“School is not for me, I’ve never liked school. And before this opportunity with WAMO 100 I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life and definitely never saw myself being an on-air radio personality,” says Nigel McDaniel, a Penn Hills High School alum who, admittedly, was the quiet one.
“Coming up, I was not a social butterfly,” McDaniel recalls. “I was not sociable in high school or the class clown or anything like that. I was pretty much to myself. So when people see me now, they’re in shock. I believe that once you break away from your student body you naturally evolve into who you are.”
After graduating from Penn Hills High School in 2013, McDaniel went on to pursue his secondary education at CCAC; while doing so he worked several different jobs. Directly after graduation he was first hired at Giant Eagle.
He was fired after two months.
Then he went to work as a detailer at a Ford dealership, cleaning cars. He also worked at Lowe’s, handling stock and unloading trucks.
“To be honest, the position I disliked the most was slicing meat in the deli at the Giant Eagle,” McDaniel, 22, told the New Pittsburgh Courier in an exclusive interview. “I really didn’t like it. I was physically there but not mentally there. While I prepared meat orders for customers, I was thinking about how I could not work there forever. I wasn’t completely sure what I wanted to do, but I was 100 percent sure I didn’t want to be that. Then they ended up firing me anyway, and I continued on my journey just trying to figure things out.”
McDaniel’s story is similar to the story of others; he was your typical teenager trying to find his passion and a decent career path. Like many young men and women, McDaniel was unsure what career path he wanted to take. He researched joining the military, and even thought about becoming an electrician.
“I used to always listen to interviews and different podcasts as a hobby. It was just something I liked to do. And I remember one day, my brother told me that he heard that WAMO was looking to bring some interns on board and he told me that I should apply. I hesitated a little bit because I knew that I didn’t have any experience, so I contacted WAMO and I was told that I didn’t need experience in order to become a part of the team. So I submitted the application to Louis Wingfield and they hired me,” McDaniel said.
After WAMO brought McDaniel on board, he quickly found his passion for the radio business. He enjoyed it so much that he chose his college and major based on his newfound love for media.
“I took a little break away from college in between my time at CCAC and decided that I wanted to transfer to another college. I applied to Clark Atlanta University and Temple. I almost went to Temple, put some money down and everything but I decided to choose Point Park. I chose Point Park because I felt it was most suitable for the way things were working out with my opportunity with WAMO. And I felt I was beginning to grow here. And I am currently still a full-time student at Point Park now. Juggling career and school,” McDaniel said.
“I first lost sleep at night when I found out that Nigel wanted to stay in Pittsburgh, in comparison to leaving and seeing what else life has in store for him,” Wingfield, WAMO 100’s operations manager, told the Courier. “I felt like staying might have limited his growth because I know Nigel’s overall potential. However, Pittsburgh has been a great jumpstart for him, because he has built a strong resume so early in his career…he’s going to move up and he’s going to move up quick in this industry.”
“Nigel instantly stood out because he would do the work,” added former WAMO 100 on-air personality Mike Jax. “I could tell that he really wanted to learn, and I enjoyed sharing my knowledge with him. The kid is a fast learner.”
Jax worked with McDaniel a few years ago when Jax was WAMO’s afternoon personality.
McDaniel currently hosts “Future Flavors,” which spotlights local music, Mondays at 10 p.m., and a Sunday show, 3-7 p.m.
“Within the next five years I see myself pursuing satellite radio, specifically (channel) SHADE 45 as a radio personality and/or producer,” McDaniel said. “I also feel that I am good at scouting talent, and can see myself being in A&R, by connecting talent with labels.”
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