Shelley Stile: Previous Music Director at WMMS-FM
Introduce yourselves to us! What do you do in the industry? Where are you from?
I’m the Mom of Ms. Sylvie! I’m originally from Akron, Ohio where I got my start in the radio business. I was the Music Director and DJ at WMMS-FM in Cleveland, Ohio during the 1970’s. WMMS was voted the best AOR (album-oriented radio) 7 times by the reader’s poll of Rolling Stone, renowned for breaking R&R acts in the USA.
How did you get your start in the industry, and how long have you been in the industry?
I started out at my college radio station and at a TV station in Cleveland, interviewing rock persons. I went on to get a gig at a local radio station and then was hired at WMMS.
When did you know being in the business is what you wanted to do? Was there a specific moment where you were like “oh god, this is what I want to do for the rest of my life”?
I was always into music from a young age and local bands. I thought I might be a teacher but one semester in a classroom fixed that! My love and knowledge of music was a natural path for me. I studied radio and Tv at Kent State.
What was it like being a Music Director at WMMS?
Exciting! Recently a friend of mine who was the head of a number of record labels put it like this: NYC, LA and Chicago were the biggest radio markets but WMMS in Cleveland were the tastemakers. We were renowned for taking chances on new music and breaking those acts as other radio stations throughout the country would in turn get on the LP’s we were playing. So, it was very exciting and record labels and rock acts flocked to our town and WMMS.
Is there anything you struggled with being in the industry?
Back in the 70’s there were few women in the biz and few women on the radio. It was a male dominated industry with plenty of misogyny.
What is the best part of your job? Why?
Breaking new acts.
Is there someone who you considered as your mentor in the industry?
Bill Randle. He was a professor of mine who took me under his wing. Take a look at who he was. https://www.cleveland.com/opinion/2015/09/consider_rock_n_roll_trailblaz.html
What advice do you have for women who want to get their start in the music industry?
Take no shit! Never get involved romantically with anyone in the industry. Work hard, pay your dues but demand equal pay for equal work.
Have you ever been turned down or not taken seriously because you were a female in the industry? What did you do when put into that position?
Nope. I was always a very strong person.
What is the best memory you have of your career?
Interviewing both Paul McCartney and George Harrison.
What are some of your other hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
Walking, attend theater and concerts, international travel
Who is your all-time favorite artist?
UGH! Love the band Little Feat and Steely Dan.
What is something you can't live without?
My dog! And my albums.
Go-to Karaoke song?
Tea or Coffee?
First concert you went to?
Dave Clark 5
What’s something that you always have on you?
Who is your dream artist or band to tour/work with?
Already toured with Led Zep! But of course, it would have been the Beatles.
What do you hope to see done in the industry within the next few years?
More women in positions of power, heads of labels.
What are you most proud of?
Lastly, what saying do you live by?
May the best of your past be the worst of your future.