10 Questions with ... Chirl Girl
April 21, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
My love of radio and first experience in broadcasting began in Salisbury, NC at the Adult Standards station, WSAT. I was asked to read the names on the "Sick and Shut-In" list at the tender age of nine years old. My official entry into radio was in Chapel Hill doing Top 40 at WCHL and went from there to cover News and Sports at WSTP and playing Beach Music on WRDX. I was recruited away by WSOC 103.7, The #1 Country station in Charlotte, to become their first African-American DJ. I two-stepped and line danced with them for three years and left to work with "The Kevin Cooling Foxx Show" and then went on to co-host and produce "The Breakfast Brothas Morning Show" on the #1 Urban station, WPEG. After several years there, I moved over to their Urban AC, V101.9 to co-host and produce "The Tom Joyner Morning Show" in Charlotte for three years and then, "The Steve Harvey Morning Show." Until recently, the last eight years I had hosted and produced "The Chirl Girl Show" middays on WBAV in Charlotte.
1) What's you're routine before you go on the air?
Preparing for a show is a 24-hour process, because I'm always looking for topics that my listeners will be interested in knowing about. I begin my day by reading inspirational works such as The Daily Word to enrich my spirit. Then I check out the local news to find out what's happening. I make a note of the trending topics on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. And it is necessary to know what the gossips sites are talking about on the daily! When I get to a studio, the first thing I do is go over my music for that day because the music is the reason that people listen to the radio. My goal is always to connect the music to every element of my show. "The Radio Magic" is taking all the information that I've gathered and making it relevant to the music that I am actually playing.
2) How do you approach dealing with the music you play every day?
I approach the music by researching the song and the artist that is currently being played. I provide my audience with more than the basics. I inform them of the artist's upcoming projects. It is important to know when the artist is coming to our town, what they are talking about on Instagram or what was said about them on TMZ! I post on social media a summary of the lineup to let the fans know when their favorite songs are coming up so that they can listen, stream or download the station app in time!
3) Could you name some of the people who have influenced your air work?
Absolutely! I've been very fortunate to have some of the best broadcasters share great information with me! Bill Dollar, who was the multi-award winner for Best Country DJ in America, told me to always speak with strength! He said that when I turn on the mic to speak with such confidence that if I say "It's snowing in July!" that listeners will have to go look out the window to check for themselves! BJ Murphy taught me to speak my "truths" on the air because listeners can hear when someone is genuine. Tom Joyner told me to "Work hard, make a difference and really have fun while you are doing it!" And Helen Little advised me to style my voice to work in any format because you never know where your next opportunity will present itself.
4) Where did you get your air name?
I got my radio name from my Daddy! He's from McAlester, OK and he pronounces my name like it only has one syllable, "Chirl." One day a friend was visiting and she heard him say, "Chirl, girl ... come wash these dishes!" She couldn't hear the comma! And I became 'ChirlGirl!'
5) So when got into commercial radio, was it what you thought it would be like?
Commercial radio was so much more exciting than I imagined! I entered the radio industry after interning in television news. I found that I had more of a passion for the immediate interaction with the audience that radio format provided. I moved from writing the same news story six different ways to interviewing the Ying Yang Twins!
6) You mentioned TV, was that what you originally wanted to go into?
In high school, I participated in WSOC's Pioneer program for two years and learned how to produce a newscast. It was my goal to do news and be the next Diane Sawyer, but that environment wasn't stimulating enough for me to choose as a career.
7) What are the most important elements for anyone going into any area of broadcasting?
One of the most important things that you need to survive in broadcasting is being technically savvy. You need to be able use every program and piece of equipment in the building. That way, you are always ready to produce whatever is needed quickly, and it is mandatory to be able to handle every platform of communication on social media. If you don't have a presence on social media, then you don't exist.
8) How do you see the future of radio?
The future of radio looks bright because the Internet is transforming it into one of the world's leading social networks. Think about it: While the screens on our phones and tablets are getting smaller and smaller, audio is expanding! You can listen and stream your favorite stations and music on every device that you own! The key to radio's success is to continue to produce good content and embrace new technology as an opportunity to expand its reach.
9) What is the funniest thing that ever happened to you in radio?
I was on the air with BJ Murphy and comedian Tone X and we were discussing body piercings. We had the listeners telling us what parts of their body they had pierced. Things took a turn when a caller showed up in the station lobby to show us her piercings! This chick came in the studio, jumped up on the desk, pulled her dress up and showed us that everything on her had a ring in it! The place went bananas!
10) Because of radio, what other opportunities have you been afforded?
Sometimes, my life feels surreal because of all of the amazing things that I have gotten to do! I've broadcast live from The Steve Harvey Neighborhood Awards six times in Las Vegas and Atlanta! I've broadcast live from The Soul Beach Music Festival in Aruba. I've done my show live from The Turks and Caicos Music Festival! I've walked the red carpet at the Trumpet Awards! I got an opportunity to interview President Obama when he was running for office. I've hosted parties with Nephew Tommy, Magic Johnson, Anthony Hamilton, Chubb Rock and Mr. Cheeks. I've even had a chance to do a walk-on in a Tyler Perry play! And somewhere in Charlotte, there's a bus with my face on it! I've been very blessed!
Name the people who have mentored you?
There have been many people who have helped me. One of my favorite mentors was Louise Roundtree, the former head librarian at Livingstone College in Salisbury, NC. She was the first person to put me on a stage and tell me to talk. She impacted the lives of thousands of students at that school and in her community. And my Dad, William E. Patterson, Sr., a retired Army Master Sergeant, because he always told me that I could do anything that I wanted and he always had my back.
Which profession would you have gone into had it not been radio?
Prior to radio, I was a Fraud Investigator for a major bank. I probably would have continued doing that in a teaching capacity. Either way, I would still be standing in the front of a room talking.