30 Days Out Interview: Former 101 KLOL DJ Dayna Steele
I first heard Dayna Steele in 1980 when she dubbed herself the “Lady of the Night” on 104 KRBE in Houston. She had a great radio voice and always talked about Springsteen. What’s not to like? I met Dayna a few years later when I was working at KTRH Radio and she was down the hall at 101 KLOL and I found her to be as cool as I thought she was….plus from time-to-time she would give me free stuff. Since her days behind the mic, she’s become a motivational speaker and author of Rock To The Top: What I Learned About Success from the World’s Greatest Rock Stars. Dayna was kind enough to answer some questions for us about the past, present and future:
30DaysOut: You spent a good part of your career in radio…how did you get started?
DS: On a dare in college at Texas A&M. I thought if I auditioned that a popular DJ in Bryan (TX) would ask me out. He didn’t, but I got the job and did that for the next 21 years.
30DaysOut: What was great about radio when you were in it?
DS: There was a little more creative freedom. Now all the stations sound the same to me
30DaysOut: Do you miss it?
DS: Nope. I love what I do now and have found a way to entertain and communicate with thousands of people – speaking through social media.
DS: WaterWorld at 1 in the morning with Billy Idol and 11 other people – they turned the rides on and gave us towels and bathing suits. The ONLY way to do a water park! Traveling with Van Halen when my mentor/godfather managed them. First class all the way baby! Forming a lasting friendship with David Crosby when he got out of prison. Home cooked dinner with AC/DC after a show at The Summit – Angus’ wife cooked while they played and then set a family table after the show. David Bowie asking if he could sit down at our table for drinks after a show at the downtown Four Seasons hotel. Duh! And so many more…..
30DaysOut: What do you think, if anything, is wrong with radio today?
DS: Everything is geared towards the stockholders not the listeners.
30DaysOut: You have been around the music business for a long time, what do you think of state of music and the music business today?
DS: I think it’s great. The record companies no longer have to control. If you are willing to do the work it takes and you have killer music, you can create your own fan base/sales using many forms of social media.
30DaysOut: What did you do after leaving KLOL?
DS: Had a baby, tried some TV, went into talk radio, started The Space Store, had another baby, started a media consulting company, sold The Space Store, went to business radio, wrote a book – became a fulltime business speaker and consultant. Whew.
DS: It is a business book based on the lessons I learned from some of the world’s greatest rock stars- that success takes a combination of hard work, knowledge, networking, appreciation and more.
30DaysOut: What did you learn from guys like Gene Simmons of KISS, The Rolling Stones, etc?
DS: That ultimately it is still a business and you have to work hard at all that goes into a successful business even in rock and roll. That is, if you want to make it to the top and stay there.
30DaysOut: Tell us about your run-in with 70s teen heartthrob Shaun Cassidy…
DS: I am a big proponent of hand written thank you notes. Shawn came to town for a promo when we were both around 20 yrs old. Big egos both of us. We got along horribly. I got a real ‘pissy’ little note from him about 2 weeks later. I use that as an example in my speeches of what NOT to write in a thank you note!
30DaysOut: In the book you talk about four things you need to do to unleash your “inner rock star”….what are they?
DS: 1) Know your passion and those of your fans/clients, 2) Never stop learning, reading and paying attention to your industry, the news and the world around you, 3) Relationships are everything – “you’ll never get a date sitting at home on the couch” – you have to get out and network with others continually and, 4) never forget to say thank you to everyone along the way.
30DaysOut: What is the best way to network?
DS: Do things for others without expecting anything in return. Comes back to you every time.
30DaysOut: How important is social media for people today?
DS: If you are not using it, it is consider the new form of illiteracy. Seriously.
30DaysOut: You have said how much rock stars appreciated you when you listened to them during an interview…how important is the simple act of listening?
DS: One of the top things to remember. Shut up and listen sometimes, really listen – you’ll find all kinds of info!
30DaysOut: How did you make the transition from DJ behind the mic to motivational speaker in front of hundreds of pe0ple?
DS: I never shut up. And when people started inviting me to speak, I thought, what the heck – might as well try. And fell in love with the business of speaking.
30DaysOut: What do you think the biggest obstacle for people to overcome to be able to unleash their power within?
DS: Fear. I liken it to learning to drive a car – you are nervous at first and may be hit a few curbs, but after a while you are just fine. And hopefully no hitting anymore curbs. Though there may be the occasional one so just keep going and learn from your mistakes!
30DaysOut: What does the future hold for you?
DS: Hopefully a half dozen margaritas beside a pool somewhere warm!