Joel is a native of the Ola community, in Kaufman County, Texas (about 40 miles east of Dallas). He came to West Texas in 1976 to attend Abilene Christian University, where he graduated in 1981 with a degree in Mass Communications.
His broadcast career started in Haskell, Texas, in 1981, with an eight-year stint at KVRP radio. Joel ventured into TV news in 1989 when he went to work for KTAB-TV in Abilene. Joel joined the KLST news team in 1997.