BABE #44: BETHANY WATSON,
Co-Host @ Elvis Duran and the Morning Show
Growing up listening to a lot of talk radio with my folks, I've always been a huge fan of the Elvis Duran and The Morning Show (shoutout to those Phone Tap segments.) Bethany is a radio personality I've always admired; she's so well-spoken, creative, down-to-earth and dedicated to her work - but also knows how to take it easy and make time for herself. She's the ultimate Babe Who Hustles and I'm so grateful to have had the chance to learn a bit about her story and the upcoming projects she's working on. Thanks so much for being here, Bethany!
Hometown: Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Current city: NYC
Alma mater: University of Minnesota
Degree: B.A in Theatre Arts
Hustle: On-Air Co-Host, "Elvis Duran and the Morning Show"
How do you spend your free time?
I don't have a lot of free time! But when I do, I listen to a lot of true crime podcasts while I'm getting stuff done around the house. I also try to carve out at least fifteen minutes each night to just lie back and read before bed. The books are usually some kind of pulpy thriller and they're my biggest indulgence of each day!
Must-have item in your purse?
Glossier's Cherry Balm Dotcom
Favorite beauty item?
My eyelash curler! My eyelashes grow straight and a bit down so if I don't curl them, my eyes disappear.
What would you eat for your very last meal?
Stuffed-crust pepperoni pizza with cherry-topped cheesecake and a margarita.
Favorite social media account to follow?
I'm currently obsessed with @lasselom.
Lasse Løkken Matberg is a Lieutenant in the Royal Norwegian Navy and is basically Thor in real life. He's just..... *blush*… he's perfect.
If you could have coffee with anyone in the world, who would it be?
...Lasse Løkken Matberg.
If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?
In Norway (with Lasse Løkken Matberg.)
Tell us about your hustle:
I'm one of the two co-hosts on Elvis Duran and the Morning Show. In addition to co-hosting, I also give hourly news updates during the show and do the daily "What's Trending" segment where I feature new, fun or useful products that I think our listeners will like.
What does your typical workday look like?
My alarm goes off at 3:45am and I'm at the studio by 5. From 5-6am, I'm prepping for the show (mostly writing news stories). The show is live from 6-10am (ET). After the show's done, it starts to look more like a "regular" job. Whoever is available will record the show's podcast, The 15 Minute Morning Show. When that's done, it's time to record more stuff (like commercials and promotional liners for different station affiliates around the country). Every Tuesday I join up with Producer Sam and Web Girl Kathleen to record our podcast, "An Acquired Taste." Then there are station and sales meetings, emails that need answering, and other typical job stuff.
When did you decide to go into radio? What opportunities or experiences led you to where you are now?
I never studied radio but I did train in improv comedy. Those improv skills are what got me my first radio gig. Through a long string of unforeseen circumstances, I found myself working in a corporate banking office after college. I felt like my talents weren't being put to use and I was dying on the vine, so when my local radio show had an opening for a new co-host, I submitted my acting resume and headshot. Being able to banter on the spot and make quick, funny comments helped me land the job!
What was the application and interview process like for your current position?
I submitted my resume and two demo reels (a long one that showed my personality and a shorter one that was just quick, funny exchanges). I came to NYC on two separate occasions for interviews with various important people at iHeartMedia and to meet Elvis and the show members. A few weeks later, I found out I'd landed the job and was moving to New York!
What is it like working with Elvis? What are some takeaways you’ve learned specifically from him?
Elvis is a true character. He's the most generous person I've ever met and I've learned a ton about giving back to my friends, family, and community by watching him. He's also taught me that it's okay to unplug when you're feeling overwhelmed. There's nothing wrong with saying you need to take care of yourself! And he's so good at making guests and listeners feel welcomed and cherished. That's an art that I hope to one day be at least half as good at.
Favorite part about your job? Least favorite?
My favorite part about my job is all of the experiences I've been able to have and people I've met that I never would have otherwise. I've jumped out of a plane, sung with Wyclef, hugged Shaquille O'Neal, stood onstage at Madison Square Garden, and a million other things. It's insane. My least favorite part of the job is how tired I am all the time. Anyone who works strange hours knows this feeling. A colleague described it as being underwater. You can see and hear everyone but it all feels disconnected. It's an active choice to find time to sleep and stay on top of my health.
Has your gender effected your work experience in any way?
With my first radio gig, I was the only woman on the show. Because there were mostly men talking at any given time, I felt a huge responsibility to represent every woman listening and make sure she felt reflected. That was a lot of pressure! I was trying to literally "be every woman," from a 16-year-old schoolgirl to a 55-year-old mother. The nice thing about working on the Elvis Duran and the Morning Show is that I have Danielle to lean on, as well as the other four women and countless female interns who work on the show. We all represent a huge array of women. I still feel the desire to speak up for other women, but because Elvis is so pro-woman, it doesn't feel like such a struggle.
Are you working on any side projects?
My training is in theatre and acting, so I'm currently in acting classes to keep that muscle sharp and to fill that part of my soul. I also love whiskey and wanted to learn more about it, so I'm releasing a five-part web series, "Bethany Watson's Whiskey Chick," as a beginner's guide to the world of whiskey! And my podcast with Sam and Kathleen, "An Acquired Taste," comes out every Wednesday on iHeartRadio. There are also several other projects I have in the works that I can't talk about quite yet, but they're on their way....
What would your advice be for someone who is trying to break into the industry?
Start now! Get a mic and start a podcast to build up your confidence and make some content. If there's a radio personality you look up to, find out when they're doing an appearance and head out to meet them! Be brief and respectful, but let them know your goals and see if they have advice. Networking is always a great idea and there are often slow periods during station appearances where you can get some face time in with radio professionals.
What are some common misconceptions about your job?
People often think that we only work for four hours every day. We joke about it on the air, but there really is a lot that goes on behind the scenes of a big show like this. We're definitely like that proverbial duck, trying to look calm and in control above the water but paddling like hell underneath!
Favorite radio personalities?
I adore and respect the people I work with every day, obviously. And clearly Howard Stern has been a pioneer in modern radio. But there are three women that I'm also in love with: Corey Foley, Angi Taylor, and Falen Bonsett. We all worked at the same show in Minneapolis at one point or another (sadly, never at the same time). I look up to all of them and am lucky enough to have become friends with all of them as well. They're talented, strong, funny women.
Do you have any other community involvement?
I work with an incredible animal rescue organization called Mr. Bones & Company that rescues and rehabilitates dogs (and sometimes other animals) that have basically been discarded and forgotten. They also do animal advocacy work in New York and around the country. The stories of the animals they're working to save will pull your heart straight out of your chest, in a good way!
What is one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your work? How’d you overcome it?
One of the hardest things I've faced is figuring out how to keep these weird work hours while also having a social life! I start to get incredibly run-down around 7pm every day, and my weekends are often about catching up on sleep. So I've had to pare down the people I hang out with. My real friends understand that I can't go out late on a weeknight and they don't get mad if I'm at a party Saturday night and start yawning at 9pm. Ultimately, this job has been a blessing in showing me who is truly worth my time!
What motivates you every day/from what do you draw your inspiration?
Hearing personal stories of what our listeners are going through every day is frankly what gives me the most motivation. We have a large number of people who listen to our show as they drive to chemo treatments. We have single mothers who are heading from their night job back home to take their kids to school before heading to their day job. We have teen girls who just had their heart broken for the first time and need us to make them laugh. Everyone wakes up to a unique struggle, and our job is to make them feel accepted and a little more optimistic than they were before. I take that responsibility very seriously.
How do you find a work-life balance?
I'm still working on it! I discovered last year that I can't feel guilty for taking time to do something non-work related. If I need to sit on my couch for thirty minutes and watch the ID Channel, it's only going to let me decompress and come back to the hustle more energized. But I still need to remind myself of this, and often.
What helps you wind down?
I'm a strong introvert, so for me, "winding down" is simply being alone or hanging out in bed, reading. As far as managing stress, that's very much a work in progress. I've found one tactic that sounds super weird but it's incredibly helpful: I remind myself that the task at hand has to get done, and so it will. I trust that Future Bethany figured out how to get it done because there's no other option. This allows me to relax a little bit. I don't know if that makes sense, but it works for me almost every time.
What are your goals for the future?
I want to keep creating and connecting with people. Whether it's through radio, writing, acting, producing, or other mediums, I want to make sure people know that they're not alone in their struggles. I want to write a children's book, I want to produce and star in a TV show, I want to play a plasma gun-toting alien on the SyFy Channel. But most of all, I want to continue to show young, awkward girls out there that it's all going to be okay. You fit in perfectly by not fitting in. The world needs us awkward girls!
Career and/or life advice for other babes?
You don't have to do it all yourself. Build your team around you, and find the people in your life who believe in your potential and want to help you make it happen. You can do it all, but you don't have to!
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