#MediaMonday – Erika Smith Royal

Today’s #MediaMonday comes to us from Erika Smith Royal, who is the editor of Arizona Real Country the Magazine, as well as the production director and contributes as an on-air personality at 96.3 Arizona Real Country.

Erika, time to share:

Yes, I wear many hats. In addition to serving as editor of Arizona Real Country the Magazine, I program music, produce commercials and I am on-air in various capacities at 96.3 Real Country. I love the diversity of my duties. I have been here for eight years, and I am so thankful to be currently working for a family-owned country station. The staff is awesome.

The magazine is Arizona’s source for everything roping, riding, and ranching. We include articles covering the Old West, cowboy life, places to visit in Arizona, and great entertainment that is happening each month. Our motto is “God, Family, Country”.

96.3 Real Country plays your all-time country favorites all the time. The biggest country artists and songs from the classics to the 2000s. It’s the country music I grew up with and love. I can name the tunes in one note, and I am always singing along.

My formative years were spent in Holbrook, Ariz., and Fort Worth, Texas. I am the last appointed Hashknife Rodeo Queen (many moons ago, I still have the sash and buckle to prove it) representing the Hashknife Sheriff’s Posse that continues to carry the mail via the Pony Express to Scottsdale, in conjunction with the Parada del Sol, every spring. I was also a professional barrel racer with the Texas Oklahoma Barrel Racing Association for three years until my money ran out (hay is expensive).

I attended the University of Texas (I am a huge Longhorns fan) and graduated from ASU with a degree in broadcast journalism. I worked for Atlantic Records in Los Angeles for nine years doing West Coast promotion for artists ranging from AC/DC to Leif Garrett. I assisted with tour promotion for the band INXS after leaving Atlantic and then moved back to the Valley. Bob Boze Bell and David K. Jones invited me to sit in to do news and traffic on the morning show at KOPA, and that was all it took for the radio bug to bite me.

My broadcasting career has encompassed working at several Valley stations beginning with KOPA, and then moving to KMLE, KNIX, MIX 101, the ZONE, and KSLX in various capacities, including mid-day on-air personality, music director, and promotions.

I took over as editor of Arizona Real Country The Magazine in 2018. My favorite articles to write are about road-tripping around the state. It gives me joy to provide information about the amazing and sometimes forgotten places to visit right in our backyard.

I live in Scottsdale but love the small-town feel of Wickenburg. I’m often there eating breakfast in the cafes on Wickenburg Way, attending the ropings all winter, announcing the Gold Rush Days and Christmas parades, taking in concerts at the Flying E Ranch, or working all within the backdrop of the Bradshaw Mountains. A good chicken fried steak, some grits, and a glass of whiskey make my boots squeak. Oh yeah, I am a chocoholic.

When I am not working you’ll find me out camping in my vintage 1964 Skyliner canned ham with the Sisters on the Fly, attending rodeos, or tinkering on my 1956 Ford F-100 named Fred.

A little-known fact…well, for the last 36 years I have run a 501 c(3) shelter for domestic rabbits. It was one of the first rabbit-only stand-alone shelters in the United States. Brambley Hedge Rabbit Rescue continues to be one of the largest rabbit rescues in the country.

@963realcountry is on Facebook and Instagram.

Written by
at Apr 11, 2022

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