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Meet Lauren Elwell

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lauren Elwell.

Hi Lauren, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I started at KSHE 95 in St. Louis after I graduated from Illinois State University. I was looking for a way to get my foot in the door in ANY radio station, so I could start my career. As luck and timing would have it, I emailed John Ulett and he forwarded my resume to the KSHE promotions department. After that, I worked so hard on maintaining this opportunity by absorbing everything happening around me.

Even though I loved working in the promotions department, my heart and soul always wanted to get back to being on air and that was my hope the whole time. In 2012, it finally happened — I went full time on air with John Ulett for the longest-running, local KSHE morning show — ‘The KSHE Morning Rock Show.’ This was my ‘big break’ and after eight years of cohosting with John, in 2020, I went to Afternoon Drive to host my own show. I’ve loved every part of being on air at KSHE — getting to work with a radio and St. Louis legend like John, and then now having my autonomy with afternoons, in addition to the revitalization of ‘Monday Night Metal’ and Hubbard Radio’s Public Affairs Show, ‘Talk of the Town.’ My radio dreams are fulfilled!

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
My story so far has been mainly a happy one. There have been small struggles along the way but nothing to really focus on in this moment, now. I would say that I am grateful for it all — the good days, the bad days and the ones that flew by without me even realizing it. These last 13 years of radio for me have been a fleeting, glorious ride. If anything, the worst part about working in radio is how quickly things can change — shows get canceled, people move on and we are entering a period in rock radio where the giants who created the sound of ‘classic rock’ as we know it, are passing away. That part is ever-on-going and hard to deal with as a person, and as a fan.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am a radio personality — an on air host, or for an archaic term, ‘a radio DJ’. Unfortunately, I do not jocky discs very often — more so at KSHE than other stations, I am sure, but alas all music is digitally programmed. I host the Afternoon Drive daypart at KSHE 95. This means I work from 2-6p during the week. In addition, I am also the first female host of our metal specialty show, ‘Monday Night Metal’ which became a thing in the 80s at KSHE and has come back in sporadic years since its inception. I also host our weekly public affairs show, ‘Talk of the Town’ which airs Sunday mornings on all of our Hubbard Broadcasting stations.

My job is to help people escape, inform them, be empathic with them, to connect to them, to free them from their minds for a second and play them legendary rock music in between. If I had a speciality, it would be the ability to connect on a human level. People have said they feel like they know me, after listening to me — that I am ‘down to Earth’ and I like that. It’s my intention to be someone they can count on for authenticity and heart. I am known for my ‘contagious laugh’ which I get from my mom. I am most proud of my ability to genuinely connect and remain focused on my audience — when someone like Dusty Hill of ZZ Top died and I had to share this unfortunate news with our audience at the start of my show, I broke down in the eulogy. Just like my audience, I too was devastated.

Many people reached out to tell me they were breaking down into tears, too. To me, that’s what I do best — I connect and share with my audience. I think that sets me apart — some people don’t care about the audience, they only care about being famous or getting likes. I have always cared about people and have wanted to help them in any way I could through this medium. Music heals people, especially in times like these. The energy behind a radio station and the voices on it have a big power — they can manipulate people, hurt them, embroil them — I don’t want any part of that. I want to lift people up, get people to share in their similarities and find joy wherever they can. My work is difficult sometimes because of how hateful people can be, or how much is misunderstood out there. I try to just be a be ‘a lady who shines bright light and seems to show, how everything still can turn to gold.’

If you had to, what characteristic of yours would you give the most credit to?
I think my genuine state is what sets me apart and has lead me to this moment in my career. This sounds weird to type but I think I am accepted by people. And I have always had this friendly nature to me — since I was in high school, really. I was friends with everyone — the jocks, the LGBTQ crowd, the stoners, the popular girls, the journalism nerds (I was one of them! Proudly!) — all the stereotypes of people that we as humans group people in (sometimes unfairly).

I just love people — all people! Humans are interesting and the ethnography of studying people — what makes them tick, how they love, where their honestly lies, etc. that’s always in the back of my head when I am on the radio. I actually care about what people think — and that’s never something people like to admit. But I care because I’m curious about why people are the way they are… and what makes them connect and feel?

I think that’s why I have made it this far. I’m not focused completely on the typical things your normal music station radio personality is — at the heart of what I do is the listener.

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Image Credits
Keith Brake

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