Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Virginia Beach, VA

October 15, 2021

Inspiring Woman Interview: Meet Shelby SOS from POWER 96.1

     Time for another Inspiring Woman interview! As always, I'm very excited about this awesome guest. I've been trying to alternate guests between women who inspire me in radio (my day job) and blogging/influencing (my side hustle). Today we are back to radio! 

     I've been following Shelby and her career for a few years now. We are around the same age, so it's especially interesting for me to keep up with her since we both have gone from being radio interns just a few years ago, to working full-time in the industry. I already knew Shelby was talented, but I learned so much more about her from her answers to these questions! If you live in Atlanta or the DC/Baltimore (DMV) areas especially, you'll definitely want to know Shelby. 

1. Introduce yourself: (Who you are, where you live, your current job)

     Hello, my name is Shelby Sos! I go by my last name on air, which is actually pronounced “sauce”. I moved to Atlanta, GA just over nine months ago! I currently do middays for Power 96.1, produce the morning show, and do weekends and fill in for a bunch of other stations!

2. When did you first decide to pursue a career in radio? Was it something you'd been fascinated with since childhood, or something you fell into in college or adulthood?

     If I really look back on my life, then yes radio was something I had always been interested in. My grandpa did radio in Montana and Colorado so I had heard stories from him when I was growing up. I remember when I was about eight-years-old there was a DJ in Baltimore who went by “Hawaiian, Ryan”. So my brain automatically thought I should go by “Tell Me, Shelby.” I would have people call in and confess things – Hah! My mom said that name sounded ridiculous. 

ANYWAY this is a very long story and the reality is, by the time I was in college I had basically grown up with my local morning show, The Kane Show. The first day I could literally drive to high school alone, without my mom, in my beater car, was the first day The Kane Show aired. Literally. So, years later I’m in college in my career counselors office because for one of my majors I needed to get an internship. She said The Kane Show was hiring an intern, so I went and applied right away. Literally. Sent them probably 15 e-mails until they finally asked me to come in for an interview. 

3. Tell us about your first radio job. What station was it, and what was your role?

      My first radio job was interning for The Kane Show. I was working in Washington D.C., at WITH Hot 99.5, but Kane when I started was syndicated in multiple markets like: Baltimore, Cincinnati, Tampa, Memphis, Las Vegas, Tampa, Louisville, Long Island, and more. My first few months I answered phones, and blogged. As time went on, I became the associate producer and helped make the show sound great on-air and of course added the story of my life to the show. I was going through a messy break up at the time that was perfect for radio. 

4. You moved to Atlanta earlier this year for a new career opportunity. How is your new job going? Have you noticed any big differences from being on-air in Baltimore vs. Atlanta?

      My new job is going well, it’s just different of course. I went from having a night show, to now being on middays. You know, where you can’t get away when some topics. 

      I was born and raised in Baltimore. People always sleep on Baltimore, but it’s nickname is Smalltimore because of its small town feel. The thing with Baltimore, and cities like Baltimore, is that we are very prideful of our city and love all things local. Where as, Atlanta is a transplant city so listeners for the most part don’t have a connection to the city like people in Baltimore do. My show while local, doesn’t really need to be I LOVE ATLANTA. Though, I do! 

5. What's your favorite thing about the radio industry? What's something that you wish you could change about it?

     Radio is that medium that will always be there for you. I remember when I wrote my senior thesis in college I really focused on the medium as a whole for emergency communications and when power is out radio is still there. Just like I grew up with The Kane Show before I even worked there, listeners grow with us too whether we really realize that or not. Which, I hope people really take a minute to step back and take that in. We are there for people going through things that we can’t even fathom or understand and they turn to us to take their mind off of it. We end up creating these relationships with these people because we are that happy place/entertainment for them, and I just think sometimes it’s really hard for me and maybe even you to understand. This is long, but I’ll never forget this woman would call into The Kane Show just talk to someone. It was just me and another producer at the time so she would always get me. She loved the show, loved listening to everyone, and just called to talk – not go on air. One morning she starts talking about how much her husband had loved the show, and before you know it, I realize why this connection to the show was so important to her. My grandma is a grief counselor and I connected the two, and they actually are friends now. My grandma went to Florida to meet her. 

     If I could change one thing? More women in power roles. It’s important that we have a voice at all levels. It’s. not just radio, it’s most industries that need to see the importance of this change. 

 6. You and DC radio personality Intern John have a podcast together called The Thought Shower. What is the show about and when did you start it? Do you have any favorite podcast memories or highlights? 

     The Thought Shower is just a lifestyle podcast where if you were a fan of The Kane Show and more specifically liked IJ and myself then perfect you get to hear us. It’s really just like a morning show, minus the music. We have topics, features, etc. At the beginning of lockdown we did a new podcast EVERY SINGLE DAY. It was a lot, during an already mentally difficult time but listeners really responded to this and needed that distraction. Hey, they told me that! I’m not making this up hahaha. So, John actually had started the podcast in May 2016 before I even started in radio and used to literally interview celebrities in a shower at the office. When I was going through some stuff and needed more practice on air, I asked IJ if I could be on his podcast for an episode. He of course said yes. That was May 2018 and I just never left! 

     I think it’s pretty obvious, but John is my best friend, so he has been there through literally my lowest and highest points. The last four years especially have been some of the most difficult times of my life, and throughout that time I’ve been very vocal about mental health. A year into being on the podcast, John had the idea that we do an episode just about my anxiety. I’ve struggled with it since I was a kid, and he knew listeners would reach out to me often to talk about it. What ended up happening is we started “The Anxiety Tapes”. It’s three episodes where I talk about my experiences, and journey with anxiety. I give advice on finding a therapist, and so on and the response was almost overwhelming. It was so positive, and it meant so much that John allowed me to turn this comedy/lifestyle podcast that is his podcast – into episodes about something that is so important to talk about.  

7. The Thought Shower podcast isn't the only thing that you and Intern John have done together. You're current on-tour with his for his What's Next comedy tour. Did you both get into stand-up together? Do you think doing stand-up helped you with your radio shows on-air?

      John started doing comedy I five years ago when he wanted to do one comedy show to raise money for The Fisher House foundation because his friend was in the military with cancer. I had just started at the morning show, but he turned one show into a tour. The first tour I worked the merch booths and watched. I had been writing comedy for a few years, but I wans’t sure I was funny. I mean, I am – but on stage? I wasn’t sure. When John told me he was going to do a second tour it was a Sunday night when he text me, so I said something like cool – can I try out to be on your tour. It’s 9pm on a Sunday night – he says ok you can try out after work tomorrow. Aka at 10am the next morning I had to try out my material that I hadn’t even looked over. I think I did a ten minute try out and not to brag but I think he was surprised. He worked with me over the next few months and that’s how I got my start. This is my third tour, and I definitely am a lot better. I do think writing comedy after the last year has been really difficult for me because I’m not in a creative space right now after dealing with a lot of loss BUT I am getting there. 

     I think that actually radio has helped me with comedy. Getting my own radio show, and having to think on my feet has helped so much with the delivery and even just writing.

8. You're a Maryland girl through and through and got to start your radio career in your home region! What's your favorite thing about Maryland? Where should someone check out if they're ever in the Baltimore or DC area?

     I would say, skip DC and stick to Annapolis or Baltimore. If you end up in Pasadena, which it’s a peninsula so I’m not sure how you would end up there, go to Irv’s basement bar. It’s the oldest in Maryland and make sure you’re wearing a bra you don’t care about because you have to leave it on the ceiling. Yes, I’m serious. If you want crabs, Mikes Crab House. That’s it. If you go to Baltimore, go to Pickles Pub, then go to a Ravens game and drink an orange crush or you can’t come back. 😊 Also serious.

9. How are you liking Atlanta so far? What's been the best and most challenging things about moving out-of-state for a new job? Would you give any advice to someone who might be moving soon for work?

     Atlanta is A VIBE. That’s how I always describe it. It’s such a cool city, with so much to do and A LOT going on. Honestly, I don’t think my advice will help because I moved here and didn’t know anyone at all and the city during the pandemic completely changed. I moved somewhere that used to be a fine area, and when I got here it really wasn’t. The internet wasn’t helpful. So really, just ask ask ask ask ask. Ask anyone at all so you get actually insiders advice living wherever you want to move. I literally changed my Hinge location to Atlanta to start asking matches since I didn’t know anyone. Moving to a new city is such a experience. It’s really hard, and probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done but it’s actually helped me more grow more than I care to admit. Even though I just did hahah. I was born and raised in Maryland, so back at home there’s just so much tied to it. But here, I don’t have any ties and that’s really exhilarating. It’s scary but it’s kind of like I wake up everyday like – what else has this city got?

10. Do you have any radio career goals for the next few years?

     My goal is a morning show!

11. Leave your social media accounts or links here so we can connect with you:

     Instagram and Twitter - @shelbysos on everything

     The Thought Shower podcast

     Thanks so much Shelby for being my featured Inspiring Woman this month! For past interviews in this series- click here!

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese 

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