Charese Fruge Talks To Chelsea Memet
This article was originally posted to AllAccess’ “Women To Watch” series, written by Charese Fruge on February 25, 2020
She’s a first generation American. Like so many others in our country, her family migrated to the United States (from Romania) with $19 to their names to live the American dream. Chelsea Memet was born in Minneapolis and raised in Queens, New York. Her parents made sure their children had everything they needed to succeed and according to Chelsea those sacrifices prompted her to enroll in Syracuse University for pre-dental studies to make her family proud. Memet realized early on that teeth were not exactly her thing and turned to the college’s radio station as a means of escapism. “Lately with Chelsea” hit the airwaves every Friday, where Memet explored Millennial-focused topics and offered perfect playlists to kick off the weekend festivities.
Around that time, Memet changed her major to IT, with a focus on web development, but she knew there might be something else worth exploring, so she went for the big dog and applied to one of the top broadcast shows in the country: “Elvis Duran and the Morning Show.” Much to her surprise, she landed the internship in 2011 and has been with iHeartRadio ever since.
From standard intern duties during her time at the Z100-based show, to directing the social media and engagement strategy for iHeartRadio, Memet says she’s reached a pivotal part of her career and learned that she didn’t just find radio. Radio found her. It’s allowed her a number of opportunities to fulfill her dreams, push her creative muse, meet some lifelong friends and win a few Shorty Awards in the process.
As the Director of Social Media and Audience Engagement for the company, a day in Chelsea’s life is pretty crazy. “You never know what a day in my life will be like,” says Memet. “Social Media is 24/7/365. It never stops and you want to be on top of everything. From breaking news, to music releases to current viral trends, I like to make sure our social bases are covered. When I’m not posting on the iHeart Instagram account, I’m busy planning out our social stops at our tent pole events. Backstage we have a dedicated area for artists, presenters and celebrity guests to stop by. This is an opportunity to capture video content, photos in a more inside tailored space designed by myself. I work closely with our vendors and help them see the vision that I have come to life. It’s one of my favorite parts of the job.”
One of her more passionate projects is the iHeartRadio Post-Show Series. “They happen immediately after our tent pole events wrap,” explains Memet. “From writing the segments, to casting the panel and directing/producing the show, I’m taking the lead on this and love every second of it. There is so much more that happens, but thankfully I have an amazing team who help make it all run smoothly.”
There is an enormous amount of content needed to be successful in a position like Chelsea’s. Fortunately for her, the fans are a huge inspiration for content. “We want to provide an outlet of content and music opportunities that fans can’t get anywhere else. I always put myself in the other perspective and say ‘hmm okay what is missing and what do I wish existed?’ And from there I can create and brainstorm content I would want to see that would make artists and fans excited to have out there. I always want to be the first to do something cool, ride the wave before it happens.”
Oddly, in this day and age, there are still those with old school mentality who refuse to embrace digital and social media. “Don’t be afraid!” exclaims Memet. “Digital is a whole platform to speak directly with literally the entire world. This is a form of instant communication for anything. From feedback, to support, to pretty much everything, digital is that platform that can reach anyone, anywhere. The power of digital is massive and will only continue to grow and become easier for everyone. Sometimes I think about how powerful one click is. One click can literally change the world and I hope people use that power for the good.”
Obviously Chelsea is what we in the industry like to refer to as an “Influencer.” Much like her last statement about one click being able to change the world, her influence over such a powerful medium for such a powerful brand is an enormous amount of responsibility for such a young leader. Chelsea recognizes that what keeps her focused and successful is her home and work family. “I love seeing my crazy ideas actually come to life, but truthfully, it doesn’t always work out. And yes it’s upsetting, but it’s not the end of the world. It always helps me knowing we have a great team, and also my co-workers and my family who are there to talk to and learn from the challenges. I am nothing without my people,” says Memet. “I can’t imagine going through these experiences without them by my side. My mentors growing up to this day are my two sisters and my parents. They are everything to me and really support everything I do. Never once have they doubted my ability to create content and achieve goals I strived for.”
As for advice to newcomers in the business: “This sounds so cliché, but seriously, don’t ever give up on yourself, you got this. You can make the change you wish to see,” Memet said. “I am my toughest critic. I know that might sound a little strange, but I think having my internal voice speak to me and make me strategically think through every step of every idea is important, but challenging. I know if something doesn’t work out I can always go with this other option that I mapped out in my head. I like to make sure I can expect the unexpected. Although, you can never be too prepared in life because sometimes it’s just going to throw you things you can’t imagine. The best thing you can do is figure out a solution in a calm manner and get the job done.”
As for what’s ahead for Chelsea moving forward, “I definitely want to continue creating, directing and producing new content. I absolutely love thinking of an idea and then making that vision come to life. I am excited to take things to the next level. Create experiences that haven’t been done before and pushing myself to do the unthinkable. I am extremely honored to even be considered for this editorial piece, it really means a lot and that right there is another boost of confidence that will continue to make me want to reach beyond the stars. Thank you so much.”
Follow Chelsea Memet on Instagram @ohyeahchelseaa