Charese Fruge Talks To Lara Scott
This article was originally posted to AllAccess’ “Women To Watch” series, written by Charese Fruge on June 15, 2021
It’s amazing how some radio success stories get started. It’s proof that “Fate” has everything to do with it. Lara Scott got in to radio by accepting a dare from a friend to get a job at a radio station so the friend could meet the cute morning guy. She took that dare, and years later, Lara is the midday host on Los Angeles’ K-EARTH 101, on the air weekdays from 10a to 3p. “In addition, I post on our station socials during that time, take calls, and chat with listeners via text,” she says. “I am also responsible for creating content for clients in the form of spots and social posts, and from time to time I host events and do live broadcasts for the station.”
Her career timeline looks like this: “I got into radio in Bend, OR, after calling a local station on a dare from a friend (more on that in a minute), and after a few years of working overnights at a CHR and Rock station, I moved to Portland, OR. I worked overnights and weekends at AC, Hot AC, and Oldies stations, ultimately ending up at Z100 (KKRZ), where I did nights and became the music director,” says Scott. “My next move was to San Francisco for nights and MD duties at Z95.7, followed by a move to Los Angeles for part-time and fill-in at Star 98.7. A few months after I arrived, I got the midday shift, where I stayed for almost seven years. After that, I went to KFSH/95.9 The Fish for middays and mornings, and in November 2015 I joined KRTH/K-EARTH 101 for part-time and fill-ins, moving into middays the following year.”
Lara’s story is proof that if you want something bad enough, “Fate” will intervene. “I fell in love with radio as a kid! I constantly had it on, and I knew all the names of the deejays on the local Top 40 station. I actually made tapes for my mom with me introducing songs and pretending I was Rick Dees and Joel Denver (I looooved Future Hits!). I never actually thought I would be on the air myself, and definitely had no idea how to go about getting started,” she says. “Cut to me at age 17. At that point, I lived in a small town in Oregon, and the local Top 40 station had a new morning jock that one of my friends thought sounded cute. We were at a party one night, and she dared ME to get a job at the station so SHE could meet him. I called the station right then and there and spoke with the night jock, who told me that they were in fact hiring and that I should call the business office the next day. The morning guy was also the program director, and he told me that they were desperate for people to keep the station on the air at night and on the weekend. I was hired to be on the air with no experience and did my first shift THAT WEEKEND.”
Fast forward to today, and Lara is part of a team for a station that has consistently dominated one of the largest markets in the country for years. She attributes that to an incredible programming and music team. “Chris Ebbott (along with Larry Morgan and Greg Simms) keep the music and the jocks extremely focused and give us so much freedom to express ourselves and create.” She says. “I’ve heard Chris refer to our music as ‘comfort food,’ as these songs from the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s are familiar and fun and tend to just make people feel good! So, all that sets us up for success, and my role is to be a happy, positive presence in our listeners’ lives as they manage work, kids, commute, and a changing world. We have a wonderful audience!”
Over the years, Lara has created some amazing memories and accomplishments. “Broadcasting from a cruise ship in the Caribbean was really cool! I am also a huge theme park fan, so it has been a real treat to do my show from Disneyland Park and Knott’s Berry Farm,” she says. “Meeting my childhood crush Simon Le Bon from Duran Duran was an incredible moment, and I’m also grateful for the charitable work and fundraising I have been able to do through my radio jobs, from feeding the homeless on Skid Row to raising money to help build homes for those in extreme poverty in Jamaica.”
According to Lara, it wasn’t an easy journey to get to her dream market. “I knew early on in my career that I wanted to work in LA, and the amount of work it would most likely take to get there,” she explains. “So, I pretty much knew that every city I lived in up until I got to LA would be temporary. I have loved every station I have worked for, so it has always been hard for me to move on, even though each time I knew that it was time,” she says. And now that she’s been there a while, it still isn’t a walk in the park. “Working from home for a year during the pandemic was challenging! I have two young kids who did distance learning downstairs while I worked upstairs, and I got a great workout every day running up and down the stairs making sure they were paying attention in school and that I was staying on top of things with work. There were many days where I was in my pajamas all day and finally brushed my teeth at 3p, which is when my shift ends.
When the pandemic initially hit, we basically found out with a few hours’ notice that LA was going to be shutting down in March of 2020 and that we would be transitioning to working from home…the next day. It still feels surreal to me to think about that time,” she says. “We have a great IT staff that got us equipment and talked us through how to set everything up (I also watched a lot of YouTube videos for my Rodecaster), and then suddenly I was doing my show from my bedroom. I came back into the station in April 2021, and after a moment of, ‘Wait—what does THIS button do?’ it felt SO GOOD to be back in the studio,” says Scott. ” Personally, I feel like this past year—when I couldn’t lose myself in business and constantly going going going—it forced me to deal with some longstanding issues in my life and finally heal them. I got serious about meditation, a gratitude practice, getting enough sleep, and cooking all our meals and eating a lot of high vibe foods.”
As with most women in the business, Lara wants to help encourage the growth of women in the industry. Her advice: “If you want to be on the air and are in high school or college, work at your school station. If you are out of school and in a small city/market, call local stations and ask if they are hiring. The smaller the market, the less experience they’ll require for an on-air position and the more willing they’ll be to train you. Be enthusiastic, tell them you would love to get into radio and why you’d like to work for them, and let them know you are ready to learn and work hard,” she says.
“If you’re in a larger market, apply for a position with local station street teams or promotions departments to get your foot in the door, or apply to work at the front desk; from there, it’s often easy to train as a board-op, practice in a production room, and possibly get a shot at a weekend or overnight shift,” she adds. “And look at driving to a nearby smaller market to do on-air shifts. Go to broadcast events that are open to the public or radio station appearances and talk to everyone. Work on building your social media presence. You can also reach out to people and start conversations online, but I would definitely suggest taking time to build those relationships and focus on bringing value to the conversation; don’t just jump right in and immediately ask someone for a job,” says Scott. “And podcasting is a wonderful way to get comfortable in front of a mic, practice interviewing, get your name out there and build your brand, and it requires very little equipment. You also don’t have to wait for anyone to hire you…you can start right away!”
Like most parents, what keeps Lara up at night is, “Thinking about the fact that I will have two teenagers in the house in a few years!” But she has found a way to find balance for her family. “We started going to botanical gardens and the beach all the time last year, as they were some of the few places that were open. I noticed that I was starting to crave that time with the flowers and the trees and the ocean, so now that we are getting back to a regular schedule, I am scheduling time for visits every week,” she says. “She also stays busy in her spare time. “I am a HUGE bookworm, and love to read and listen to audiobooks. I’m a beginning gardener, and I am always happy to go horseback riding and hiking,” she says. “I can’t wait for live theatre to make a comeback because I LOVE going to shows, and I’m also a big classic film fan.”
As for what we have to look forward to from Lara, “I am very much looking forward to getting out and volunteering again! We hear a lot about the big challenges that LA is facing when it comes to things like homelessness, but what we don’t hear so much about are all of the lives that are being changed every day and how many people truly care and are stepping up to help,” says Scott. “I am also really focusing my online presence on sharing fun things for families to do in Southern California (with a hefty dose of theme parks, nature, and positivity), and looking forward to doing more blogging for myself and the community.”
Follow Lara Scott @larascottmedia on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter