We all know Rachel Steele from her many media roles and broadcasting achievements, but the accomplishment she is most proud of is living and working in Cleveland with her family and friends. “Since I was born and raised in the area, my family and friends are all here. I love being with my sons, ages seven and five, and being able to have a career in my hometown is also something that I’m very thankful for.”
This vivacious voice on the radio is a vocal proponent of our often-underappreciated city. “I do consider Cleveland sort of an underdog. And I tend to root for the underdog. It’s nice to watch the investment, growth, and change of the landscape downtown!”
Rachel’s drive and determination has led her to becoming one of today’s top on-air personalities. The radio DJ and music director has achieved a high level of success in the broadcasting industry, a result of Rachel always keeping focused on her goals. “I am passionate about following my dreams and making the most out of life.”
Literally the girl next door, Rachel grew up in Euclid, Ohio. “I lived there until I was 12. My family then relocated to Mentor, Ohio, which is where I still live today.”She enjoyed the benefits of getting an education from several notable institutions in the area. “I attended Mentor High School, then went to Ursuline College in Pepper Pike, where I received my Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration. I also studied at the Ohio Center for Broadcasting.”While still in school, she realized that winning a radio job in a major market was a daunting challenge — but not an insurmountable one. “It was up to me to make the contacts, work hard, learn the business, and look out for myself. It’s not nearly as easy or as glamorous as it looks from the outside.” Rachel started on the 92.3 Street Team in 2001 while still at OCB. “It was a new station and they needed part-time jocks. I submitted my tape and was hired for weekends. I was promoted to different positions — Weekday,
7-Midnight, Evening Jock — then to Middays, which was 10am-3pm.”
She remained in Middays through the switch from Xtreme Radio to K-Rock, until the format was changed again and the station went jockless on December 1, 2008. “Throughout those years, I tried to learn as much as I could about the business. I stayed after my shifts to learn the process and guidelines of scheduling music, and very often scheduled music for both Xtreme and K-Rock.”
Making the transition to Music Director and Afternoon Drive personality on WLFM 87.7 Cleveland’s Sound took considerably less time. “I received a phone call one day regarding a new station. I had breakfast with the owners, and was hired a week later.”
Currently Rachel is a DJ on SiriusXM’s “Classic Vinyl” show, airing Mondays and Fridays from 12noon-6pm on Channel 26. “We broadcast from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In addition to my role of being a jock, I interact with Rock Hall visitors. The studio is located on the 5th floor, in the middle of the Rolling Stones exhibit. It’s a high foot-traffic area!! There are headphones hanging outside the studio window, and I have a ‘lobby’ button on my board. I press the button and chit-chat with people who are visiting.”
The partnership between the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and SiriusXM is ideal, according to Rachel. “The visitors seem to love the experience of peeking inside a real radio studio! It’s also great exposure for the city of Cleveland. No matter where you are in the United States, and some parts of Canada, you hear me say, ‘Live at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.'”
Rachel has seen many changes in the industry since she went on the air. “The Ipod was introduced right around the time I started in radio. Since then, many other good, solid services such as Pandora, Spotify, IHeartRadio, along with SiriusXM, etc., have entered the scene. The level of competition for terrestrial radio stations is so much greater than it was just 13 years ago. Music listeners and lovers have so many great options.”
In between her professional duties and personal life, Rachel somehow manages to make special appearances, and often DJs at private parties and events. Interested parties can visit her website at www.djrachelsteele.comto find out more details and booking information.
But at the end of the day (or even the early morning), Rachel’s main focus is on her two boys. They are not the only children who benefit from Rachel’s loving, caring nature. “I’ve worked with a charity for years called ‘W.A.G.S. for Kids’ (Working Animals Giving Service for Kids). It’s an unbelievable organization that trains dogs and places them with disabled children. I will be DJing the 2nd Annual ‘Have a Heart Bachelor Charity Raffle’ on June 25th downtown. The ladies arrive in droves and bid on dates with local celebrities, athletes, and other local singles looking for love.”
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