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(MIW SPOTLIGHT) CBS Vegas PD Charese Fruge


Charese Fruge has been in the radio business for over 20 years. She's currently the Program Director of Mix 94.1 and X107.5 in Las Vegas and one of Radio Ink's Most Influential Women of 2012. Fruge's stellar career has been Charese has been the female station voice for KMXB in Las Vegas, Alice in San Francisco and Denver, Star in Los Angeles and Mix in Houston. She says, "I love making a connection between the music and the audience." Her advice to anyone looking to become a success in this business, "be a survivor." Here's more from one of radio's great programmers and one of Radio Ink's Most Influential Women.

RI: How did you wind up at the Mix in Vegas?
I started in promotions and did over nights in Southwest Louisiana at KSMB in Lafayette. My career path is very much like a roller coaster ride. It took me to Beaumont, Texas to do Mornings with Mark Landis at KIOI, then to Baton Rouge to do my own Morning Show at WFMF, where I was then recruited to go to B97 in New Orleans. I did every shift possible on that station until I took a job to work with some guy nameg John Jay Van Es J at KKBQ in Houston. We were HORRIBLE, by the way J. So I moved back to New Orleans to work for Entercoms WLTS/WEZB/WLMG  and to get in to the Programming/Music side of Radio. From there, I moved to the  other City of Sin Las Vegas to do Middays and be the Music Director for Mix 94.1. About a year and a half later I was the Program Director of the station.

RI: Sounds like you were thrown into the fire
  I didnt know what I was doing, but I was having a BLAST programming simply with passion for the music. We had one of the Top Performing Hot ACs in the country and we did some amazing events because Vegas was the Entertainment Capitol of the World! After about 5 years in Vegas, Jerry McKenna (My current boss at CBS Las Vegas) recruited me to Program Alice (KALC) in Denver for Entercom. Exactly 1 Year Later I was Programming Star (KYSR) in Los Angeles. Fast forward to now and I will tell you that in the last 4 years, I have moved 4 times and Programmed KSCF in San Diego, KLLC in San Francisco, KMBX, and KXTE in Las Vegas and KZZO in Sacramento (sometimes 3 stations, in 3 different markets at one time, all for CBS Radio). I just recently moved back to Las Vegas to focus on my 2 stations here, take a breath and get a life. I am very lucky and CBS has been very supportive of my decision to settle into one market. I have amazing teams who make my job worth going  to every day.    

RI: Why have you succeeded?
I think its because I am driven. I try to focus and pin point what I want, then I go after it. I dont pretend to have all the answers and I am not afraid to ask questions. I have three older brothers and a football coach for a father. My mother spent the better part of my childhood teaching me not to be afraid and that it was okay to want and achieve a career. I strive to be passionate, open minded and solution based and I understand what it means to play on a team. I surround myself with great people and have a strong desire to help make them successful. If they look good, I look good. I have amazing teams on both KMXB and KXTE and they have contributed immensely to my success. As have the teams I have worked with over the years. No matter what position you play, you cant win alone and I am very fortunate that I have the teams and the tools in place to be successful.

RI: What do you love about radio the most?
Selfishly speaking, I love breaking new artists and developing and nurturing relationships with the artists. I love making a connection between the music and the audience. I love sitting in my car with the volume all the way up listening to my favorite song play on one of my stations. There is no feeling like it in the world. I also love when Mark and Mercedes and JC (KMXB) make me laugh, or when Dave and Mahoney and DK (KXTE) get me fired up because they are talking smack about my Saints. They are all seasoned pros and I love feeling them connect with the audience and watching them grow and succeed. I started in Morning radio and as much as I prefer being behind the scenes, I live vicariously through them and listening to both shows starts me off with a smile every day.

Any advice for the Radio Ink readers?
Put together a plan and believe you can achieve it. Understand that it wont happen overnight, but if you take the right steps, build and nurture relationships and look at everything and everyone (good or bad) as a learning experience, you will eventually get there. Also, its important to understand that sometimes those goals will change. The one thing you will need to be is a Survivor. This business changes so often, and so fast. The most important lesson you can learn is that most of it is not personal, its just business. So when you run into a road block, find another route. You will eventually get to your destination.

What mistakes can you help them avoid?
The three biggest mistakes to avoid in the business: Working in Denial, Letting your EGO get involved and Beating Yourself Up. You MUST learn to choose your battles wisely. We spend so much time fighting things we cant control because we are in Denial. Take a step back and look at the situation. Is it a communication break down? Is there another option? Or a another way to make it work? Or is it something you just cant control. If its a circumstance, move on and find another option. If its a person, agree to disagree and move on. Dont let egos get involved. Most of the time exercising Ego will only blow up in your face or come back to haunt you. I am a big believer  in Karma and no one wants to work with an egomaniac. And the most Important mistake you should avoid, is beating yourself up. You have to give yourself a break and know when to say when. The people in this industry are a certain type. We beat ourselves up more than anyone else does. Own up to it if you screw up or if you are challenged, but give yourself a break when you need it and celebrate the wins when they come. If you dont, youll wake up one day and ask yourself where your passion and your life went.

Congratulate Fruge for a job well done and representing radio so well HERE

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