopped by the station to cut station IDs that we air on a consistent basis. We're locally owned and operated, and want to show our support for other local businesses.
5. What do you on the air for local artists?
On Sunday nights, we feature a popular local music show called the "Innersanctum."
Cleveland musicians are spotlighted from 9-11p.
6. What are some of your biggest challenges as a new station?
We broadcast from the 4th floor of the Cleveland Agora. When we started, the room was empty. Eventually equipment, computers, all the good stuff started arriving, but we had to get it up and running. We're still working out kinks.
And not only are we a new format in the market, we're also a brand new dial position. We don't have a frequency or call letters that people already recognize, but on the flip side, we don't have a stereotype.
7. What is your typical day like?
As soon as I arrive at the office, I begin working on music. I'm still expanding the library and trying to keep things fresh. I'm on the air at 3p, so I also have to find time to fit in show prep. Basically my day revolves around listening to music. Best job I could ask for.
8. How would you describe the music on the station?
It's a Triple A and Alt hybrid. The music is eclectic, upbeat and different than other Cleveland stations. We play a lot of songs from the '90s, dip into the '80s, and also touch on the '00s. You could tune in and hear Nirvana, Sheryl Crow, the Lumineers, INXS, Tom Petty, Foo Fighters or the Clash.
9. How much interaction do you have with record labels so far?
Some. Working in the Cleveland market previously, I have the advantage of knowing a lot of the reps. I'm just working with them in a different capacity.
10. If you wanted to completely change careers today, what would you do?
Definitely still something to do with music!
Last non-industry job:
Computer software support for a division of Harley-Davison that is based out of Cleveland.
First record ever purchased:
When I was 8, my mom bought me the Billy Ocean Suddenly tape. I was obsessed with "Caribbean Queen." She got me a purple cassette case that held six tapes and it said "Cassettes to Go" in pink on the cover. I was really proud of it.
MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice
Favorite Band Of All-Time:
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time away from work?
I have two boys, ages six and three, so we find lots of silly things to do!