March 16, 2018

In honor of March being “Women’s History Month,” which women in the radio and music industries (including artists) have inspired you the most, and why?

Nicki Farag, Def Jam Recordings: There should be more women role models. The more women in leadership roles, the more this will help the status and opportunities of all women. These women have (as Sheryl Sandberg would say) leaned into their roles, speak confidentially, take risks and own their accomplishments. I admire them so much. Sharon Dastur is open-minded, strategic and she never judges a book by its cover. Brenda Romano is stoic and confident. Thea Mitchem is smart and honest. Jacqueline Saturn is confident and intuitive. Melissa Forrest is wry and uncanny. Michele Harrison at Monotone is trustworthy and ingenious.

Rick Vaughn, Power 94.9: Kris Kelley and I worked across the hall from each other (literally, staring at each other) for four years in Chicago. She was a tremendous programmer and always handled herself like a boss. I learned a lot from Kris and miss her dearly.

Derrick “DC” Cole, WAEB: Ata Johnson, mother of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Without her, we would not have The Rock. Through her pain and struggling at a younger age, including a suicide attempt, she is proof that the bad times will always get better.

Chris Michaels, FM100: Taylor Swift! One of the smartest artists out there, who is a strategic thinker with every part of her career. And, she absolutely loves radio. Randi West has been very influential to me over the years. I have learned a lot from Randi throughout my career!

Sue O’Neil, WKSE: Andrea Ganis and Denise George are rock stars!

Brian Mack, WXXL: Linda Byrd has been an inspiration for me right here in Orlando/Central Florida, she can do everything and anything.

Mike McVay, Cumulus Media: Radio: Delilah Renee (Delilah on Premiere Radio Networks) as a pioneer on the air and in creating a highly successful nighttime syndicated radio program. Music: Melissa Etheridge as a musical pioneer and as an advocate for the LGBT population.

Gina Gray, WERO: Randi West, just because she’s Randi! Taylor Swift because she’s so smart, creative and down to earth…plus she made me a fan. Bridgett from RCA is so reliable and a great partner. Myra Dehais, I love her like my sister!

Valentine, WBHT: Lady Gaga has been very outspoken and influential in many positive ways.

Dom Theodore, Radio Animal Media Strategies: There are many. Caroline Beasley, who is a superb leader and one of the best operators in the industry. Lisa Paige, who I’ve worked with for the better part of 20 years and is an amazing talent who now has a successful syndicated show. Melissa Chase OM of Summit in Richmond who not only is a brilliant programmer, but also a great AM drive host…and many, many more. But the top of the list is my own wife Jennifer Theodore, who is GM of our stations in Cadillac and Big Rapids, MI. She inspires me every day.

Kobe, WWHT: Ellen DeGeneres, I think she has transcended the role of comedian and has become a true multi-faceted entertainer.

Mike Miller, WZFT: Demi Lovato is so strong and inspirational when it comes to documenting her past story of addiction and her battle with mental health issues. She’s helping so many people who struggle with those same things.

Jonathan Shuford, WRVW: Leslie Fram is the GOAT!

Brian Michel, iHeartMedia / Atlanta: One of my past GM’s, Sheila O’Connor from my days in Salt Lake City. She made everyday fun to come to work. She made it special and really fostered a team environment. I wish she was still alive so I could tell her how much she meant to me and my career.

Jon Zellner. iHeartMedia: Music: Barbra Streisand, Sarah McLachlan, Alicia Keys. Radio: Meg Stevens, Thea Mitchem, Sharon Dastur. In general: Michelle Obama, Maya Angelou, Anne Frank.

Rod Phillips, iHeartMedia: Olivia Sabine, Bain Capital; Jennifer Leimgruber, Premiere Radio Networks; Alissa Pollack, iHeartMedia; Julie Greenwald, Atlantic; Alene Grevey, iHeartMedia; Meagan Schaller, Clear Channel Outdoor; Kristen Williams, WMN; Julie Talbot, Premiere Radio Networks…just to name a few. All are extremely bright and you can’t help but learn from such strong leadership.


Next Week’s Question Of The Week:
In radio today, is the balance of art and science too much in the science column and not enough art and gut instinct?
e-Mail your responses to: or