Melanie & Michael of Mix 96.5FM Q&A
Asheville Humane Society (AHS) and AVL Radio Group have been partnering together for about 7 months, and both organizations couldn’t be more pleased with how it is going. Each Wednesday, AHS brings an adoptable pet (or two) to the station, and we record Facebook Live broadcasts on three different stations to tell local followers all about those animals to hopefully get them adopted out quickly, and it has proven to be a great success. I recently had the great pleasure of sitting down with Melanie and Michael, the morning show hosts of Mix 96.5FM, our amazing Presenting Sponsor for this year’s Dine To Be Kind event. Here’s what they had to say!
Daniel: What inspired you both to get into the radio business?
Michael: I think an interest in people and the human condition, and I grew up appreciating and hearing other radio shows that inspired me, and I just like talking to people. I never wanted to do a show by myself, I always wanted to have a partner like Melanie, and both of us believe the show is really for the community, and that’s the great thing about radio: people still want to be part of a community, and that’s what we want to do here for Asheville. So, we want to hear from all the people listening, because that’s what makes it fun for us.
Melanie: I would echo Michael’s answer some. There was one radio show that I always loved growing up, and I always thought, “Ooh, I’d really love to do that!” but never imagined it was even a job. This is going to shock you both, but I always got in trouble for talking, constantly…so I have the gift of gab by nature, but I never understood that I could make it a career. I love communication, I love people, I like to hear their stories, I like to share this mic with the community, and like Michael said, it’s about that human connection. There’s something magical about having conversations and communicating with people that you don’t even know.
Daniel: Absolutely, I love listening to everybody here because it definitely feels organic from each and every one of you, and I appreciate that.
Michael: That’s a nice compliment, we appreciate that too.
Melanie: Michael and I strive to be authentic and not to make stuff up. It’s about real people in our community, locally, and real stories.
Daniel: Who is the most famous person you’ve met through the radio industry or the most star-struck you’ve ever been?
Michael: Tom Hanks!
Melanie: Please share!
Michael: It was like light was shooting off of him; I was like, “That is a star!” He came in promoting a movie, he was so kind and so interested in everyone, and he had on a royal blue jacket which I admired as well, and he is by far the biggest movie star I’ve ever met…although I’ve also met Bradley Cooper, and he has beautiful blue eyes…you could lose yourself in his eyes.
Melanie: I agree with that! [Laughter] I knew as soon as you asked that, mine was Dolly Parton. I’m not start-struck…I treat everyone exactly the same, I don’t care if you’re the janitor or the President of the United States; I believe everyone has equal value and everyone is a rock star to me…except for Queen Dolly Parton! I have admired her career my entire life, not only for her music, but for who she is as a businessperson. We got invited to Media Day when she opened up the back part of Dollywood, and I got to go and I thought, “Oh there’s no way I’ll get to talk to her.” Right before she started, she turned around and looked right at me and said, “Hey, y’all! How are ya doin’ media?!” I literally froze and just waved at her, I had nothing good to say…I was star-struck. She was the most influential person I’ll ever meet; I don’t think anyone can top Dolly Parton.
Daniel: Alright, so on to pets…what pets are waiting for you at home and what are their names?
Michael: I have Maxfield, the Portuguese Water Dog. He and I are buddies, and he is a working dog. He and I are out two times a day…rain, snow, sleet…he is funny, because he will let you know when you are behind on the schedule. He’s like, “You’re not gonna be sittin’ on the couch!” Then we go out, and he loves his tennis ball.
Melanie: Yes he does, and you tell him goodbye every morning, you have a conversation and say, “I’m going to work now.”
Michael: Yea, we have our routine that we do, and we still have the crate we had when he was a puppy, and it’s just like a comfort place for him. He ducks into his crate, I give him a treat, I don’t close the door, and I say, “I’ll see you later, I have to go to work, I’ll be back!” Then he sits in his crate until I leave, then I don’t know what he’s doing.
Melanie: I have met Maxfield, and he is a distinguished gentleman, let me tell you. Unlike my pet, which is now named Lil’ Buddy. He’s a rescue dog from Sarge’s in Haywood County. We were looking for an emotional support animal; one of our children has a lot of anxiety, and we were looking for the perfect dog to be kind of a therapy dog for her, and we fell in love with this little dog, brought him home, and he’s a complete and utter spaz. He is just a hot mess…he failed his therapy dog testing, but he is a wonderful, loving spaz of a dog, and we actually think we are his therapy family.
Daniel: Do you have a favorite animal of all the creatures we’ve brought to the station so far?
Melanie: Ooh, that’s a good question…the puppies! The day you took the puppies into our staff meeting, I wanted to take every single one of them home, they were precious!
Michael: That was the day you blew up our staff meeting.
Daniel: I mean…that’s what I do.
Melanie: It was worth it.
Daniel: If you have to pick one restaurant, brewery, or otherwise from our Dine To Be Kind list, where would you recommend your listeners go to eat on April 4th?
Michael: You’re not making me pick my favorite brewery, Dan. [Laughter] I don’t want to get on anybody’s list; I love all the breweries!
Melanie: I know mine! I love that you’ve incorporated Black Mountain, Waynesville…some of the surrounding counties. My favorite that I’m definitely going to is Frog Level Brewing in Haywood County. You can grab a beer, sit outside, watch the water rush around…it’s fabulous. If I was going somewhere in Asheville, I’d have to say I’d stop at the Tastee Diner.
Michael: Hi-Wire is a brewery I have enjoyed; I like their Foothills smashburger and beer special they do. We love Dilbar and their street food that’s easy to take with you and enjoy. This list is so great, I’d like to go to all of them!
Melanie: I was joking with Michael that I was going to go to breakfast, lunch, dinner, then drinks, so I’m probably going to hit one for every meal that day.
Daniel: Alright, I have two more questions for you: after 6-plus months of the partnership between AVL Radio and Asheville Humane, I’ve come to find out that a lot of the radio hosts have side hustles. What else do you do outside of your radio broadcasts? Melanie, I understand you have a podcast!
Melanie: I do have a podcast! It’s with Crystal, who is on right after we get off from our morning show, and we’re doing the Hot Mess Momcast. Another thing I used to do was I used to be a marketing consultant to do political campaign managing, as well as event management/consultation, and public speaking. I did a lot of stuff, but since taking this morning show with Michael, getting up at 4 in morning, I’ve backed off some of that side hustle.
Michael: No current side hustles for me, but I will let you know that during COVID, I worked at Target, and then I also started my own pressure washing business, and right now my whole pressure washing system is sitting in the garage unused.
Melanie: What did you do at Target?! I never knew this Dan…
Michael: We like to call ourselves personal shoppers, but we were Order Fulfillment Associates…
Melanie: No, no…stick with personal shoppers. Michael was a personal shopper at Tarjay! [Laughter]
Michael: So, we’d walk around with the handheld computer trying to find things on the shelf, then you take it all to the back and then pack it, and here’s an exciting part of this: you are on the clock, and they are keeping track of how long it’s taking you to be a personal shopper. You gotta hustle. And during Christmas…it’s hard. For all those people that work that kind of retail, I’ve lived it, and I am extra nice to the people doing the order fulfillment at Target.
Melanie: Well you just got 5 bonus points from me, I love Tarjay!
Daniel: OK, last one. Is there any one thing about Asheville Humane Society that sticks with you as being the most memorable or impressive element that you witnessed either during one of our station visits or on your tour of our facilities?
Melanie: I know mine. When we went on the tour, it was a very thorough tour. From start to finish, how maybe a stray comes in, then what happens next, then the next step…I walked away from that tour knowing for sure that Asheville Humane Society has a standard of excellence, the place was spotless, it smelled clean, and everybody took great pride in what they were doing. Each individual animal, to me, felt very cared for, loved on, medical needs met, so the standard of excellence really impressed the mess out of me, and it made me really proud here at Mix to be a partner with Asheville Humane.
Daniel: Thank you so much.
Michael: And the commitment you have to these animals that you take in every day. The numbers are so surprising, of how many you cared for just last year, and the wonderful commitment you make to finding them homes. It’s much bigger and better than you would imagine.
Daniel: I think all rescues are trying to shed that image of “the pound”. That’s what we all grew up understanding that’s what a rescue is, and it’s just not that anymore.
Daniel: We’re very grateful to have the resources that we have and we feel very lucky as well. That’s about all I have, and I do appreciate you taking some time to answer some fun questions for our followers! Thank you again, Melanie and Michael, and when you’re ready to adopt again, you know who to turn to!
M&M: Thank you, Dan!