Kelly Symone is West Coast Promotion Director for HitShop Records. She’s a champion for great artists and their music—loves sushi and The Voice. Read on to discover her surprising choice for “country artist she’d like to be stuck with on a desert island” and more in this quick-look portrait.
Hometown: Foster City, CA
Current Location: Sacramento, CA
Birthday (month/day): October 31st (yep, Halloween)
Q: How did you get started as a promo person?
A: I was working as an MD in country radio. I loved being on air and programming music, but my love and respect for the art of music and the artists that create it has always been a driving force. It’s hard for programmers to support new artists and help them rise to the top in today’s radio climate. I just wanted to be more involved in championing artists.
Q: How many stations do you contact?
A: I have 46 and I keep in touch with them all!
Q: Pepsi, Diet Coke or Bud Light?
A: Bud Light
Q: Dancing With The Stars, American Idol or The Voice?
A: The Voice
Q: Dream Vacation Getaway?
A: Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory or Hawaii
Q:Lost on a desert island with which country music star?
A: Miranda Lambert. I’d like to be stuck with someone sassy and a straight shooter like myself. Miranda’s resourceful and fun. She’s a girl I could really talk to and avoid adding to the stress with a lot of opposite sex drama.
Q: What would you like the industry to know about you?
A: Not many people realize I have backgrounds in marketing, publicity, advertising and entertainment. For example, I was marketing/entertainment coordinator at Station Casino in Kansas City; the advertising and marketing director for a retail chain; then publicity coordinator at the Flamingo Casino in Las Vegas. I started in radio later than most after I got bit by the bug in 2001! I signed on as promotion director for WDAF in Kansas City, but soon was doing some on-air work, too. I also worked at KNCI, KREL, KGBY, KHYL and KHHM. My last radio job before venturing into record promotion was on air/MD at KNTY (Sacramento).
Q: Sushi, Salad or Barbecue?
Q: Favorite book or movie?
A: Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Grease… difficult choice!
Q: Favorite home cooked meal?
A: Depends on who’s cooking!! Lol! If I’m cooking, I love to make parmesan crusted tilapia with steamed asparagus and quinoa!
Q: What’s the best part about your job?
A: I get to champion great artists and help in their journey to fulfill their dreams.
Q: What tools (analog or digital) do you use to stay organized each week?
A: I have all kinds of fancy apps and programs, but mostly I end up using the notes on my phone or a good ole pad and paper!
Q: How has radio promotion changed over the past few years?
A: I’ve only been doing it for a few years, but consolidation has left us with fewer decision makers.
Q: Favorite promotion story?
A: I have lots of stories about coworkers, colleagues and artists that stand out, but my favorite now is working with Ronnie Dunn!!! I started liking country when I was old enough to go to country bars, and Brooks & Dunn became a fast favorite. Then I saw them in concert, played their music while on air in radio and now I get to promote Ronnie’s new music!!! This full circle moment is definitely my favorite!