With KISW DJ & Social Media Director, Taryn Daly

My Background:

I was born and raised in Seattle where I lived with my parents, two sisters and brother until I was 12. I was pretty obsessed with KUBE 93.3, even going to their Sweet 16th Birthday Party back in the day, and making my parents take me to their Haunted House and every Circuit City remote they did. I was a radio nerd from the start! We picked up and moved an hour north to Stanwood, and although it was quite a drive from the big city, my friends and I always managed to make it down to Seattle for shows. My mom chaperoned until we were old enough to get down there ourselves. I’ve been a concert junky since I can remember. I had been to every major concert venue in the city by the time I finished high school, and then it was off to Washington State University where I majored in communication with an emphasis in broadcasting and a minor in music. I got heavily involved with Cable 8, the student-run TV station in Pullman, and it truly solidified my love for broadcasting. Whether I was in front of the camera, behind it or producing a show, I felt passionate about every aspect of creating the product. I am pretty sure I was the only sorority girl with an electric guitar in her bedroom, and although I loved working in TV, I had dreams of working in radio. I looked up to women like Cynthia Fox, Carol Miller, and of course KISW’s own Cathy Faulkner and Jolene. I knew that when I graduated, I would hustle and grind until I made it.

My Start in Radio:

My first job in radio was actually in the sales department! I was hired by the Skotdal family at KRKO 1380 AM in Everett. As a family owned and operated station, I was able to try just about everything — marketing and advertising, promotions, and WSU-related bits on-air with “The Fish” Jeff Aaron. I left the world of radio for a few years, but found my way back to the Cascade Radio Group in Bellingham, where I again joined the sales department in hopes of clawing my way to the other side of the building. After knocking on the PD’s door 1,000 times and throwing a few terrible demos on his desk, Scott Less caved and gave me my first true on-air position at Classic Rock 92.9 KISM. I was selling during the week, doing weekends and fill-in work whenever it was available. I NEVER said no to a shift. I can’t thank Scott enough for giving me the opportunity to explore radio the way I had always wanted to! I quickly learned that the airwaves was my home, so I started making demos to see if I could make it in Seattle. I sent a demo to Mike Kaplan, former PD of 107.7 The End, and he ended up passing my information upstairs to Ryan Castle at KISW. I still remember getting the first phone call from Ryan and I was SHAKING. I had been listening to KISW since I was a kid! I knew every DJ and show by name, both past and present. My boyfriend then is my boyfriend now (Brad Cash, morning show host at KISM), and I remember crying and telling him, “You HAVE to help me make the best demo EVER! I need this job! THIS IS IT!” Fun fact, Brad also worked at KISW back in the day, so he knew just how magical the place truly is and supported me every step of the way. I remember the day I interviewed in person with Ryan and Sergeant Hairclub AKA Dave Richards. I knew IMMEDIATELY that I wanted to work with them. And a few days later, Ryan called and offered me the job. I hit the floor, sobbing, and stayed there for quite a while as I processed what this meant to me. I was doing what I loved.

Pursuing My Passion:

Music radio was always where my heart lived. Every morning I woke up to the radio. I went to every show I could get to. I played music with my friends. I knew radio would be the best fit for my interests and my personality. Getting there wasn’t an easy road. I remember turning 30, and realizing my life was vastly different from my friends’ lives. I was working four part-time jobs (one being KISW) to make ends meet. But I kept fighting for my dream. That’s what you do! Some of my friends had been at companies for almost a decade, received multiple promotions, and were making six figures. I didn’t care. Some of them HATED their jobs. That wasn’t what I wanted. I fought for radio, and it was worth it. Working nights, weekends, holidays… missing family vacations, weddings and baby showers. Sometimes it seemed like too much, but in reality it wasn’t enough. I always wanted more! Eventually the woman I looked up to, Jolene — my mentor in more ways than she knows, made the decision to hang up her headphones and retire from radio. As broken-hearted as that left me, since I had looked up to her for YEARS, I knew I had to fight for the night host position at KISW. It was the most stressful job application I ever put in, and for two months I waited (didn’t sleep much!) hoping my dream would come true. It did. I still have no idea why they picked me, but here I am! And loving every single second of it. Pinch me!

The Seattle Music Community:

People talk about Seattle in the 90’s probably more than any other decade and rightfully so. Seattle birthed so many incredible bands at that time, developed its own genre, and an entire sub-culture of rock. Those days were LEGENDARY. But those weren’t the only days. Seattle has been a magical musical city for decades before the 90’s, and continues to be today. Our local scene is THRIVING right now, following in the footsteps of Mother Love Bone, Jimi Hendrix, Heart, Soundgarden and countless others. Back then, KISW broke several Seattle-based bands before any other station in the country. Fast forward to today, and the local music scene is one of the most supportive, cohesive groups of people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, and I’m honored to have so many friends in the local music world. Someone asked me the other day how often I go to shows. If you’re talking big shows, probably once every other month. But if you’re talking about local bands in local venues, I probably hit an average of one per week. There is so much raw talent out there, and phenomenal music being produced in Seattle that rivals some of the legendary songs we grew up with from bands we idolized. It’s a pretty special time to be in Seattle radio, and in Seattle in general. I feel proud that KISW continues to support Seattle bands from the past, present and future.

My Favorite Interviews:

A few favorites would be Crobot at Pain In The Grass 2015 and Mixi from Stitched Up Heart before Pain In The Grass 2016! Crobot are the type of guys I would party with on the weekends. They’re wild, and I think I would end up shooting whiskey with them all night long. Mixi is one of the most genuine women in music. She’s a fighter, an animal lover, and she treats me like family every time I see her.

My Favorite Radio Moments:

One of the coolest moments in my radio career was my first stage announcement after coming on board with KISW. It was Tesla at the Emerald Queen Casino, and I’ll never forget how INCREDIBLE it felt to hear that kind of love for the radio station from the stage. I was blown away and it was super special to my heart! They always say you’ll never forget your first 😉

Biggest Challenges:

Although I have learned to cope with this, I’d say the negativity that can be found on social media is one of the biggest challenges in this industry. Sometimes it’s not as easy as “just blocking it out” or “get over it”. Words stick with you — both the good and the bad. Learning to not let it get to me was a challenge, but my approach in doing so is remembering that you can’t be everyone’s cup of tea 100% of the time, and that is OKAY! I think it would be a pretty boring world if we all liked everything always. It’s still a little disappointing that adults will tear down other adults behind the safety of a phone or keyboard, because I think that is a horrible example to set for the next generation.

Advice to Those Looking to Start in Radio:

Learn all you can. Job shadow. Take internships. Don’t say no to a great opportunity, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. You will be your harshest critic, so you need to learn to not be too hard on yourself! It’s okay to make mistakes, because EVERYONE does. A perfect radio shift doesn’t exist, so don’t strive for perfection! Just be yourself, and don’t forget to sprinkle in some jokes.

Top 5 Favorite Artists:

1. Rush
2. Primus
3. Bad Religion
4. Alice In Chains
5. The Beatles

~Taryn Daly

Photos courtesy of Taryn Daly

Check out Taryn Daly Weeknights 6pm-10pm on KISW — #TarynItUp

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In collaboration with/produced by Jeff Gorra

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