Dayna Steele wouldn’t give up until she worked at KLOL

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Dayna Steele
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We’re going back and looking at episodes from RunawayRadioRewind.com. That’s the new video podcast put on by the people who worked for 101 KLOL in its legendary rock days.

In episode #14, Houston’s “First Lady of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” Dayna Steele talks about how she got in the radio biz and ended up landing her dream DJ job at KLOL.

Here is the video of the interview from the podcast and below is part of it in transcript form.

Growing up listening to KLOL…you know the big jock was Crash. You know and when I was at Dulles High School, you weren’t cool if you couldn’t get up in the morning and go, “Yeah, I heard Crash, you know fall asleep or lock himself out of the studio again and the record would go {makes record skipping sound}. You know you weren’t cool if you miss you know that.

And when I got in I got into radio on a dare at Texas A&M and I accepted a job as a secretary at what was then Y94 it was a rock station.

And you know just to get my foot in the door and once I started doing that I think I applied at KLOL either three or four times. The first time with Jackie McCauley. Somebody told me Jackie’s was raising goats in New Zealand now and she’s one of the people I can’t find. But Jackie was this African American woman who was the program director of a rock station in America which was just unheard of then and she had just the most amazing voice and and I was so enamored with Jackie. And I went and interviewed to get a job at KLOL and it was basically, “Girlfriend you need a lot more experience.”

So I went back several times. And actually what happened was in 1982 they were doing the Texas Jamm at the Houston Astrodome and one of the jocks, there was a big joke around the radio station because somebody called once on the radio  request sign and said, “Why don’t you pay play more Zepp, you effers.” And so that to this day among KLOL staffers you will hear, “Hey play more Zepp you effers.” And well she actually said it live on the air and there was no delay or anything and it was you know back at a time where that was definitely one of the seven words you didn’t say.

And so she was let go and I was given her shift which was I think 10:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. on a Saturday night. So I finally got my foot in the door. I remember I had to go to Kelly Temps or whatever they were called back then and get a job during the week trying to make some money to pay rent but I had my foot in the door. I was at KLOL and not long after that they gave me midnight to 6:00 which is a horrible shift no matter how many times you tell your mother I sleep during the day. She would call me you go, “You asleep?.” “Yes I am.” So I just went from there part time on the weekends because she said “more Zepp you effers,” to midnight to six, to evenings 10:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. to mid-days to morning drive to mid-days to afternoon drive to mid-days. My God given time slot mid-days that seems to be where it all comes back to you.

The arrival of Stevens and Pruett at KLOL

Pat Fant was just so excited and you know he told me all kinds of stories about them from Dallas and so we had no idea what to expect and you know they were just it was such a love hate relationship on the part of the entire staff with Stephens and Pruett.

I even say to this day when people say oh are you still in touch? I said you know we’re like a really big close knit dysfunctional family who love and hate each other at the same time. But when you’re needed you all come together when when Jimmy [Pruett] died we all came together when when when Kevin [Dorsey] died we all came together. When somebody is in need we all come together.

It was just a lot of excitement and it was a lot of “Oh my God we’re gonna be fined every single day.” I thought I was a bad girl. I always said that if I didn’t get called in to the general manager’s office whoever it was that week at least once you know if I did get called in at least once a week for something I said on the air then I wasn’t pushing the envelope. I wasn’t doing my job. And Stevens and Pruett came in and the rest of us could pretty much get away with anything because they pushed it so far.

Why is 101 KLOL still such a special Houston station?

Because we loved Houston and Houston is a very, very special city it still is. We are the most diverse city in the United States. We speak 142 different languages, but it still feels like a small hometown. We all take care of each other. And you could not pick up KLOL and drop us in any other city. We were Houston centric. Many of us had been born and raised or or if not born and lucky enough to be born and raised in Houston, we had adopted Houston and we genuinely cared.

I remember one of the first times an HPD officer was killed in the line of duty and like first time in forever. I mean within minutes we were you know getting the broadcast van calling the Hard Rock calling the press. Within an hour we were all set up to broadcast live. For as long as it took and I think we raised $300,000 with people just coming by after work, coming by during lunch because we could do that sort of thing.

You know once we were we were bought by Evergreen that became Clear Channel, you know the evil empire, you couldn’t do that anymore because everything needed a focus group, it needed a poll it needed to go up the chain of command.

I would say if I had to pick one reason we were so beloved is because we were owned by a beloved Houston family, the Jones family…the Jones Fountain, Jones Road, Jones Hall and we were allowed to love our city and do whatever it took to be involved in this city.


Help support the KLOL documentary so it can come out in 2020 - NEW PERKS AVAILABLE - hurry time is limited. CLICK HERE | WATCH the trailer