This week it’s DISH’S honor to introduce to you one of Houston radio’s longest running on-air personalities, The Fabulous Jennifer Tyler. I met Jennifer 15 or so years ago when we were both working at Clear Channel. They owned 8 channels at the time and DISH was on-air on all 8 of them creating a career foundation while The Fab Jen Tyler was already rocking the free world as one of Houston’s most beloved radio personalities. It’s easy to understand why her career has endured over three decades. Her honest love for music flows directly out of the speakers into your soul reminding you of younger days with friends, running around with the wind blowing through your hair without a care in the world. When someone can make you feel free and easy with simply the sound of their voice… you want to make them a part of your life. Which explains her amazing rock radio career and why DISH scooped her up like ice cream and placed her directly on top of the “friend” pile! I am so proud to call this lady my friend. She is such an inspiration with her work ethic, keeping the things that bring her joy in the forefront of her life, her complete honest about her victorious struggles with anxiety and depression and her unabashed love of metal. DISH joyfully presents to you: The Fabulous Jennifer Tyler!!
1. NAME AND COMPANY NAME: Jennifer Tyler, Cox Media Group/Houston’s Eagle (106.9 & 107.5)
2. DISH ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS: (When did you start in this industry? When did you start your business? Where do you sell (if a product), most notable clients?) My first real out of college radio job happened in 1988 at KLEV-AM in Cleveland, TX. It was a country station and I was there about 3 years. My last year there (1990) I also started working weekends at Mix 96.5 in Houston.
3. HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN YOUR INDUSTRY: I always have had a love for music. Visited my first radio station while still in elementary school. I knew at that moment that it was the career path I wanted to take. Hard to believe I decided that young and stuck with it.
4. WHAT IS THE MOST IMPACTFUL THING YOU’VE LEARNED ABOUT THE MUSIC INDUSTRY: It’s a brutal business. You can’t just be an artist, make records and tour. You better have a head for business too. Or you better have someone you can trust to advise you. There are way too many horror stories about a record company or manager ripping off a band.
5. WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF YOUR EXPERIENCE SO FAR: There’s no job security in the radio business. But, in 30+ years, I’ve only been let go twice and it turned out to be a positive thing both times. Sometimes you need a little shakeup in your career or life to get you where you need to be. When I got fired it was clear the universe was trying to tell me something and I was choosing not to hear it. So, it gave me a reality check. There were better things and better jobs ahead for me both times. I don’t always have the courage to pull the trigger on things when I should, like leaving a job situation that clearly wasn’t great. The biggest lesson I’ve had to learn is that I am replaceable and that’s OK. If I find the good in the situation, I will land on my feet.
6. WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST REWARDING PART OF YOUR EXPERIENCE SO FAR: Interviewing the rock stars I grew up listening to. I’ve learned so much about them, the process in which they create the music and the music business in general. It’s fascinating! If I had to pick a favorite interview it would, by far, be Steven Tyler. Most of the interviews I do are over the phone but he actually came to the station. I asked him if ’Love in an Elevator’ was inspired by actual events. The grin on his face was priceless! I love how he owned it and didn’t apologize. That’s who he was pre-sobriety, the ‘Love in the Elevator’ guy. There was no shame in his game. He was so real with me and I have a lot of respect for that. It made me love and appreciate who he is as an artist and person even more than I already did. Another one that really left an impression on me was Doug Fieger, the lead singer from The Knack. We talked before a show in October of 2007. He was dealing with a brain tumor. I was shocked that he was even touring! But I quickly realized it’s what he, and any musician really, lives for….being in front of an audience playing their music. Sadly, Doug passed away in February of 2010.
7. WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED ABOUT YOURSELF OVER THIS JOURNEY: Sound a little cliché, but I’m a survivor. No matter what, I’m going to keep digging in, learning and pushing forward.
8. HAVE YOU EVER WANTED TO GIVE UP: Who doesn’t get frustrated! Many times. But you have to turn that around and use it for motivation to keep pushing.
9. WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO POWER THROUGH: I love this business way too much to walk away. Nothing is ever as bad as it seems…even getting fired.
10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF WHAT YOU DO: Engaging with listeners. We share a common interest. Music connects people. The coolest thing about being at a concert is when you hear 10,000+ people singing along with the band. It’s magical.
11. HOW DO YOU LIKE TO SPEND YOUR FREE TIME: Well you just can’t beat a good live show! I enjoy a lot of local bands as well as the national acts that come through town. Some of my favorite local bands are Angel Siren, Torrid Complex, Twelve Years Driven, Dead Set Red, Pulse Rate Zero just to name a few . There’s a lot of talent in this town! My favorite life-long band is Aerosmith. I’ve loved them since I was a kid. And what’s not to love? If I really need to clear my head, nothing de-stresses me quite like hopping on the back of a Harley for a little wind therapy. I don’t have my own bike, but I do have my own biker! I love riding horses too, have since I was a little girl. Volunteering keeps me busy also. My big project right now is The Harris County Sheriff’s Office Mounted Patrol Foundation. I’m the VP. We’re in the process of getting the foundation up and running. Lots of paperwork to file! I also am a volunteer for The Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. My first show to volunteer for was in 2009. I started on the Directions & Assistance Committee (D&A). The Directions & Assistance Committee is responsible for assisting attendees and exhibitors with information and directions around the show grounds. They also are responsible for the care of lost children, operating the lost and found room, and distribution of the Show’s Visitors Guide and RodeoHouston day sheets. In 2014 I added a second committee to my repertoire, the Equipment Acquisition Committee(EAC). Members of this committee are responsible for securing much of the equipment needed for the successful operation of the livestock show and rodeo, World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest, and Downtown Rodeo Parade. I’m part of the admin team that checks equipment in and out to whatever committee needs it for the show. In 2015, I decided that EAC was a better fit for me, so I dropped D&A. On top of that, I’ve been a Rodeo Wrangler as well. It’s not an official committee, but many volunteers who do this are on Grand Entry Committee. We help the folks that own horses that are ridden in Grand Entry every night. We get them ready to go and take them into and out of the stadium each night.
12. WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT HOUSTON: The people! A very diverse mixture, but one that comes together in times of crisis or for a great cause. They never cease to amaze me.
13. WHAT IS SOMETHING REALLY NEAT, FUN, OF QUIRKY ABOUT YOU THAT NO ONE WOULD EVER KNOW WITHOUT YOU TELLING THEM: Not sure if it’s neat, fun or quirky, but some people may be surprised to know that I was diagnosed with Major Depression in the late 90’s. In the last few years, it’s been anxiety as well. Not always easy to deal with, but it is manageable. I want people to know that. You just have to keep trying. I do have bad days. But they aren’t as frequent as they used to be. I’m not broken. I’m just different. I’ve developed some coping tools that help me. First, I have to remind myself that the situation is temporary and will pass soon. If anxiety hits while I’m at work I’ll walk around the station and work on controlling my breathing. Sometimes something as simple as playing a game on my phone is enough of a distraction. Sometimes, I just need quiet so I’ll meditate. Weirdly enough, singing along to loud heavy metal is very soothing for me.
14. IF YOU WERE TO GIVE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE TO SOMEONE STARTING OUT OR NEEDING THAT INSPIRATION TO KEEP GOING IN YOUR INDUSTRY, WHAT WOULD IT BE: Don’t give up. Be willing to learn new things, keep an open mind and have a positive attitude.
15. WHAT IS YOUR WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA SO PEOPLE CAN FOLLOW YOU: Folks can listen to me live everyday from 10 am – 3 pm on The Eagle 106.0 & 107.5 or online on the website. People are welcome to follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as well. I look forward to connecting with everyone!