WHAT I’M KNOWN FOR: iHEARTRADIO’S “WOODY AND JIM MORNING SHOW” MUSIC DIRECTOR & CO-HOST SAVANNAH GRIMM
An all-female team, women developing women is at the core of who Choice is. Our Founder, Heather Adams, will tell you in a heartbeat that mentoring college women is her mission field. Pouring into the generation behind us while being poured into by the generation ahead of us is important to each team member. It comes as no surprise, then, that our goal for this month’s post is to help those entering the communications field (and even moms balancing it all!) with best practice tips and advice… straight from live radio!
We are so proud to feature this month’s “What I’m Known For” guest, Savannah Grimm, Music Director and Morning Show Co-Host at iHeartRadio’s Woody and Jim Show on 107.5 The River. A Middle Tennessee native, Savannah and Choice Business Development Manager, Trisha Murphy, attended college together. Read below to see Trisha’s conversation with Savannah, ranging from her progression at 107.5 to her advice for others entering the field.
TM: Is it true you were hired on the air after interning with Woody & Jim? Tell us a little about that process. Was it a daunting experience to go on air as a new grad?
SG: I first began working with Woody & Jim as an intern — I hadn’t even graduated yet, and had zero broadcasting experience, as I was majoring in print journalism. On top of that, I was about 7 months pregnant with my son, Wolfy. I was pretty convinced they weren’t even going to consider me given all of the circumstances, but they joked about keeping hot towels in the studio and took me on. For a while, I just answered phones and learned about the more technical, production-related aspects of the show, until one day their co-host at the time called in sick. They told me that morning I was going on the air in her place, and I was totally terrified; I still remember how fast my heart would beat knowing that people could HEAR me when the mic was on. But I quickly relaxed into it, because we’ve got such a warm dynamic between the three of us. Everything fell into place so suddenly for us, and I feel very lucky for that.
TM: Some of my favorite memories of you are before you were an on-air personality during our time together as AOIIs at Middle Tennessee State University (with Choice Founder, Heather Adams, as our adviser! It’s a small world after all). What’s the biggest piece of advice you would give a new graduate looking to make it in the world of media?
SG: I always tell people to be prepared to work like crazy — especially in the beginning. With social and digital media capabilities, the news cycle is going 24/7. You’ve got to be willing to prove your worth even before the money shows up. I was hired after my internship with Woody & Jim as an associate producer and the pay was terrible. I had to work multiple jobs to pay my bills. I knew if I just continued to say yes and show the company what I could really do, it would pay off. It didn’t take long to be promoted to co-host of the morning show and later Music Director of the station. So many people want to be involved in this industry; you’ve really got to show how hard you’re willing to work for your shot!
TM: Our number one core value at Choice is that relationships matter. Has there been a relationship throughout your career that has been especially impactful for you?
SG: I actually count myself very lucky to have had several very supportive male mentors. In an industry dominated by men, I’ve been very fortunate to be supported by truly good guys that show nothing but respect for my ambition. Since this isn’t exactly what I went to school for, I was totally “green.” They helped me build my professional style from the ground up. John Mayer, our former Program Director, played a huge part in that, as well as our current PD, Jonathan Shuford. And, of course, Woody & Jim are the best. They actually bring me home-cooked meals on weeks that they know I’m particularly busy and tired. Nothing says, “I support you” like a hot meal! Ha!
TM: It seems that media is changing every day, from the transitions in print to the impact mico-influencers have online today. What has been the biggest shift in media you have witnessed from the start of your career?
SG: It goes without saying that social media plays a bigger role now than it ever has, especially in the entertainment industry. I remember when I was an intern, I actually STARTED our Instagram accounts because the station didn’t have any. I had been learning about platforms like Instagram, Vine and Audible in my senior level classes and thought they could help us connect with our listeners on a new level. These days, it’s an essential piece of what we do. Today, radio definitely lives outside of our cars.
TM: You and I, like so many women out there, juggle working mom life every day. At Choice, we laugh and say we don’t believe in the work/life balance, as it’s always a dynamic between the two. What systems do you put in place to keep all the plates spinning and help you not lose your sanity?
SG: As a single mom to a five-year-old, I’ve always let everyone around me know that my son is my priority. I’ve got my hours set almost completely around his schedule, and luckily everyone has been very respectful of that. I try to take Wolfy with me to the office at least every couple of months, too, and make a point to bring him to the more kid-friendly events that we’re involved with. It’s important to me that he gets to see those parts of my world so he knows what I’m up to when we’re not together. My coworkers are great with him; they’ve all pitched in to make office days fun when he’s around. They actually have coloring books and games ready to go anytime. And, of course, on typical mornings we FaceTime when he’s getting ready for school. Technology is the best, sometimes. You can always be present, somehow.
TM: During your time at iHeartMedia, you have met so many great and talented artists. Meeting or chatting with a celebrity is just another day in the office for you, but what would you say to someone entering the field who might have jitters when talking to someone with a major name or brand?
Even before I started with iHeartMedia, I had experience with the same kinds of artists because of my dad’s job. He’s a tour bus driver and a bodyguard who has worked with everyone from Justin Timberlake to Aretha Franklin, so much of my childhood was spent in this world. What I figured out pretty early on was that the most famous artists really are just people, at the end of the day. They eat, they sleep, they have good days and bad days. Be respectful, but don’t psych yourself out over it.
TM: Do you live by a life mantra?
SG: My life mantra is “say yes now, figure it out later.” Jump at every opportunity you can, even if you’re not sure how it’ll all come together. I even use that with personal matters, like taking a spontaneous vacation (I’ve done a few of those this year and it’s been so good for my mental health). If you want something, just go for it!