Women To Watch: Michelle Matthews

Michelle Matthews is the new Program Director for Cumulus Media’s Hot AC 96.3 WDVD in Detroit. She’s been there since late July of this year. Prior to her move, Matthews was Operations Manager and Brand Manager for Saga Communications in Columbus, OH. Her experience also includes being a Digital Program Director for Classic Hits KLOU-FM in St. Louis, MO, and she has held positions as Regional Programming Manager for Clear Channel/iHeartMedia in Omaha/Wichita/Sioux City, and Operations Manager for Clear Channel/iHeartMedia’s five-station group in Omaha, NE.

“I knew what a Program Director was when I was 14 years old and that I wanted to be one,” says Matthews. “I always loved radio and music from a young age.”

Before getting her first full-time job in radio, Matthews says she had a very rewarding job. “I processed mortgage loans as my J-O-B before getting a full-time radio gig,” she explains. “I got to work with FHA and VA families, and it was very satisfying to help them get their first home.”

Throughout her thirty-year radio career, Matthews says her biggest accomplishment is simple“All of it! LOL. I have been incredibly blessed to work in some amazing markets with super talented teams.” As far as challenges go, “I honestly never use the word challenge,” says Matthews. “I always view those moments as opportunities. I guess turning them into a positive is the way I can be creative and tackle anything we need to. That’s how I recommend handling those hurdles.”

With the pandemic, the struggling economy, and the rapid changes in the radio industry and the way big companies operate, the day-to-day responsibilities of a Programmer have changed considerably. “Obviously the industry is very different today than even two years ago,” says Matthews. “One of the best pieces of advice early in my career was to wear as many hats as I could, so I did, embracing digital, on air, programming, and really working aggressively with promotions and sales. It’s the reason I think I’ve survived and been successful and able to move on to rewarding opportunities. I have the ability to adjust quickly and provide input and guidance from many different perspectives.”

What keeps Matthews up at night? “Ha! I usually have some worry or idea from the day, but I keep a notebook next to my bed so I can write it down and settle in for the evening,” she says. “I am also very blessed to have a wonderful family that helps to keep me balanced. I love to garden during my downtime too. Digging in the dirt is very therapeutic.”

Follow Michelle Matthews and her new journey with WDVD in the Motor City @Mmradiogrl on Instagram, Michelle Matthews on Facebook, and @Michelle961 on X.