Kelly Harrington is a Communications Manager and writer for Reach Media in Dallas. She also leads Reach Media’s social media initiatives, which include the wildly popular Tom Joyner Morning Show. Harrington has only been in radio for about five years but she’s clearly one of the industry’s rising stars. We spoke to Harrington and asked her to share her secrets, including why she’s passionate about radio, how she believes we can make the industry better, and why she’s been so successful at what she does.
Why did you decide on radio as your career?
I have been working with the radio industry for close to five years. My introduction to radio was as unconventional as my current position. When asked I often say I was simply in the right place at the right time. I was well versed in social media and the Tom Joyner Morning Show was executing a live event honoring the Tuskegee Airmen while promoting George Lucas’ Red Tails. I was able to “live tweet” and interact with those who were listening. That day we grew Tom’s social media presence infinitely and engaged those who may not have known what was happening, encouraging them to tune in and listen to post audio, and see what was happening in a way that had not be done before.
That day I discovered how far radio’s reach actually was, and today I thrive on extending the message that our talent puts out daily through social media, digital, streaming, events, and personal interaction. I realized that through this medium I could make a difference in a way that I had not been able to before.
What makes you passionate about the radio industry?
Harrington: My passion comes from making a difference. Radio is one of the few media mediums that is truly still personal. Listeners feel daily like they are having an intimate conversation with their friends about what is happening in not only the world, but also their personal lives. I thrive on extending the message that may help someone, make someone laugh, cry, or even inspire change.
What are your goals, both personally and to make the industry better?
Harrington: There are days that I spend working with my team on building commercials and videos for our talent, then there are other days where I am disseminating the story of Reach Media’s talent and how they are setting new standards in the industry. I feel like each day is a new day to spread the word of what’s happening in radio and digital and my goals are to continue to make each day stronger.
Why do you think you’ve been successful to this point in your career?
Harrington: I can honestly say that I have been successful in my career because I have been surrounded by great mentors. From Tom Joyner to Cathy Hughes to Marty Raab, I’ve been surrounded by innovators and experts in this industry who have been stellar advisors. I have absorbed their advice and direction and put my own spin on how to make it work for my position.
Every day I have different tiers of communication that I successfully implement with the right voice for each – from listeners and sponsors to event messaging and talent verbiage, my strengths come from being able to understand the voice of all and speak to each with passion. Not every day is a great day in radio, but every day I have the opportunity to direct the conversation in a positive way.
If you were promoted to a much higher position of leadership tomorrow, what would you do to improve radio?
Harrington: The radio standard of “entertaining, empowering, and informing” still remains a powerful ethic to me and if placed in a higher position of leadership I would use that message as my starting point to work with all, showing how digital, streaming, and social media are key to furthering radio’s voice. Radio is and will continue to be a mainstay in the daily routine of millions; the goal is to keep all that radio is doing relevant in a digital age.
What advice would you give to someone just getting started in the business?
Harrington: The best advice that was given to me when I started in this business was to place yourself in the place of everyone you work with. I love talking to everyone in every division of radio and learning exactly what they do. Relationships are so important in all aspects of life, and when starting out in this business it is key.
Reach out to Kelly and congratulate her on her passion for radio and industry leadership: [email protected]