During her 22-year tenure in radio, Riley Scott – an avid book reader who reads about 15 books a month – recently found herself in a dream scenario.
The Alpha Media program director received the opportunity to interview famous authors – including some of her favorites – and Robert Ballard who may be most well-known for discovering the wreck of the Titanic.
Scott said interviewing Ballard has been one of her favorite interviewing experiences. She said she learned that the discovery of the doomed voyage of the Titanic was by accident. He was working for the US government at the time, looking for a lost submarine before stumbling on the infamous downed ship, Scott said.
“That was fascinating to do that,” she said. “He was very interesting.”
Scott has interviewed author David Baldacci – who is one of Scott’s favorites – on three different occasions.
These kinds of opportunities arose around two years ago when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
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Scott said she received phone calls from publishing companies asking her if she wanted to interview the authors for the radio station – which oversees KLIR 101, AM 1510 KITT, 93.5 The Hawk, AM 900 KJSK and KZ-100. The publishers were going this route because the pandemic halted the writers’ chance of going on press tours, she said.
“It’s just gone from there,” Scott said. “I usually do two to three a month. … It’s been a really great experience. ”
She also received several books from National Geographic and has interviewed the authors of the publication’s travel guides.
Scott said she was nervous at first, interviewing such well-known figures as she’s in a smaller market. But no matter how famous the authors have been, they have been incredibly kind and talkative, she added.
She said most writers she talked to are up-and-coming ones whose books are targeted at middle school readers. Scott added several of the novels are in the fantasy genre which her granddaughter loves.
“She’s glad grandma gets all these books,” Scott said.
She added she passed down that love of reading to her two sons and her grandchildren.
“They also love to read,” Scott said. “So I’m very proud of that. I think it’s an important thing to do. ”
She’s also talked with those who’ve done voiceovers for the audiobook like actor Robert Bathurst who fans of the TV show, “Downton Abbey,” may know as Sir Anthony Strallan.
Columbus residents may recognize Scott’s voice as she’s been on the local station for over two decades. Scott – who moved to the area 29 years ago – said she may have never had gone into the field if not for a dare made by her husband.
“I had no background in radio,” Scott recalled, with a chuckle. “I had no idea what it was about but the local station, KLIR, was looking for a part-timer. My husband said, ‘You have a really good voice. People always say you have a really good voice. You should try out. ‘”
Although Scott was not familiar with the radio, she went into the interview, read some copy and then got a callback, informing her she received the job.
Scott brings a welcoming atmosphere to the station, said KZ100 Morning Host Max Hodgdon, who moved to Columbus back in July. He said after they worked Columbus Days over the past summer, Scott invited him over for a cookout with her family.
“She’s been super, super nice and helpful anytime I’ve needed anything,” he said. “She’s been great.”
Despite interviewing her fair share of authors, Scott said she has some dream interviews. She listed Jim Butcher and Stephen King as a couple of examples.
However, Scott said she just likes meeting new authors and learning about various topics. For example, she interviewed an author who wrote about the experience of being the first Black pilot for a major airplane, detailing the difficulties and discrimination he faced then.
“That was really interesting,” Scott said. “You not only have your own favorite genres whether it’s thrillers or fantasy but there’s a lot of history that you can learn. There’s a lot of things about your own country as well as other countries. ”
Andrew Kiser is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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