Katie Neal, RADIO.COM's voice for all things Country, just wants to make you feel good, share a few of her favorite Country tunes, and maybe find a good deal to share with you along the way.
Neal, the Illinois native turned fast-paced, upbeat New Yorker, took flight on her radio journey on Bloomington's 101.5 WBNQ. After a short stint on-air in Illinois, Katie packed up with her sights set on The Big Apple after receiving a job offer in radio sales.
After working as an account executive for a few years, the programming department learned of Neal’s on-air talents and quickly snapped her up to put her on-air during the weekends. “Monday through Friday I would sell advertising for the radio station, and then on Saturday or Sunday, whenever I could I would be on the air," explains Katie. The Country music lover explains that straddling both sides of the radio industry was a whirlwind of a year for her, but lent her the experience to receive a full-time on-air position for New York’s Country 94.7
Growing up in central Illinois, Country music has always played a part in the soundtrack of Katie’s life. Neal laughs, “It’s always on whether you actively seek it out or not.” Neal has spent much of her career cultivating her knowledge about Country music and understanding what separates the genre from others. She half-jokes, “I love working in Country music and I would stay here forever if that’s how it all works out.”
“There’s nothing better than going to a Country music show in the middle of the summer, tailgating, and having a beer, and hanging out with your friends and singing all these songs… it’s just the best,” Katie tell us as she paints a picture of her love for Country music. Right now some of Neal’s favorite artists are Morgan Wallen, Kelsea Ballerini, Carrie Underwood, Old Dominion, and Brothers Osborne. She shares, “It’s hard to pick just a couple because now I have personal / professional relationships with some of these artists, so now I appreciate their music even more because I know them.”
For Neal getting to know the artist behind the lyrics deepens her admiration for the singer. In particular, the on-air host feels she has connected most with Russell Dickerson. Neal and Dickerson have both come up together in Country radio. As she was just beginning to ease into her on-air position, Dickerson was on a radio tour. Katie’s first live interview on New York Country radio was with Russell during his first national radio tour. The two have since bonded as their careers have taken off, and were both nominated for an ACM Award in 2019.
On being a female voice in Country music, Neal acknowledges that there is often a stigma that female artists face, especially when it comes to airplay. However, Katie adds, “I feel like the conversation is changing. We’re not at 100 percent or where we should be, but I think that we’re getting there.” She also shares, “what I’m really excited about is that everyone at RADIO.COM has been so supportive of an all-female feature that I do called 'Back To Back,' which started after someone said, ‘oh Country radio won’t play female artists back to back.’”
Katie’s Back To Back feature specifically focuses on playing all-female Country artists one after another, on-air, to challenge the gender-norms that often plague facets of the music industry. You can catch Neal’s Back To Back segment every Tuesday at 1:30 PM.
For Katie, nothing beats working in New York City and listening to Country music on a daily basis. From interviewing Carrie Underwood in Time Square to feeling like she can walk out her door to a world of endless opportunities, to being a strong female voice in Country music, Katie Neal is a thriving Country Queen.
You can catch Katie & Company on weekdays from 10AM - 3PM on the RADIO.COM app on your favorite RADIO.COM Country station.