08 May Beers & Bios: Della Bryant
Welcome to Beers & Bios, the newest feature at Malone Media Group. As a way to spotlight our incredible employees, our Social Squad has taken to the MMG bar, because where better to do business? The Squad does the questioning while the chosen star does the drinking (just one beer, we’re not animals). In these interviews, we ask the questions of the people: the basic questions, the goofy questions, the unexpected questions. Our employees are more than the impressive work they do–they’re impressive people.
Della Bryant is our first guest for Beers & Bios. A pillar of MMG, she has been with us for six years as the vice president of media. Read on to find out how she got started in the business, as well as her surprise zodiac sign (trust us, you’ll want to know).
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
*As we sit, Della tosses some of the good good (those delicious striped mints that melt in your mouth) across the table for us.*
Melanie S: So how’s your Wednesday?
Della: It’s Wednesday, halfway there!
Mary: First question?
Caitlyn: First question! Where were you born?
D: Nacogdoches, Texas.
C: Booooo! …I went to Sam Houston.
D: …That’s it, this interview is over.
M: Wait, did you go to SFA?
D: I did for a semester but then I was dumb and got married.
C: I just [got married]. It happens.
D: It happens. Everybody should try it once.
S: What is something unique we don’t know about you?
D: Oh, wow. Something unique…I don’t know what y’all know about me.
Kelsey: Well, what anyone doesn’t know about you, even your media team.
C: Just something that’s not general knowledge.
D: I’m not really a unique kinda person, I mean, I’m from Nacogdoches, Texas.
M: I hate that question.
D: I don’t know what the answer is. I interviewed George Strait once.
M: About what?
D: Well, I was in radio, my first year in radio and he was just starting out, 1985-86-ish.
M: Dang, that’s really cool!
D: I got to sit on his bus and interview him for about 30 minutes.
S: That’s so cool!
D: I don’t know if that’s unique.
K: That IS unique!
M: You got to talk to The King!
D: You know, I spoke to The King, but he wasn’t quite The King yet, but he was on his way.
C: He was a prince.
M: Ok, so where did you attend school and what did you study?
D: High school, college?
K: You could tell us your entire life story.
C: Start with preschool, actually.
D: So, I went to SFA this one semester before I got married and my degree would have been in kinesiology. I wanted to be a basketball coach.
C: Did you play [basketball]?
D: I did, and softball and ran track and lifted weights…
K: You were sporty!
D: Well, I went to a small school.
C: An athlete.
D: Y’all seem a little shocked. Us old people do things too, you know.
C: What celebrity would you rate as a perfect ten?
D: I was in radio for 28 years. The celebrities don’t really…I met so many jerks that it’s not really a thing for me.
C: That makes sense.
K: Or past, doesn’t really matter.
D: What was the question again?
M: Who would you rate as a perfect ten?
D: I don’t know, I don’t think anyone’s perfect, so, tens are hard for me.
K: Ok but like, Ryan Reynolds exists, so…
C: What about like, a seven at least?
K: A HARD seven.
D: A hard seven…I’ll tell ya, I didn’t like Sean Connery in his old days when he was 007, but in his latter years I think he’s probably a hard seven.
S: That’s a good one!
M: I don’t know if this question is on there, but how did you get into radio? What inspired you to get into radio?
D: The inspiration was, I was gonna go into the hotel/motel business because I’m really good with numbers, so I could do the audits, reports and stuff and always matched to the penny. So I came in, and there was FBI tape around the motel. The people who owned the place in Crockett, Texas, lil’ bitty town, they weren’t paying our taxes. They were taking them out of our checks, but they weren’t paying the government, so I didn’t have a job. There was a tiny little radio station and the lady that owned it was crazy as all get out. She went in one day and fired everybody.
K: Well, that’s terrifying.
D: I knew her, knew she needed help. So I drove over to the station and I said, “Look. I know you need help, I need a job, I’ll do anything.” That crazy woman absolutely taught me everything she knew. She knew the business, she’d been raised in it, her father had been in the radio business. So that’s how I got into it in 1985.
C: Sometimes the crazy ones are the best.
D: She let me do anything. I mean I was on air, I did midday shift on air – hated it, stuck in a little room. Back in the day we played cartridges, 4-tracks. They looked like 8-tracks but they were 4-tracks. And it played commercials, and we spun records – you know what those are?
*all laugh and answer yes, because we actually do*
D: 45s and 78s. We ran football games and I set up remotes. Now they do ‘em all by phone, remotes are done by phone, but back then we used a transmitting system that you set up that shot back to your tower.
C: So, you would do all that at football games?
D: We did football games that way, we did remotes that way. There were no cellphones in 1985.
C: That’s so cool that you got to do everything!
D: I did. I did all the scheduling of commercials, I sold the commercials to the business people, and that’s how I figured out what I wanted to do, so I went into sales.
K: And you’ve kind of seen it evolve from there into what it is now.
M: That’s wild.
D: Insanity. So that’s how I got into radio.
C: Is it normal for stations to let people do everything or is that just because it was small?
D: Noooo. This was ‘85, just me and her, or she and I, whatever is proper, she was the first satellite broadcast station in Texas. She actually had equipment in the building and this huuuge satellite dish outside, the whole programming was piped in, music and everything. She had breaks, and we had machines that had cue tones on ‘em, and when the national DJs would go to a break, it would send a cue tone down to everybody that was on the satellite system, and it would kick in my cart system to run our commercials.
C: That’s really cool!
D: Old people got stories.
C: Tell ‘em all.
S: If you had to change your name, what would your new name be and why?
D: Honestly, I wouldn’t change my name. I have a unique name. I don’t run into a lot of Dellas.
S: I only know one other.
K: My friend has a dog named Della.
D: Well, that’s awesome. *sarcastically*
K: She’s really cute, too.
D: Would you like me to bark, or…?
D: Y’all are funny.
K: We try.
D: Yeah, I wouldn’t change it.
M: I used to always wanna change my name to Ashley, because my cousin’s name was Ashley and I wanted to be just like her.
K: ‘Cause she was like, the coolest person, right?
M: She was like ten years older than me and I just wanted to be like her.
K: We all have those cousins, I think.
S: Ohhh yeah.
D: My oldest’s name is Ashley.
D: So, there we go, we have a connection.
M: What is the dumbest or silliest way you’ve been injured?
D: I got this. The dumbest way I’ve been injured was in 1978. I was moved from one foster home to another one. And it was about two weeks before school started – brand new school – but I knew the family from Nacogdoches that had moved out to this podunk community. They had family that lived on the property, so they had cousins. I’m in a huge field playing football with the boys, and I’ve got the ball and I’m running, and they can’t catch me…
C: Of course not, [you’re a] track star.
D: Well, not really, I ran track so I didn’t have to go to school, you know, just like everybody else. But I turned around and laughed at ‘em, my left foot goes in a gopher hole and the rest of me keeps going.
C: That’s the worst.
D: I have a bone chip under my left ankle from that break. I started school in a plaster cast with a bumper heel, ‘cause there was no such thing as air casts. Brand new school, cast up to the knee. Nothing fit back in those days. Had to slit my jeans up the side and then found those big baby pins and ran those around it…it was terrible.
K: What is the most useless talent you have?
D: I have to figure out if I have any talent first.
K: Ok, everyone has a talent. Can you burp the alphabet or something?
D: Why would you?!
S: I don’t know, haha.
K: People do weird things.
D: I can tie a cherry stem with my tongue.
K: There we go!
S: That’s a good one!
M: I can’t do that.
K: Neither can I, I’m not that talented in life. Like the people who take Starburst wrappers off in their mouth, I don’t know how they do that.
D: See, I needed a little priming here. I don’t think that’s a talent, but I can do it.
K: That’s definitely a talent.
M: Dog or cat?
K: Oh you’re my kinda person!
C: Do you have any cats?
D: I did, but I’m never home. I had him for many years and I was home less and less, and I finally found a good home for him when I moved the last time.
K: What kind of cat was he? Just a tabby cat?
D: He was a big, black, fuzzy cat that had some white markings on him. And he was a jerk.
D: He was mad because I never home!
M: What was his name?
S: That’s a fun name, I like it!
M: This next question is perfect for you.
D: Can’t wait.
M: What would your DJ name be?
D: Man, I’ve done this one a few times.
K: So it should be an easy answer.
D: You would think, right?
M: *radio announcer voice* This is…
C: DJ Meh Whatever.
D: I don’t know, I put that so far behind me.
K: If you were a modern day DJ. I’d be DJ Misty Mittens.
D: Of course you would. That would be perfect, Misty Mittens.
D: Just call me…DJ Mama D. *said with attitude*
S: That’s good.
C: I dig it.
K: Love it.
K: What is your go-to karaoke song?
D: Well…I don’t karaoke…
C: That’s unfortunate.
K: We gotta have karaoke now, just for [Della].
M: See, I like going to karaoke…
D: It would probably be something like “Friends in Low Places.”
M: Good choice.
S: That is a good one!
M: Everyone will sing along.
D: Something like David Allan Coe. Y’all know those?
S: Oh yeah! *starts singing “You Never Even Called Me by My Name”*
D: *continues the song* “Yeah I was drunk the day my mom got outta prison, and went and picked her up in the rain…”
S: *continues the song* “…but before I got to the station in my pickup truck…”
D: continues the song* “…she was hit by a damned old train.”
K: …I don’t belong here.
M: I don’t know [Coe].
D: C-O-E, David Allan Coe.
S: He’s an interesting fella.
D: An interesting fact about him: when he does, and I don’t even know if he’s still alive– he’s really old – but when he would do shows, one of his requirements was that the heat would have to be on and the temperature inside the bar would have to be at least 85 [degrees].
K: Sounds like my grandma.
S: That sounds terrible.
D: His songs are bar fightin’ aggressive, and if a fight didn’t break out during his show he didn’t think he was successful.
S: Yeah…I could see that.
C: We should invite him here.
C: Next crawfish boil, it’s happening.
C: Ok, last question we have, what is your zodiac sign?
D: So that’s an interesting question because a few years ago they shifted the signs.
K: We don’t believe that.
S: Oh, they did!
C: [My sign] changed.
K: I don’t trust that. I stick with the O.G. zodiac signs.
C: Ok, so then what would your two zodiac signs be if you had different ones?
D: I’m on the cusp, Scorpio and Sagittarius.
S: The s’s!
K: Ugh, Scorpios!!
D: Yeah, that’s why I’m just a badass.
M: We were making fun of Grant because he’s also a Scorpio.
(To clarify, it was out of love. Shout out to you, Grant. You rock.)
D: Yeah, but he is the calmest Scorpio I’ve met in my entire life.
K: That’s why we give him sh*t all the time, because he’s just so happy and calm.
D: But you know, we wanna be happy and calm, it’s just…
S: Hard. It’s really hard.
D: It’s not that hard. If people would just do what we’re supposed to do, it would be much easier.
C: We can dream.
D: I kid you not, four or five years ago it didn’t matter what you pulled up, a couple months I’d be a Scorpio, a couple months I’d be a Sagittarius, and now on the new shift I’m [always] a Sagittarius.
K: When’s your birthday?
D: It’s November 22nd.
K: It also depends on when you were born.
C: Oh, like time of day?
K: Mhm. The Scorpio-Sagittarius cusp is especially known as The Great Rift.
C: That makes a lotta sense.
D: What does that mean?
K: I don’t really know, but they’re called a Scorpittarius!
D: I’m a Scorpittarius, there ya go! I got it from the expert.
K: One day we literally spent like an hour looking up zodiac stuff [at lunch].
C: We know all [of] our signs.
S: Man, you’ve lived a fascinating life, Della.
D: You got that from those few questions? There are more stories.
K: Radio star, Scorpittarius…
D: I was in a town of 3,000 people, there was no radio star there.
C: That’s so cool though. Did anyone else ever join you at the radio station or was it just you two for a really long time?
D: It was us for a really long time, and then she had a little guy whose family was out there. I say little guy, he was probably an inch taller than me. His name was Warren McCann, and he taught me a lot more ‘cause he’d been in the radio business lotsa years. He took over doing the DJ production side of the business, and I took over the sales, accounting, billing, and traffic side of the business. We split it.
M: Are they still running today?
D: The station is still running today. It’s not owned by her, but its still there and running today.
S: That’s cool.
M: Well, are there any more questions?
K: I’m just reading more about this Scorpittarius stuff. It’s fascinating because of the whole cusp issue.
D: I don’t know a lot about it, I just know what people tell you over the years, right? I don’t let some notes on paper direct my life.
And there you have it, folks. Della Bryant. See you next time!