The voice behind the radio recognized for awards

Miranda Fleig has been working at KSLU for two years; according to Fleig, her favorite music on the show is the Blues.

Miranda Fleig has been working at KSLU for two years; according to Fleig, her favorite music on the show is the Blues.
The Lion's Roar/Heather Jewell

It is 7:30 in the morning and while many students use the KSLU radio as background noise to urge them into action, inside the station sits communication junior Miranda Fleig, coffee in hand, deciding what music to grace listeners’ ears with that day. Sitting behind the large desk, she is confident and at ease, not at all daunted that her next words will be broadcast over the area. Fleig has just been recognized by the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters and received $4,000 in scholarship money for next year.

 

The Lion’s Roar: What made you want to go into communication? 

Miranda Fleig: So, I was about 13 or 14, living in Baltimore, me and my best friend would ride the bus to and from school. We would just talk about politics and things going on, you know, in our state and the country, and we had so much fun with it, and we always had this idea that we should have a radio show, our own talk radio. [Then] I moved down here, and, in 12th grade, I took a broadcast class, which was just video. I liked it, so when I decided to come here, I was like, ‘I really want to try out communications,’ but I wasn’t into the video side of it.  I liked working, I wanted to do talk radio, so I talked to Dr. Burns in my freshman year and I was like, you know, part of me wants to do public relations, because I think I’d be good at it, but the other part of me wants to do radio and I know that would be electronic media, even though we don’t have focus groups anymore, but we still technically do. And he was like, ‘well, do both,’ and I was like, ‘What do you mean?’ And he said ‘take PR classes and go work at KSLU.’ So that’s pretty much the start of that, but yeah, it was just me and my best friend Chris and I loved talking, and I always wanted to do radio because I think of anything; I, not that I’m good at talking, but it’s fun. Especially when you can talk about your opinions and things that you enjoy, things that other people would want to hear on the radio.

 

TLR: How did you hear about the scholarship and go into that?

MF: The first time I heard about it was last year.  My boss always keeps us updated on scholarships or workshops and stuff that can really help us and last year Amari Cordova, he actually won it and he still worked at the radio station at the time. And I was actually going to apply for it last year, but I had just started. I started back in August and this was like December when I first heard about it. I was talking to [my boss] Todd [Delaney] about it, he was like ‘you should apply.’ But I didn’t have that much experience and wanted to have more. That way I could say ‘hey, I can back this up, not only do I love this, but I have skill in it.’ So this year when Todd sent us another email about it I really felt like I had experience, I could back this up, so I wrote. You had to have like a 3.0, be a communication major, a junior and all of this stuff. I had six recommendation letters, but I could only use three. It was just funny because I had Dr. Burns, I had Francesca Viomara and I had Todd and Burns’ letter made me cry. Todd’s letter didn’t make me cry, but when he emailed it to me he said “You deserve this more than anyone.” But I think the thing that was interesting the most was the essay that I wrote because I sent it to Deborah [Wickham], who works at the radio station, just to look at it. I was just honest, you know? I’ve always liked broadcast. I’ve always loved radio. I still love listening too. I’ve always wanted to work for Sirius XM; I think that would be awesome.

 

TLR: Why did you choose radio over broadcast? Or does it make you feel more behind the scenes?

MF: I’ve always been a shy person. I think I have gotten out of that a lot since I’ve been in college, and I don’t have any problem with being on camera. I have been in select things, a friend of mine, he’s done video things. I don’t have a problem with showing my face, I just, I don’t know, I’m very much a behind the scenes person. You know, you can go to work and you don’t have to be all dressed up. I think I would be a little bit camera shy if I’m just like, ‘Oh my hair’s not completely perfect.’ But I’m very much into the production side like, I like to produce shows. So at the radio station, I produce BAM which is Best American Music. I help produce some of Dr. Burns.’ He’s got a show called One Question. I record it, I make sure it goes on and everything’s good. I’ve helped with the Point of View show at KSLU. I’ve pretty much helped with every specialty show that we have, and I like it because it’s kind of an art form. 

 

TLR: How is it an art form?

MF: If you have a talk show that has music to it, you have to make sure that everything lines up, then you can fade songs into it and everything just flows together. And I think a lot of people believe that, especially with radio, everything is just kind of a last minute type thing like ‘Oh just throw this in…’ No, with a lot of it you need to think about it or it’s like I want this song to fade in just about here and right when he starts to finish the sentence, then come back. It’s fun; I love putting things together. 

 

TLR: So whenever you first started working at KSLU, how was that experience? You know, how was the ladder climb and meeting the people? 

MF: Well, when I first started, it was nerve-wracking. When you first open up a mic, it’s scary. I started out doing the morning show and Retro Reality. And it scares you [going on air]. The first time, I just couldn’t talk for like three seconds. I was like “uh, oh my God, I don’t know what to do.” And you just kind of have to ease into it. So, you know, you kind of just start off with the basics like, “this artist just sang” and “there is another artist coming up.” I slowly climbed the ladder. I became production director in December of 2014 and I’ve been on and off because I don’t stay here during the summer, but pretty much I’ve been production director pretty much that entire time. Todd Delaney, my boss, he’s been out for a month because he’s on paternity leave. And so I took over his music director duties and I also create the logs for the actual playlist. If you don’t have the logs, there is nothing to be aired on the radio. So, it’s been interesting with the semester, but it’s been fun. There’s so much you can learn with the radio, who you can be; you know you can always do On-Air stuff so you can be the On-Air talent. You can be a producer. You can be the person that selects the music, which is very important, you want people like, “Let’s play Fits and Tantrums” or “just add Eric Clapton to the playlist and the Foo Fighters.” So, you want to play people who are well known, but you can also throw in some people that aren’t well known, but the music is really good and you want them to take off. So there are a lot of aspects that I don’t think people really know about, but it’s just a lot of fun.

TLR: What’s going through your head whenever you are picking that line up and thinking, ‘Oh I really want to play Bastille,’ do you just put it on then?

 

MF: If you’re an on-air talent, you’re picking a playlist and a lot of the playlist is already set. So you come in, you sit down, you log on and you’re thinking Charles Bradley is coming up now, or something. A lot of times you just go by the set playlist, but there are some days where it’s raining and there’s a song by Halis Brown that just came out called “Rain Dance,” so I’m going to add that in there because it’s ironic. A lot of times, especially with Specialty Shows, I have the Dirt Road and Pretzel Change and sometimes I’m in a mood. Maybe a couple friends of mine had big breakups so I want to play all the ‘my baby left me’ type songs. So I guess it really depends, it can be whether your mindset at the time, however you’re feeling or maybe just things around you that you’ve just been noticing. You’re like ‘hmm, I can make a show out of this or talk about it.’ So it really can be what you want. People can give you feedback; it’s like ‘hey I really like when you play Blues music that’s really upbeat and happy.’ So I’ll make a show about that, so, it really just depends.

 

TLR: So you are the one choosing the songs right now? Whenever you’re about to go on and speak, do you have a radio voice?

MF: Yes, I do.

 

TLR: So do you have different ‘voices’ for each show?

MF: The morning show is more of my regular voice, but it works because every time I get into the blues show, I love the perpetual change. Progressive Rock is great. I love the Blues, I don’t know why. In the last couple of years, I’ve really gotten into it. The Blues can make you feel a lot of things; you can feel happy with it, or you can feel very sad, or kind of just mellowed out. And I love it because you can tap your foot along, just listen to the beat. Not that you don’t have to have words to it, just the beat to it can get you into that “Oh.” kind of mood.