Local DJ Feels Blessed Connecting with Listeners


By Nathan P. Gayle, Editor-in-Chief

Every month The Communicator will be focusing on a past Chattanooga State Community College(ChSCC) student this month it is with Kelly McCoy.

McCoy is an on air talent or disc jockey(DJ) with an air shift of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on KZ 106.

The lyrics of Widespread Panic “Radio Child” seems to fit for this article:

Always been the radio’s child

Quick-to-smile precious baby

Search the dial and electrify Growing up in Chattanooga there are few radio stations that stayed the course with their radio programing. There are few that have lasted as long as WSKZ 106.5 either; 35 years as of 2013. KZ has had some staple shows in Chattanooga like the Midnight Snack or the 4:20 Flashback. And who could forget about the Max Headroom campaign, I know I had a beach towel and t-shirt, or the KZ106 factoids? But there are two show that people hear everyday that are played on KZ106. The Free Electric Classifieds and the Classic Rock Cafe are both hosted by Kelly McCoy. Kelly and I chatted on Facebook about how ChSCC helped her in her career.

Nathan Gayle: My first question is what did you do before you came to Chattanooga State?

Kelly McCoy: Prior to Chattanooga State, I was in high school at East Ridge.

Gayle: What made you want to come to ChSCC?

McCoy: I attended my first year at ChSCC on a vocal scholarship but it was soon determined that I was never going to be a professional singer and I didn’t have the patience to teach so I turned my love of music into radio. I went through the Broadcasting program at the college station (WCSO back then).

Gayle: How has the college changed since then?

McCoy: I’m not sure how the college has changed since then (other than the stations call letters) as I haven’t been  back since the mid 80’s.

Gayle: Is there a student or mentor that you remember the most? And are you still in contact with them?

McCoy: The late Bob Riley was the station manager while I was at Chattanooga State. He was very fun to work with and I learned a lot from him. I do still keep in contact with some of the other students/ dj’s from those days.

Gayle: Do you get recognized by your voice?

McCoy: Yes, I do get recognized by my voice.  I was actually on vacation on Tybee Island a few years ago and got recognized in a restaurant by some other Chattanoogans when I was ordering my margarita!

Gayle: This is a two parter: what is the coolest thing a listener has ever done/ said to you?

McCoy: One of  the coolest things was when a listener offered me a free ticket to see Eric Clapton in Knoxville — her date couldn’t go and, from listening to me on the radio, knew I was a huge Clapton fan. When we got to the show the seats were on the Front Row!!! That was sooo cool!

Gayle: Have you ever introduced and act on stage and been like “Wow, I can’t believe I am doing this?”

McCoy: Being on stage doesn’t really freak me out anymore but when I was first getting started, I was always nervous onstage. I’ve been blessed by being able to meet some of my musical idols and for the most part, they are all very nice, down to earth folks. There are a couple exceptions though!

Gayle: If you had any advice for up and coming DJs what would it be?

McCoy: Up and Coming DJ’s need to embrace all the new technology and social media but don’t lose sight of the fact that listeners want someone who they can relate to on the air.   Over time, you develop ‘friendships’ with people you will likely never meet but since you ride with them to work every day or play them tunes while they are working, they develop a connection with you. I’ve celebrated with listeners and cried with listeners who have called in to share something that  has happened to them. No, I don’t know this person, but they feel they know me and that is a very special gift! I am blessed!