Rita Ballou

Monday, February 2, 2015

By Kate Kinder 
Editor in Chief 

Ms Rita Ballou was an Army Brat growing up so she moved a lot growing up. When she was 13 years old, she got the blessing of moving to the great state of Texas and she considers it her home! Ms Rita is actually one of my favorite bloggers! She is not afraid to speak her mind! 

She has been pretty awesome to answer a few questions for me. 

What do you enjoy doing during your free time? 

"What do I do for fun? Ummm…nap? I’m lame. As far as hobbies go I guess I would have to say cyber bullying, trolling, live-tweeting really bad reality television shows and playing with my weenies." 

What radio stations have you worked for? 

"In 2012 I started my radio “career” attempting and failing miserably to be the “chick” on a morning radio show at Shooter FM in Waco, Texas. I learned very quickly that getting up at 3 am to leave for work at 4 am to get to work at 5 am to be ready to giggle on command and mush mouth mumble…errrr, I mean read copy on the air at 6 am without giving my own personal commentary wasn’t exactly something I was good at…if fact I was awful. It took me exactly 6 months to the day I was hired to realize that I was much better behind a keyboard that a microphone so I put in my two weeks notice and was ready to say goodbye to the wonderful world of radio forever. The next day I was contacted by the new Program Director at US 105 in Temple and started two weeks later on the air voice tracking an 11-3 midday shift. I did that close to a year before starting at KOKE FM in Austin. And I still can’t read copy." 

Did you go to school to learn to become an On Air Personality?

 "Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. No. I wish. I can’t even plug my headphones in properly. That isn’t a joke, I’m serious. I can’t. I don’t know how to run any of the equipment in the studio. I got my degree in Food Science from Southwest Texas State University in 1997 and worked for the government for close to a decade. I worked for the State Department of Public Health Services as a Sanitarian with the Consumer Health Protection department for several years as well as an Investigator with the City of Waco's Inspection Services. I inspected "Public Health Nuisances" like substandard housing, illegal dumping and rodent infestations. Basically, I was Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector...complete with the badge, the hairnet and the steel toed shoes. Over the years I have inspected everything from public schools, swimming pools, youth camps and playgrounds to investigating food borne illness and communicable disease outbreaks. Public Health was my life for a very long time, MUCH longer than radio has been." 

What is your opinion of radio promoters? 

"Ehhh…truthfully I don’t really deal with them because I am just a “sidekick” and don’t make any decisions about the music that gets played on the station and for that I am thankful." What advice would you give a young artist coming out? "Hell, I dunno. I feel kinda dumb giving advice to artists because I’m not one. If you need advice on blogging, I’m your girl. (I’m not saying it will be good advice, but advice none the less.) How about…”keep on dreaming even if it breaks your heart” or “trust no one and assume nothing”." 

Who do you think will be the next artist to break out? 

"Break out in Texas or break out mainstream? I’m predicting that Cody Johnson will have a major label deal very, very soon and will play a big role the return of “hat acts” to the forefront of mainstream country radio.   After her performances at this year’s Musicfest, I think Haley Cole is going to have a very exciting year as a “newcomer” to this Texas scene." 

What artist were you nervous about interviewing? 

"This list could go on and on and on but the first two that immediately come to mind are Ray Benson and Radney Foster. I couldn’t even LOOK at Mr. Benson much less attempt to ask him questions. He was sitting next to me, across from my co-host Eric Raines, and I don’t think I looked up once. I spent the entire interview looking down at his boots. I was crazy nervous when we interviewed Mr. Foster. I tend to ramble incoherently when I am nervous and I couldn’t shut up. He was so nice and such a professional and has such a calming way about him. I can’t describe it, but he just has a way of putting people at ease. When he left I went to the bathroom and lost it. I just started crying and couldn’t stop. I had a really hard time pulling myself back together to finish the rest of the show. Getting to interview Radney Foster was one of those “how did this happen?” life moments for me…in a good way." How did you get started blogging? "I’ll never tell. Honestly, there are many different stories about how my blog was born including a story about being angry that Roger Creager blew a group of my friends off at the Merch table after a show one night to the theory that the blog was actually created down on Music Row one afternoon in Nashville. I will just say that the truth lies somewhere in between. And that’s the truth." 

How much fun was it going to the award shows? 

"SO MUCH FUN. It is always nerve wracking getting ready for events, but it always is for me when I go places. When you are a chubby 40 year old woman with really bad hair who has made a “career” basically shit talking people from behind a computer screen, it isn’t always easy having the tables turned on you and putting yourself out there. Cosmic justice." 

Could you give me your top 5 blog posts you've done? 

"Some of these are goofed up because they are older and when I switched formats, weird things happened….but these are technically my “biggest” ones. Well, 

This Should Be Fun http://www.rawhideandvelvet.com/well-this-should-be-fun/ 
The infamous story about the Melinda Donahew altercation. I’d hate to get this crap stirred up again, but five years later I still stand by each and every word. 

Beware of the Man Fan http://www.rawhideandvelvet.com/beware-of-the-man-fan/ 

One of my original “shit talking” blogs…all in fun! 

RIP CCR http://www.rawhideandvelvet.com/rip-ccr/ 
Backstory…I was the first outlet to post the official press release…and shit HIT the fan. 

Ask Me About My Boots http://www.rawhideandvelvet.com/ask-me-about-my-boots/ My Boot Campaign pictorial…one of the first times I was able to open up about my dad’s suicide. 

Diesel Sniffing For Dummies Chapter One http://www.rawhideandvelvet.com/rita-ballous-diesel-sniffing-for-dummies-chapter-one/ 

Part one of a two part series." 

Don't forget to check out her social media!! 

Twitter and Instagram @rawhidevelvet 

And if you are in the Austin area, check out her radio show!! 

Thank you Rita! You are truly an awesome person and I can't wait to get to know you better!! 

Xxx West Texas Sweetheart

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