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Lisa Miller - "How I Got Into Radio"

The Story of Sarah Frazier


In our industry, we often work closely with people we have never physically met. We develop telephone, e-mail, fax, and sometimes Facebook relationships with these people, yet, the opportunity never presents itself for us to sit across a table from each other or even shake hands. Although we have met in a business setting, if we are very lucky we grow to consider these people our friends; and thats how it is with Sarah Frazier and me. Her background in Kansas City provided the connection -- the stations where she worked were stations where I bought time or later placed clients. We know many of the same people, and as two women in a primarily male industry we have experienced the same growing pains. But the best part is that we like each other and that means our friendship will continue to grow. And for those of you who dont know Sarah, find a way to meet her by phone or in person. You will find a sharp, caring, and charismatic professional whom you'll always look forward to speaking with, and like me excited to meet.

Now, in her own words, here's how SVP/MM CBS Radio Houston Sarah Frazier got into radio

Growing up in Grandview, Missouri, I would listen (like every other kid in America!) to Casey Kasums American Top 40 each weekend. I would lie underneath the dining room table with my dual cassette boom box and record each song manually in order to make my mix tapes for the week. Coincidentally, we had a place in Kansas City called Exchange City where every 6th grader went to practice being what they wanted to be when they grew up. The competition for police, firefighters, and teachers was big, but I wanted so badly to be the radio station general manager for the fictitious ECLX radio. I got the job and I loved it. I guess that was technically my first job in radio, and I never looked back.

Im one of the odd ones -- I actually have an undergraduate degree in Broadcast Sales and Management from the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas. Going through school, I interned anywhere that would have me, logging hundreds of free hours learning the ropes at Lazer 105 in Lawrence as a sales intern while simultaneously working as the Traffic Director and Sales Manager (SOX violation!) for KJHK, the KU campus radio station.

I smiled and dialed, cold calling all of Lawrence. My first sale was for $500 bucks to Free State Brewery and I closed him by saying he could use a Grateful Dead song as the music bed. Oops. I moved back to Kansas City, and started working for KYYS. I had cold-calling competitions with the other rookie on our staff, Chris Cuezze, and delighted in racing her to the Protect Book each morning. I eventually built a fairly good book of business that gave me some currency in town, and Chris Long recruited me to CBS to sell KFKF/KBEQ.

I spent many very long nights trying to outwork him to prove I was management material (note:  if youre going to try to outwork someone, dont pick Chris Long).  Eventually I got my wish when he moved to Dallas as a DOS and needed a GSM, so he and our GM Brian Purdy -- who gave me my first management offer on a ripped-off piece of the paper table cloth -- gave me a shot and has mentored me ever since. I feel terrifically lucky to have worked for such great leaders.

Over 20 years into this career, I love radio as much as I did when I was the kid dubbing someones long-distance dedication. There is nothing more real than what were able to do for our communities, how many people were able to touch every day, how much product we can move for our clients. Every day is different, every challenge unique, but nothing Ive seen is stronger than the power of radio.

Lisa Miller is the President of Miller Broadcast Management in Chicago. She's also one of Radio Ink's Most Influential Women in Radio. Miller can be reached at or 312-454-1111.
So, how did you get into radio? We'd love to hear the story about why you're passionate about radio.

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