We had the good fortune of connecting with Karah Leigh and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Karah, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I always had dreams of doing something creative for a living. When I was little, I had the typical fantasy about growing up to be a famous actress or a singer, despite the fact that I can’t carry a tune to save my life. As a teenager, I assumed I would do something enjoyable but practical, but under dream job in my senior book I wrote that I would love to work at MTV or at 94.5 The Buzz. I liked my computer science classes, so I went to college as a computer science major, thinking I would be a web designer. See? Creative, yet practical. But my very first computer science class in college was just miserable. I was so bored and I couldn’t see myself getting a four-year degree in the subject, let alone doing it for the rest of my life. (Especially because at the time I was doing temp office work during the summer to make money and working in sterile offices and doing hours of filing while listening to elevator music was killing my soul.) So I changed my major to journalism, thinking the world needed reporters. But it was the same thing! I was bored, and it turned out, a little too verbose to be a reporter. At some point in there, I discovered that radio/TV was a major at my school. Who knew? So I changed my major again, and this time, it stuck. I didn’t love the TV portion, but I absolutely fell in love with being in the radio studio and learning to record and edit audio. I wasn’t bored. I was so, so happy with my classes and my work and I knew I had found my niche. I’ve definitely sacrificed having a more lucrative career, but I’m never miserable at work. 

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’ve had an internal battle over staying in radio so many times! When I say it’s a tough industry, I mean in. I tell people who are interested in getting into radio that if you can see yourself being really happy doing something else, do that instead. Because the entertainment industry, and specifically radio, is hard. I started in the Lufkin/Nacogdoches market, which is really small. I moved from being a weekender to having a midday shift really quickly, and I learned a lot, but small town life wasn’t for me. After a year on air with Clear Channel’s KFOX 95.5, I put in my notice and made plans to move home to Houston. I told our market manager, Johnny Lathrop, that if he could arrange it with Clear Channel in Houston, I would be happy to voicetrack for them — to record my show in Houston, essentially. He made it happen. Johnny put in a call to Houston, and next think you know, I’m on air doing weekends for 94.5 The Buzz in Market 6. That was in 2005! I did weekends for years. So many years. I was working full time doing audio production for the company, but I stuck around to be on air. It took about a decade, but I finally landed the night shift at The Buzz. I thought about leaving so many times! But I stay because I just really love my work and get so much satisfaction from it. So that’s what I’ve learned — you have to really, really want it. And if you start to get bitter and you don’t love it anymore, it’s time to go. I’ve seen too many people stick around past that point.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’ve moved out to the suburbs now, but anytime I want to go “out”, I still head inside the loop. We would have to hit my favorite brunch spot (Empire Cafe) and my husband’s favorite brunch spot (Buffalo Grille). A day at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston is an absolute must, and you really do need to set aside a day because there’s so much to see! There’s a room on the second floor that’s essentially a “cabinet of curiosities” and I can spend hours in there. I’m a sucker for a good bookstore, so popping into Murder by the Book is a must. For a night out, I’d hit a show (Warehouse Live or White Oak Music Hall) and drinks after (Dirt Bar or Raven Tower). I like things low-key, so casual is my preference.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’ve been so lucky to have a career! Radio is a tough industry, but especially since there’s been so much downsizing over the last two decades. It’s harder and harder to get a foot in the door, and then to have it actually go somewhere. I have a lasting career because I’ve been lucky enough to have people above me who have believed in me and supported me. Johnny Lathrop and Vince Richards are the two in particular who helped me transition from a small market to Houston, and I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for them.

Website: https://thebuzz.iheart.com/featured/karah/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/karahontheradio/
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kara-mcintyre-aaba1b1b/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/karahontheradio
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/karahontheradio

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