This 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.
There 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.
All 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.