Your Host For The Cruise
Although she didn't know it at the time, Suzanne Alexander's radio and television career really began in high school when she found herself listening to Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers and Crystal Gayle while the rest of her friends were listening to Madonna. "My first car only had AM radio, so I listened to the famous WHN out of New York City playing Clint, Reba and Randy and I was hooked," says Suzanne.
It was during those high school years in Long Island, New York that she decided she wanted to major in television and radio at SUNY Cortland. "I landed my first radio gig at the college station doing a Sunday morning country radio show, playing my own collection of country music—that was a blast!"
Suzanne was so intrigued after working at her college radio station, that soon after graduation, she pursued and landed a job in commercial radio in Cortland at a small AM station that played lite AC and cross-over country. "It's where I learned to be a disc jockey," admits Suzanne. "All I wanted to do from there was work at a larger station."
And although it didn't happen right away, Suzanne soon found herself moving up. She moved back to Long Island and dropped off an audition tape at WYNY—the original country station in New York City. She didn't get a call so she took a job as news director at an AM station in Long Island. "By this time, my brother had moved to Florida and told me about the abundance of country radio, so I tried my luck in Florida and landed two radio jobs at once?both country stations! I was happy to finally be in the format," she says.
From these small FM stations, she was called to a medium market station in Ocala, Florida, WTRS, to do nights and an all-request show. "It was a great experience," Suzanne recalls. She was excited to be at a bigger station in a larger market and it was then that she set a goal for herself. If she met Reba while working at that station she would quit radio and move back to New York City and pursue acting. She did meet Reba—so she packed her bags and went home. She landed production assistant jobs working on films such as Last Action Hero and Italian Project.
She also tried some regional theater work. It was then that she heard about a country station starting up in Long Island. She went on to become music director and afternoon host for WMJC, where she stayed for the next four years. "Getting a job as music director opened up a whole new world to the music business," says Suzanne. "It allowed me the networking time to get exposed to more of the music and see what it was like behind the scenes. It allowed me the connections that I now have and the friendships," she explains.
In 2000, she packed her bags again and moved to Nashville, where she had wanted to live since college. Having dreamt of doing broadcasting in Music City, Suzanne took a chance at moving to Nashville with no job in place. She found a job at a radio station not long after arriving in town—but it was not a country music station and not what she was looking for. Suzanne started working part time at WSIX and doing part-time record promotion at VFR Records. The record promotion position became full-time and she became Northeast Regional Promotions Manager and helped break a Top 5 single with Mark McGuinn's "Mrs. Steven Rudy."
"I love radio and I love broadcasting, but I wouldn't do it if it didn't have to do with country music," she states. "The only reason I got into radio was to play country music. When I was younger, I would volunteer to do the dishes at night and make my family leave the dining room just so I could blast 103.5, WYNY and listen to Lisa Taylor at night (she was the jock then). I was fanatic about the music. I would cut out articles on Dolly Parton and make scrapbooks," laughs Suzanne.
She became anxious to be in front of the camera and interact with country music fans from all over the country. "I have always felt like I was on a mission to let people know about country music," Suzanne shares. "It is what I've done for more than 12 years. As the host of GAC Nights and On The Streets, there is no better way to reach people all over the country and let them know about the artists and let them see and hear the music coming out of Nashville."
Since coming to GAC, Suzanne has interviewed everyone from Toby Keith to Wynonna Judd to Vince Gill to her hero, Reba McEntire. In her free time, Suzanne is having fun discovering the beauty of Tennessee and enjoying all the live music Nashville has to offer. "Living in Nashville is just what I thought it would be like," she smiles. "It's everything I love!"