7?s With Dave Steele
Dave started in radio at 15 and by the time he was 22 he was a Program Director. He has been on the air in every day part and position since. The Voice Overs bug caught him back in the late 90’s and in 2000 he officially started Steele Imaging, Ltd.
1) How did you get your start in radio?
I started by “putting the needle on the record” before that phrase was ever cool. I was a Sunday night, part time kid, who made sure Rick Dee’s got played. It was only by pure luck that a huge snowstorm shut down I-25 between Colorado Springs and Pueblo. The station (KKMG-FM Magic 98.9) was in Pueblo at the time. The staff, except me, lived in Colorado Springs. The overnight guy was unable to get to the station. The PD at the time (Lee Reynolds) called and told me… “Get ready to go on the air.” I thought “this is my moment.” Fame, fortune, girls, glamour… 12:03am, right after the top of the hour ID (which was Charlie Van Dyke by the way) and the first song, I cracked the mic and got ready to be world famous. I completely choked, pee’d myself a little bit, was terrified and failed. Thank goodness Lee (P.D.) and Max Miller the O.M. were a really great guys. They kept working with me and from there… it’s history.
2) What’s your favorite thing about working in the industry?
It was my passion for the music. I loved the music. All kinds, format didn’t matter. As time went by it was the raw creative power and influence of people I met and worked with. The power of the imagination. The ability to bring life to so many amazing ideas without any video. It was very addictive.
3) What does it take to setup a killer studio?
You have to be comfortable.
First and foremost, you must be comfortable in your environment. If that is your bedroom closet, bathroom, inside your car, so be it. If you need a huge fancy facility with candles and people fanning you with palm leaves while feeding you dates, fine. I have heard of all kinds of strange recording setups. But you can’t let loose on the mic unless you are comfortable in ‘your space.’
I recently reworked my studio space. I added all new electrical, inner wall sound proofing, better lighting and a whole bunch of other crap I probably didn’t need, but it was my room and I wanted it to be comfortable. No one fans me and feeds me dates. The wife killed that idea. However, a pricey leather couch that I decided to put in my room continues to give her reason rolls her eyes at me.
4) How did you go from being a radio program director to being a fireman?
It wasn’t a case of going from a P.D. to working as a firefighter. It was both at the same time. I was a bit frustrated with the industry at one point in my life. I was working around people that viewed radio as an ‘all about me’ opportunity. The teamwork ethic I had gotten into radio for had started to erode. The inner drive I grew up with just trying to get into radio seemed to be gone with people, and even those who were looking for work. I saw so much attitude that oozed ‘I am owed it’ not, ‘I will work for it.’ It started to affect me and I wasn’t pleased with the way I started to look at the world. I needed to find a team. Some balance. So, I joined a volunteer fire department.
Very few jobs require the kind of team work you find on a fire department. I loved it. I took every class I could. Hell, it was a free education. I have certification as a Medic, auto extrication specialist, train derailment, high angle entry, rapid intervention teams, etc. Nothing makes your everyday personal life seem so much like a gift as it does when you come back to your home after helping a family save theirs. Or, cutting the roof of a car off and helping someone get out safely while their family is right there watching, panicked and crying. Even the little things, like coming out of a structure that is beyond saving, but managing to get some family photos off the wall to give to the family. It’s truly a personally rewarding experience. I wasn’t paid for it; I just did it. Need a little perspective in your life… being a blood donor is cool. But, serving on a fire department is so much more life defining.
5) What goes into being a recovery diver for the sheriff’s department?
A shit load of dive training. Well beyond the recreational diver. You need to be really good at not panicking. You will spend most of your dives in very, very low visibility. Sometimes, unable to see inches in front of you. A very eerie feeling. Often, you will find yourself in small confined spaces and you must be able to control your breathing and know where all of your equipment is at all times, like your knife, back up respirator, dive computer, etc. and keep it all tucked up nice and neat so you don’t get snagged on underwater hazards. No matter how cool you think you are, when you find a body, your wetsuit gets pretty warm pretty quick, regardless of the water temperature. On one particular dive, I found a safe which contained cash, drugs and weapons. That was kind of cool.
6) Other than your voice, what’s the most important piece of equipment in the studio?
There are 2 items for me. A high quality mic and a good sound card that can keep up. The end.
7) What’s the best scotch you’ve ever had?
I like Scotch. My taste is varied, but a standard go-to scotch for me is called “Lagavulin.” Some people think it tastes like a campfire smells. Other think it’s like drinking burnt rubber. However, it’s a truly remarkable smoky scotch that just hangs on your tongue.
A few of the folks in the Benztown office may now be addicted after I introduced them to it. Perhaps, even one or two of them are currently running around with a bottle on an I.V. pole and a needle in their arm.
I’m done with these questions. I need to find my Lagavulin.
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