10 Questions with ... Larry Steele
April 19, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Here's a quick journey of my on-air, programming and management career, which started at WNOX/Knoxville TN, WHBQ/Memphis TN, WMJX/Miami, KMJM/St. Louis, WDIA/Memphis, WVEE/Atlanta, WZHT/Montgomery AL, WTMP/Tampa FL, WHJX Jacksonville FL. (The rest of where I've worked is locked up in safe somewhere for good.)
1) You are always a step ahead of the game; could you share with us what you are doing now?
I have the privilege of training and overseeing the next generation of broadcasters, young people who are anxious to get their feet wet in the business. At Bethune Cookman University, we have commercial News/Talk station WELE 1380 The Cat. Teaching them the right way is important.
2) How did this new opportunity come about?
What's interesting is the former owner donated the station to Bethune Cookman University with the understanding that they keep it local in programming, Lynn Thompson, VP/Intercollegiate Athletics who was over the search committee, called and asked if I would be interested in the job. I said yes
3) What does a typical work day look like for you?
I was up at 4:45a. I've learned a new craft; I've been doing local news, preparing three newscasts for morning drive. At 10a, I meet with the morning show producer. Campus meetings, counsel with students on projects, air, production etc. It's full day everyday
4) If you could only allow five people into your lifeboat, who would they be?
My wife Deborah; she's a praying woman who knows the Lord and is a "ride or die" chick; she could hurt a shark. Me'Chaun, Inza and Ashlee my daughters, all computer whizzes. They would Facetime the Coast Guard and track the Coast Guard helicopter or cutter until they get there to rescue us. Ashlee would tell them to hurry the H@# up. Last, but not least, The Dollar Man-Pastor Creflo Dollar! He can talk his way out of anything! He also provides great words of encouragement to me daily.
5) What are your biggest challenges with your current job?
Getting more diversity in our programming. Having different programs of different cultures has been a slight challenge, but we have made great strides in this area. Also looking to increase more revenue in the months to come.
6) How do you plan to utilize some of the relationships you have made in commercial radio with where you are now?
A lot; our station engineer died recently, luckily right up the road in Jacksonville I was able to call a Chief Engineer Jerry Smith who I had worked with eight years ago; he came down installed our new 5K transmitter and has done a marvelous job in helping get the technical aspect of the station right.
7) We want to hear about every mentor and persons who have meant something to your career and what they contributed, would you share this with us?
Eddie Roy, who gave me my first job; Mike Beach for making me get control of the English language; Scott McCloud, who told me I could be the best! A Living Legend John Long, who paved the way for my success. Superjock Dickie Do Edwards, my hero! ... who taught me the art of sounding good on the radio, "It's an art" Thanks! Scottie Andrews, who preached morning drive discipline. Mitch Faulkner, my friend and brother for sharing his production secrets. Linda Fructuoso, who stuck with me through the good and bad times. The Dr. Jerry Boulding, who made sure I learned Arbitron/Nielson. And this guy named Sam Weaver helped along the way, too.
8) Regardless of format, who are your top-three morning shows of all time?
John Mason in the morning 105.9 Detroit; this cat is incredible, naturally funny and his mechanics are great! Back in the day, KFRC/San Francisco Dr. Don Rose ... the man was crazy, funny as hell, and the execution was always flawless. WHBQ -- Rick Dees in the morning, the master of characters on the radio! I can't leave the Greaseman out. And I wasn't half-bad either. Sorry that's more than three.
9) Would you share a couple of your funnier moments in radio?
I was so nervous my first night on the air at WHBQ, I screwing up so bad! I broke down and cried on the air boo wooing. The next day John Long called me in the office, I just knew I was going to get fired, and he said, "I heard you *@#$ing up last night." He laughed and said, "Now tonight can you sound like that aircheck you brought me? Another one is when Uncle Luke of the 2 Live Crew brought all of his strippers in while I was on the air; In Tampa it was hard to concentrate, really! Bob Marley firing up in the studio at 96X in Miami, during and interview!
10) What is the most important thing anyone has ever said to you?
- It's more important to have a job; even if it's not the one you want, don't let your ego stand in the way of your stomach.
- Don't burn bridges.