Coasting to Success – Joel Garrett of 94.5 The Coast

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By Lanier Laney

Joel Garrett
Joel Garrett

Two years ago, Austin Texas native Joel Garrett started 94.5 The Coast, Beaufort’s local radio station, and he hasn’t looked back.  Says Joel, “Beaufort is one of the most beautiful places to live, and the people are what really make it.  Everyone has been so welcoming and gracious.  I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.”

When asked about his philosophy behind starting the station, Joel answers with a smile, “Be Live. Be Local.  Be Happy.  Wait, that might be a song….but honestly our goal is to bring old school radio back to smaller communities like Beaufort.  I want people to know the DJ’s. And, 94.5 The Coast should play music the whole family can enjoy– beach, soul, rock n’ roll, hits from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s and also get some local news, weather and traffic as needed. This is a good ole’ fashioned radio station in the greatest town in the south.”
Joel got his first gig in radio while a freshman in High School. “I got my first job as a DJ at age 15 in Las Cruces, NM on a Country radio station.  I knew from that point on, it would be my career. I just wasn’t sure where I would end up or what level in the industry.  I worked my way up the radio ladder and decided that radio ownership would be an exciting direction to go, as long as you could do it in a small market with a great, close knit community.”

His first shot at ownership was in the Lowcountry.  Says Joel, “I purchased my first radio station with a couple business partners in Hilton Head and quickly decided that wasn’t the place for me. I sold my radio station after a few years and discovered a way to launch Beaufort’s only local radio station.”

As owner and on-air personality, “I still talk too much,” says Joel with a laugh.  He credits his staff for the station’s success.  “I have the best staff from upper management to part time DJs, and they are all equally valuable to this radio station. There are many moving parts to a radio station. At the end of the day, I’m fortunate to have a great staff built up of a general manager, sales manager, account executives, on-air personalities, promotions and business team members.  I make sure all of these pieces of the puzzle are fitting into place.”  His mom, Judy Garrett, runs his books “and keeps me in line,” adds Joel.  His dad Bert Garrett is a practicing physician.

Joel also notes the contribution of his advertisers. “I have been very fortunate to have some great advertisers that believe in the product we deliver every day. Radio needs both the entertainment side and the advertising side to be successful and we are so lucky to have both.”

When not behind the microphone, Joel pursues sports like golf, snow skiing and asks, “Does beer and bowling night count too?”  He’s also a hunter and says one of his most memorable hunts happened a number of years ago when he went gator hunting in Louisiana, (his first hunting trip of any sort by the way).  Says Joel, “the sound of a girlfriend’s Dad yelling out ‘shoot em, shoot em!’ will always ring in the back of my head as I wondered what would happen if I missed this 10 ft. dinosaur with fangs.”

He contributes to local charities saying,  “I represent ARTworks (The Arts Council of Beaufort County) as their Entertainment Director.  I’ve always been a fan of the arts and entertainment.  ARTworks is a great place to
express it!”

I also support and get behind everything that Friends of Caroline Hospice does.  They are a great group with an even better story.” Joel’s plans for the future are to continue to grow the company and make it even better for his listeners and advertisers.  He invites you to tune in to 94.5 The Coast and join in on the fun.

The Coast radio station is located in the Beaufort Town Center- or can be found online at 945thecoast.com