Best DJ (Radio) 

1. Val Steele 101.5 US101, 104.7 KDUK.

2. Liz and Reiley Mix 94.5 FM, KMGE.

3. Downtown Deb (Deb Trist) KLCC.

For nearly 27 years, Val Steele’s voice has been on local radio waves in Eugene. She started spinning Top 40 hits on KDUK, but three and a half years ago she was a part of the launching of the “hot country” music station US101. Going from Post Malone to Miranda Lambert seems like a weird switch, but Steele says the 18-49 demographics are still similar and nowadays people have diverse musical tastes. 

Steele has been on the radio so long that she says she recently received a message from a longtime listener who remembered as a teen how she called Steele to request a song by hip-hop artist Eminem about his mom. Since most Eminem songs about his mom aren’t appropriate as a loving tribute, Steele says the listener thought the memory was funny and had to share.  

Because of her work as a DJ, Steele says being a part of people’s lives is the coolest part of the job. At US101, Steele says, though the station is owned by Bicoastal Media, it still has the power to play whatever songs it wants — a rarity as radio stations in other markets deal with corporate-approved music. She adds Bicoastal Media is like a “mom and pop” business that allows the stations to pivot when necessary, as they did when wildfires hit Lane County and started raising money to help out the community.

Author: Henry Houston