ACHIEVEMENTS: Torres, 30, started her media career at age 5 in Hawaii, when she appeared in a Marriot commercial. She left Maui eight years ago to earn a journalism degree at UNLV, after which she worked on local radio and TV stations before landing at Las Vegas’ No. 1 country music station as the midday host. After four years, “Melissa T” has built a steady fan base drawn both to her down-to-earth commentary and good looks.
GENRE BUILDING: “Unfortunately, country music is not the predominant music flavor here in town,” Torres says, explaining her campaign to put country on the map in Las Vegas. To help popularize the genre, Torres hosts the weekly ladies’ night at Revolver, does onsite broadcasting across the Valley and volunteers at and cross-promotes with local charities, such as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
MAKING THE CONNECTION: “Melissa was on the ground floor and had a huge part in making ‘Coyote’ the top-rated country station in Las Vegas,” says Justin Chase, vice president of programming for Beasley Broadcast Group. “There are a lot of DJs in the radio business who talk on the air, but only the best can connect to their audience on a personal level. Melissa is a great example.”
HER OWN TRANSFORMATION: Torres once abhorred the genre. Then she got the job. “And I fell in love with it because I opened myself up to it,” Torres says. “I was like, ‘Wow, this is real music; they talk about real stuff.’”
ONE PEEVE: Because of her days as an early-morning traffic reporter on TV and radio, Torres still avoids Interstate 15. “I am anti I-15,” she says. “I don’t care what day it is, it’s always bad.”