My Summer at KOKE FM

KokeFMThis past summer, I had the amazing opportunity to intern at the radio station KOKE FM. For those of you who have never heard of the station, its a country alternative station – meaning they play every type of country from classic to outlaw to current. Not only did I learn a lot of rewarding career experience from the internship, but I also learned so much more about country music in general. For example, I had never heard of Chris Stapleton, knew the significance of Merle Haggard, or knew people still appreciated Willie Nelson’s music before this summer.

I interned for the 6am morning show, meaning I had to get up at 4am to make it to work by 5am every weekday morning – yes I went to work when most people were coming home from the bars. My boss was the man who owned the station and on-air talent Bob Cole. Bob was actually inducted in the Country Music On-Air Personality Hall of Fame in 2003, so my boss was pretty awesome. I actually really came to enjoy the early mornings because my job was fairly simple and everyday was something different. One day the guys bought 10 different vanilla ice cream brands to see which ones could [temporarily] replace Blue Bell. Random country singers would come on the show. Some days the guys even let us interns talk on-air.

IMG_1014There was one day in particular that I will probably remember most about working at the station. One day I was logging the show like I always do, and a short, older man with the whitest hair and tattoos covering his arms walked through the door. It took a long stare and at least 30 seconds of processing to realize that THE Dale Watson had just walked 3 feet away from me and flashed his Dale Watson smile while saying “good morning” in his deep Alabama accent. He just walked himself into the studio with Bob like he had been there a thousand times before. And there I was fangirling so hard when my other boss, Eric Raines, told me that Bob wanted to see me. As I pulled myself together, I walked into the studio and Bob introduced me to THE Dale Watson. And THE Dale Watson shook MY hand as he repeated my name, and I swear my heart stopped for a solid 5 seconds. Bob wanted me to go get Dale some coffee, and I happily did so while nervously overthinking how much cream and sugar THE Dale Watson wants in his coffee. As I gave the coffee to Mr. Watson, he thanked me and said my name AGAIN. So that is the day I met THE Dale Watson and fell in love with my job even more. I’m a dork.

IMG_0910All the guys I worked with knew so much and currently have standing relationships with so many different country artists. Honestly, working there makes me appreciate everything I’m learning in this class so much more because if I want to end up doing my own country radio show, learning the true history and meaning behind the genre is the best way to be successful at it. I can’t say enough how lucky I was to score that internship and be able to learn so much more about country music as well as producing a radio show. If you’re interested in radio and country music, I highly recommend interning at KOKE FM. But if you just like listening to country music, turn the radio to 98.5 every now and then to hear some of the best country music ever made deejayed by some of the coolest guys I’ve ever worked with.


Filed under Blog Post 4, Classic Country, Live Music, New Country, Outlaw, Reflection

8 Responses to My Summer at KOKE FM

  1. Talia

    Elissa I loved reading this and hearing more about your internship. We have talked about it a couple times before but reading this just shows your passion for country music in all aspects! I would absolutely love to work for a radio station, but the early mornings I’m not so sure I would survive. Its pretty cool that it worked out that you were able to have that internship right before this class, I am sure it gave you some new insight many of us may never have! I love your writing and I love that I know you and can totally see your personality in your writing. I could picture you meeting Mr. Watson perfectly.

  2. Annie G

    This post was so cool! It must have taken so much motivation to sign up for a job that involved those kind of hours, and I’m really impressed by the fact that you actually enjoyed those hours. It sounds like it was such an incredible experience, I can’t imagine how much you learned in such a short time. Not to mention, all of the memories you made. It must have been so cool getting to meet Dale Watson. I really liked how you added “THE” before his name every time, it really helped your voice come through and I could completely relate to the fangirling you did.

  3. Tyler Dial

    Dear Elissa, I love this blog because I am in love with KOKE FM and Bob Cole. It’s actually kind of funny because he has voiced his support of me and my music to myself and my management team. It was interesting getting to hear what he’s like from your perspective! I also think it’s so cool that you were motivated enough to wake up so early for an internship. I have interned at a sports radio station before so I kind of know what the gig is like. Congratulations on such a cool experience!

  4. Hannah Evans

    What a cool experience! Props to you for getting up at 4 am every day…I have no idea how you did that. It sounds like it’s been a really rewarding experience though. You were just immersed in country music this semester. I’m curious what job you want in the future–do you plan on going in to something with country music or radio specifically? It sounds like a really cool internship. I like how you shared the Dale Watson moment as it was nice to get some insight as to what your favorite little moments were. Thanks for sharing and good luck with everything in the future!

  5. Kayla Miracle

    This sounds like such a cool job! I’ve heard of KOKE FM but I’ve never actually tuned in, so I’ll definitely have to give it a listen some time. My plans are a little blurry right now but I hope to do something in radio or television one day, whether that means writing about them or for them, having my own show – I have no idea, but I loved being able to look forward to a career in that field by reading your post. Thank you for including some of your favorite moments! I think your Dale Watson moment and ice cream testing probably made up for the fact that you woke up at 4 am everyday. I would love to know how you got this internship and what you want to do moving on from there? Sounds like you had an incredible summer filled with country music, followed by a semester of country music!! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Amanda

    I thought this post was a really cool way to relate your experiences to our course concepts. I can’t imagine how awesome it would be to intern at a country music station. It makes me super jealous that you got to do this, since I have been eagerly searching for an internship for this summer! I admire you for being able to making the early mornings. I never would have been able to do that; I can barely make it to my 10am classes. I’m not really familiar with Dale Watson’s music but if one of my favorite singers walked into my place of work I would probably lose it. It’s crazy how much we fans idealize our favorite artists.

  7. Sierra Smith

    Elissa, this was such a great post to read! It was great getting to learn about your internship with KOKE FM, and how that inspired you to find a passion in life. I cant believe you met Dale Watson! That is so cool! I really liked how you tied your experiences with your internship to the material that we learn in class in that it gives you an overarching view of country music and the industry as a whole. I was just like you in the beginning of your internship where I knew certain things about country music, but not to the extent that we cover in class. Since then, my knowledge about the genre and the industry have grown tremendously! I haven’t listened to KOKE FM before, but now that I know you interned there and recommend the station, I will give it a listen!

  8. Abby Bourland

    Elissa, your internship sounds awesome! I cannot believe you got an opportunity like this! I’m sure you know all about country music by now, especially after taking this class! I wish I had that experience, or any experience in the country music field for that matter. However, this class is making up for all that I lack! It’s amazing how you woke up so early! I am thoroughly impressed! That would also be so cool if you had your own radio station. Maybe THE Dale Watson would come in for an interview! So cool that you got to meet him and shake his hand!!! I bet he still remembers you ☺

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