“We never want to isolate our female audience and while I can connect with them differently, I can also relate to what men want. Rock N’ Roll isn’t just music, it’s a state of being & it doesn’t matter if you’re a man or woman.” -Jade Springart
By Carl C. Sundberg
Jade Springart lives for rock n roll. As the music director of one of the most legendary rock radio stations in the country – 101 WRIF – she bring the Rock to Detroit Rock City. She hosts Saturdays from 9a-2p on 101.1 WRIF, middays from 10a-2p on the Riff2, WRIF’s HD2 station, and hosts a new music show The Undercover Sound System Mondays on Riff2 as well. And in true Detroit fashion, Jade Springart worked hard to get here. Rising through the ranks, paying her dues, taking every opportunity she was given and dominating, she seems destined for this line of work. And maybe she was.
As a kid she remembers listening to Karen Savelly and Ken Calvert every day on the radio in Detroit, MI. Once, her mom won a prize on air and Jade thought it was the coolest thing ever to hear her mom talking on the radio. After she graduated high school, she met a couple people who worked in radio and thought it was awesome. In college she pursued an internship in radio. After stepping foot in Great Media Detroit building for her first event, she knew this was what she wanted to do.
“I worked on the street team setting up events and running live broadcasts,” Springart recalls. “I eventually got hired as an event manager for Greater Media Detroit and I became the teacher to incoming interns. After about 3 years on the promo team, a position to board op for WRIF opened up. Mark Pennington took a chance on me and I transitioned into the programming department. I eventually got an overnight air shift and worked with our production department producing imaging and commercials. I gradually moved into day parts on the weekends, started filling in during the week and began programming our HD2 station, Riff2. After 8 years of dedication & passion for WRIF, Mark offered me the position of music director where I am today. He’s already taught me so much and always inspires me to achieve more and push the limits.”
Her on-air philosophy is all about originality and being herself, with plenty of self-depreciation. “Anyone can give out info, but when you make it personal and can involve your listeners is when I find they react the most,” says Springart. “I also always take the opportunity to make fun of myself. It shows that you’re human and I think the listeners appreciate that. When it comes to programming, I try to relate myself as much as I can to our demographic. I take into consideration their thoughts and concerns, but also balance that out with what works for our location and for us overall as a station.”
That approach resonates well on 101 WRIF in Detroit, which has maintained its legacy due to it’s fierce individuality. “The history of WRIF spans far beyond my existence and it’s an honor to work with some of the people that helped build its reputation,” Springart explains. “Buzz Knight & Fred Jacobs are incredibly knowledgeable about our brand and how to market it. They’re always supportive of us as a team and individually, and it’s what helps make Greater Media Detroit a family. Our GM Steve Chessare is also really involved and it’s not uncommon to see him at our events. Seeing his passion for the industry certainly inspires me to strive for the best. One of my favorite memories was celebrating WRIF’s 40th anniversary. We had a huge show down at the Fillmore and it was the first time I was asked to fill in on the 7p-midnight shift. It was so cool to be on the air and know that everyone at the Fillmore could hear me. What makes WRIF unique is our ability to adapt with our demo and keep people involved and excited about what we’re doing. We live for rock n’ roll and I think it shows.”
As a woman in a male-dominated world, Springart keeps it real. “Men and women don’t always see things the same way and I think it helps to have a female input when it comes to station promotions and ideas,” Springart says. “We never want to isolate our female audience and while I can connect with them differently, I can also relate to what men want. Rock N’ Roll isn’t just music, it’s a state of being & it doesn’t matter if you’re a man or woman.”
A typical day for Springart can only be described as crazy. “Anything can happen at any given moment at the station,” Springart explains. “I’m fortunate to work with an amazing and talented group of people who believe the sky’s the limit, so you never know when you’re going to be asked to participate in a ridiculous video, or asked to escort (insert band name here) to the venue. I also host events, manage our social media pages and do production work so I’m always busy.”
Springart’s advice for the rock radio industry is pretty positive. “When I was at Rock On The Range all the musicians I talked to were incredibly positive and supportive of what their fellow tour mates were doing,” recalls Springart. “I think the best thing as an industry we can do is be open to new ideas, new music & be supportive of those who are trying to think outside the box.”
What are your three most Rock & Roll moments?
1. Interviewing Rob Zombie and having him tell me to stop being a baby about watching horror flicks. (ROTR 2016)
2. Having Lzzy Hale stop a group photo op because I was wearing my sunglasses and she wanted to wear hers because she thought I looked badass. (Rock Girl Finals Party 2015)
3. The first time I got to crack the mic at WRIF and say “you’re listening to 101 WRIF, my name is Jade!” (May 2010)
What are you currently listening to and what are your top 5 favorite bands/artists?
Literally at this very moment, I’m listening to Clutch. Top 5 favorite bands/artists:
1. Led Zeppelin
3. Foo Fighters
4. Blink 182
If you could have a drink with any person alive or dead, who would it be?
What are you currently up to?
One of my favorite projects I have right now is my podcast, The Weekly Reveal. I host it along with a few of the other WRIF chicks; Anne Carlini, our midday host, Lynn Koon, one of our weekend hosts and Erica Banas, one of the Greater Media writers. We sit down each week to talk about the latest news, current events and just general day to day things we deal with. We have a ton of fun hosting it and it gives our listeners (or maybe their wives & girlfriends) a look into a different side of us. We’ve been told we’re sort of like The View but a little edgier. Well, maybe a lot edgier! You can download the podcast at wrif.com, on iTunes or on Google Play!