Here Are The Future African American Leaders In Radio

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Now in its sixth year, our Future African American Leaders in Radio list, as it has in previous years, includes people from every aspect of the business and from all over the country. On the 2018 list, you’ll read about how several of them backed into radio almost by accident — but discovered they loved it (sounds like we may have a recruiting problem) and made a hugely successful career out of their opportunity. Many of them credit their success to having great mentors, strong faith, and the grit and desire to be the best at what they do. Every member of this list was nominated by a respected peer and voted on by a panel of experienced managers across the industry. Each nominee responded to a long Radio Ink questionnaire that asked them about how they got into radio, what makes them successful, why they are passionate about the business, how they would change radio or fix its problems, and what advice they have for young broadcasters. In the section that follows, you will be reading a shortened version of the answers they provided. Online at RadioInk.com, we’ve posted more detailed responses. We suggest you subscribe to our Daily Headlines as we’ll be featuring many of these great broadcasters in our Headlines and on RadioInk.com. Radio Ink is pleased and proud to present the 2018 Future African American Leaders in Radio.

GARY L. BOND, JR.
Vice President, Business Affairs & Entertainment
Reach Media

Dallas Gary Bond, Jr. tells Radio Ink it was life that brought him to radio after what he thought was a chance encounter with Tom Joyner’s personal attorney and outside counsel at a concert. “From there, as a corporate lawyer with a media background, I was tapped to become head of legal for Reach Media as its first in-house attorney,” he says. “Little did I know at the time it would become so much more, as the medium of radio that I lived by as a kid mornings, afternoons, and weekends would come full circle in a way that I never imagined.” We asked Bond why he’s been so successful in his career to this point. He responds, “One word: God. Of course, I could say that from my first job, as a 6-year-old picking up aluminum cans in East Waco, Texas, putting my way through undergrad, and working two jobs while in law school, and now as a corporate executive, all my success was due to hard work. “But then there was spending time as a child in the foster care system, or having been in a car accident in 1989 and left inches from death. So working hard in and of itself was not the cure. It’s to know that each day that I am granted the privilege to wake up, success will be measured by how good of a father, husband, coworker, and ultimately, neighbor I am to those I encounter daily in the journey of life. By focusing on that, all the accomplishments I have attained in my life seem to have taken care of themselves as I have achieved positions I never even could have imagined. But with each one, when much is given to one, much is required.” What if Bond were promoted to a higher position of leadership tomorrow? What would he improve right away? “I was extremely excited when I first saw this question. I began to recount the endless conversations I have had with colleagues on how we can do this better or change that, or add digital or social media, or get talent to do this or implement a 360 media model, and on and on. However, as I began to try to memorialize an answer, I couldn’t devise one coherent strategy. “So, as is my practice, I quieted my mind, and one thought became clear: ‘Radio doesn’t need improvement, we do.’ My first action would be to conduct an experiment and ask all employees to remove radio and all vestiges and offshoots of radio from their lives for a month, in an experiment my grandmother would have called ‘taking it for granted.’ Some would say people would just replace it with other mediums. But that’s just it, radio can’t be replaced, as before there was YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and even television, there was radio. So the question is, what are we in the industry going to do about it? We have to first believe in the power of radio and then bring our best to the table every day in everything we do, and all else will follow.”

ANGELA WATSON CHARLES
“Uptown Angela”
Senior VP of Programming
Operations Manager
On-Air Personality
iHeartMedia New Orleans

Angela Watson Charles decided she wanted to be in radio 27 years ago, when she saw that Oprah Winfrey began her career at a radio station. “I went home that afternoon and called the two top Urban stations in New Orleans, which I grew up listening to. I met with Jay Michaels at Q93 the next day and was hired on the spot as a promotions intern. Radio being the medium about connecting with people 24/7, I was always drawn to it.” Drive and work ethic are making Charles successful in radio today. “The hustle never stops for me,” she says. “My wheels are constantly spinning. I’m always thinking of ideas to take our stations up a notch. Another very important layer of my success is being an optimist. Radio is constantly changing, so you have to embrace it and keep pushing through. As a leader, you must stand strong and always lead by example.” Her advice to young broadcasters? “First, there must be passion for radio — this will be your driving force! Make a positive impression every day — be thorough, be on time, and always go the extra mile. You are competing with many, so it’s important that you stand out.”

ALEXIS SNIPE-CAMPBELL
General Manager
Glory Communications
Columbia, SC; Charleston, SC;
Augusta, GA

Alexis Snipe-Campbell started in radio as a part-time receptionist, worked her way up, learning the different facets of the business, and ultimately landed in the role of general manager. She says, “I attribute my success to Glory Communications, Inc., who gives me an opportunity to be part of a station that sends a message of hope, love, and inspiration to tens of thousands of listeners daily. I am able to learn the radio business and be part of a legacy that can be passed on to generations to come. When you have faith and family driving you, you can’t help but be successful.”

She goes on, “I am passionate about the radio industry because of how impactful and timeless radio is. Radio has been a companion for decades, and even as we grow in this digital world, radio still remains the number one medium for weekly reach to our nation’s population. Radio finds a way to grow with the times and continues to share its message across all generations. If we continue to evolve, radio will be around for generations to come; I look forward to being a part of that evolution.”

Snipe-Campbell’s advice to someone just starting out? “Do your research, study your craft, network, and remain assertive but humble.”

GREG DAVIS JR.
Vice President/Market Manager
Atlanta, GA
Davis Broadcasting Inc.

In the role of vice president and Atlanta market manager, Greg Davis Jr. is responsible for operations at Davis Broadcasting’s Atlanta radio stations, La Raza 102.3FM/100.1FM, La Mega 96.5FM/1290AM, and WJZA Smooth Jazz 101.1FM/1310AM. He manages 30 employees in Atlanta while supporting the national sales efforts for Atlanta and Columbus, Georgia, as well as working on strategic sales and marketing efforts for the company. Radio has been in Davis’ blood all his life. “Our father launched the company the same year I was born,” he says. “Growing up, I worked — sometimes willingly, other times unwillingly — in every capacity from cleaning the building to programming and then sales. I decided in 2011 to return to the industry to work in the family business.” He goes on, “My personal goal is to work side by side with my sister to help take our family-owned business to the next level. I’m confident that if we focus on providing entertaining content, becoming a reliable source of information, and driving unmatched results for our clients, we will do just that. As for the industry, I am constantly challenging myself to think outside of the box. Having seen the operations of radio broadcasting my entire life, I want us to lead the industry in innovative thinking and to attract the next generation of leaders in the industry.”

GIOVONNI BRADEN-DORSEY
General Manager
WOVU/Cleveland
Burten, Bell, Carr Development Inc.

Six years ago Giovonni Braden-Dorsey entered the radio business out of pure curiosity. “That curiosity grew into a hobby, which grew into a career interest,” he says. “Radio is one of the purest mediums for creativity and information, and I wanted to be a part of it. Being able to provide a voice to people in my community through radio is what makes me passionate about this industry. It’s not about money or fame for me, it’s about creating a new way of doing things in the community that my station serves.” He says, “If I were promoted to a higher position tomorrow, I would try to reach out to the new generation and get them into the business. Radio is such a special platform because it is a theater of the mind and it needs fresh blood in order to continue to thrive. Radio needs to get younger in all aspects.” His advice to young people starting out is to “stay the course, always be cerebral in your thinking, and never be afraid to ask for help. You never know where the answer can take you.”

ANDRE EZEUGWU
Senior Integrated Marketing Specialist
Urban One
Philadelphia

Andre Ezeugwu began his radio career in 2010. That’s when he realized how necessary it was to take an entrepreneurial approach. “To separate yourself from every other media outlet and ad seller in the market, it’s essential that you perfect your brand, your hustle, your customer service, your attention to detail, your organization skills, your creativity, and your drive to always provide the best results for your clients and advertisers,” he says. His goal to make the industry better revolves around his ability to rebrand the perception of radio against other media outlets and tell a better story of how effective radio is when the formula of a strong message, great ad, decent frequency, and the right demo comes together. He’s had setbacks, but they have helped him become as successful as he has. “During my first year of selling radio, my bills each month were significantly more than I was bringing in,” he says, “and my shoes had holes in the bottom and I wore suit jackets with homemade stitching because the inside was ripped. A quote from Beverly Sills became my mantra: ‘There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.’ So I knew if I wanted it, I had to be relentless in figuring out ways to achieve it.” His advice to those just getting started? “Tenacity is key. My first general manager, Natalie Connor, once told me that she found success when she realized she can outlast the next person. That next person could be a rep from another radio station working an account. They leave, or the advertiser is looking for a change, and you have to be ready to be an asset to the business owner. That next person could be the person in the cube next to you when they get promoted or move to another market. If you have been doing your job, the station manager will lean on you to help pick up the slack. Never assume, and always be willing to go above and beyond the job description of a radio sales representative.”

GENIECE R. GRANVILLE
Vice President
Davis Broadcasting Inc. of Columbus
Columbus, GA

Geniece Granville’s radio career began in 2010 because she wanted to be a part of her family’s legacy at Davis Broadcasting and assist the company in the legal department and business office. “I remain in this business because it is one of the most impactful forms of media there is,” she says. “My desire is to serve people, and radio does that each and every day. Radio is still one of the most powerful mediums that is also accessible to almost everyone. Radio is still the people’s microphone.” Granville’s success comes from having a pretty good mentor: “The president of our company, Gregory A. Davis, and others,” she says. “I’ve seen the hard work and commitment it takes to stay in the radio business. I have been provided an opportunity to learn from all departments in radio, from programming to the front desk. I believe success in radio will only come when all the departments are on the same page.” Her advice to newcomers trying to break into the business: “Don’t be afraid to learn from each department at your company, and take time to build relationships. Radio is not run on an island. Try not to get bogged down so far in tradition that you can’t see your way forward.”

BRANDY “BEASY BAYBIE”HENSHAW
Afternoon Air Talent
WHXT (Hot 103.9/93.9)
Alpha Media Columbia, SC

Brandy Henshaw’s very first day in radio was in Charlotte in September of 2012. She says, “I began as an intern with BJ Murphy on WGIV, The Soul of Charlotte (now Streetz 103.3). I had a GED, passion for people, and limitless ambition. So though I had no real radio experience outside of being a listener, I wanted it, and was willing to do the work required. I don’t think I really knew I wanted to be in radio until the first time I was live on air. I realized how much of an impact I could have on someone’s day — really understanding just how powerful radio is, and how the right words, coupled with playing the right song, could brighten someone’s mood. I thought it was pretty amazing that radio would allow me to do that for so many people at once. “So a year after I started my journey in radio, a midday position opened up with Chris Connors at Alpha Media’s Hot 103.9 in Columbia, South Carolina, and I leaped at the opportunity. I began my career at Hot in September of 2013 as a part-time on-air talent, voicetracking the midday spot, and have grown pretty rapidly since, transitioning from part-time to full-time and from middays to afternoon drive.” Henshaw goes on, “What makes me most successful is that I completely understand that God is ultimately in charge, and success is not attached to a dollar amount or title. So long as I’m living my God-given purpose, I’m always successful, no matter how that appears to others. I think I have had a positive experience in this field due to a few things: not taking ‘no’ at face value, and understanding that ‘no’ just means ‘not right now,’ or ‘not that way.’ “Being interested in continual growth is another reason I think I’ve been able to remain employed. Continually seeking opportunities to grow personally, so that I’m able to further grow the station and company that I am employed by. I don’t see limitations, only other options for acquiring a position or obtaining a thing. I think my passion and willingness to work has also helped — if I can’t find the answer here, I’ll look there. I ask for critiques, I listen to vets in the industry, I keep my hands busy so that I never get comfortable at any level. Not ever being too big to do the grunt work or too low to think I’m undeserving of something greater. I love God, and that allows me to love people. When you truly want to see others live their best lives, the universe has a way of working that out for you as well.”

G. COURTNEY FRENCH
President/CEO
Courtney French Broadcasting
Birmingham, AL

Courtney French has been in the radio business for just a year. He’s actually a practicing attorney, but says radio has always intrigued him. “I recall countless fond memories of listening to local and national on-air personalities in radio,” he says. “Owning my own radio station is a dream come true.” French purchased WATV-AM in Birmingham on April 10, 2017 and has since added two FM translators. He says working with extraordinarily talented people drives his passion for the radio industry and adds, “Radio provides a platform to positively impact the daily lives of our listeners and creates the ability to educate, inform, and engage our audience.” How would this newcomer to the business like to see it improve? “Much can be learned from the younger generation, namely millennials, regarding their opinions for our industry. Therefore I would create a roundtable of a diverse group of nontraditional radio listeners to provide advice and ideas for the future of the radio industry.”

KEISHA MARTIN
Director of Entertainment & Live Events
Alpha Media Columbia, SC

Keisha Martin has a lot on her plate as a director of entertainment and live events for Alpha Media. “I am responsible for developing and cultivating relationships that will brand our stations as entertainment and live event specialists,” she says. “My current duties involve consulting, budget analyzing, generating nontraditional revenue, lead qualification, negotiations, and closing, and in addition, participating in industry networking events to build direct profit-sharing pipelines. The key to success in this role is having a passion for the radio and entertainment industry, and also being highly motivated, productive, and organized.” Martin entered the radio business 16 years ago. She says, “During my undergrad studies at Michigan State University, I decided to change my major from pre-med to advertising. I had a meeting with my academic advisor, and we were discussing internship options. One of the options was to intern with Citadel Broadcasting in Lansing, Michigan. I thought interning at a radio station would be really cool. “Once I started the internship, I was hooked on radio. I spent my junior and senior years with Citadel, learning everything from programming to sales. I decided from that point that my career path would be in radio. August of 2018 will mark my 14th anniversary in radio with Alpha Media Columbia.” If she were promoted to a much higher position of leadership tomorrow, Martin says, “I would improve radio by going back to the grass roots and making it fun again. Radio used to be the place where you would tune in because your favorite DJ would spin that new record that you never heard before. Radio used to be a source of entertainment; people would tune in to hear what their favorite on-air personality had to say next. That is one of the things that I admire about Alpha Media, because they are staying true to the grass roots of radio. The mantra of Alpha Media is live and local. We have live personalities that are locally stationed in our communities.”


PAMELA McKAY
Vice President/General Manager
Radio One
Houston

Pamela McKay is responsible for Radio One’s four-station Houston cluster. Why is she passionate about being in radio? “We are in a very unique position to see the benefits that we provide our clients and our community in real time,” says McKay. “We can see the growth in our client partners over time and how they expand into new locations, product lines, etc. Also, while we are consistently active in our communities, when a tragedy or natural disaster happens, we see just how much the community depends on us. This gives me purpose and passion for what we do.” What would this successful market manager like to see the industry improve upon? “I would work to make the training more consistent in the industry,” she says. “I believe we have done a better job in recruitment of diverse talent, but we lose too many of our new recruits because they are not sufficiently trained. Since there is such a wide array of assets for them to sell now, I believe the more knowledgeable our collective sales force is, the more it will fortify our medium as a preferred option.” And finally, McKay’s advice to young broadcasters trying to break into the business: “First, identify a sponsor — not a mentor, but a sponsor that will speak up for you and advocate for you and your professional growth. And second, be ‘athletic’ in your approach to your business. Our industry is going to continue to evolve, and we have to be willing and able to evolve with it or ahead of it.”

ELIJAH MONDAY
Owner
KJIW-FM/Helena-West Helena, AR
Co-Owner & Senior Partner
KCAT-AM/Pine Bluff, AR

Monday has one of the best explanations we’ve ever heard for why he’s been so successful in radio — and in life. “It is because of the favor of the Lord that I have been successful, and how He has taught me the importance of having a good healthy attitude in every situation. It was not a college degree, which I do not have, that helped me, but attitude.” He goes on, “I was told on several occasions by top executives and department heads that they wanted to hire me because of my attitude. One wanted me to head up an aviation division he was creating for his corporation, and another was the president of Chicago’s NBC TV, where I eventually landed for 29 years. It was while there, being around and learning from great people, that I decided to become a radio station owner. “In the same way, I would rather hire someone who has a great attitude with no college degree than someone with a bad attitude with a college degree. A bad attitude is like poison that spreads, and young people interested in the industry should understand this.” Monday says he’s passionate about radio because it’s a powerful industry that has a great impact on our nation and the world. “It has the ability to shape the thinking and values of the populace,” he says. “Not only that, it is a lot of fun to take on the big challenge of putting an entire broadcast mechanism in place that allows me to get information out to the public.”

He adds, “In making the industry better, my goal is that the broadcast industry reverse itself and not allow a continual erosion of high broadcast standards for the sake of ratings and money. Dirty and immoral lyrics in music, profanity, and programming that demoralizes people should be strongly unacceptable, like they once were, years ago. Radio, and broadcasting in general, is a leader with a powerful ability to influence thinking. My message is that you can have good ratings and make money without going down a path that corrupts good thinking and values.” What advice does Monday have for someone just getting started in the business? “The first thing is to cultivate a good attitude in one’s spirit. In that good attitude, be prepared for failure and disappointments, with a resolve to keep trying. The second thing is to learn everything you can about every phase of radio, including FCC rules and regulations, engineering, the different functions of broadcast equipment, programming, advertising, public service, and sales and marketing. You have to be prepared to learn the business and run the business. Attend as many broadcast conventions, seminars, and workshops as possible. Visit the FCC to meet and greet with them and learn from them. They are very important. It is important to network with other radio broadcasters to help you.”

TARIK J MOODY
Digital Director and Evening Host
WYMS (88Nine Radio Milwaukee)
Milwaukee, WI

Tarik Moody has been with 88Nine Radio Milwaukee for 11 years. Before that he practiced architecture and had a show called Rhythm Lab Radio on Minnesota Public Radio’s KCMP (The Current) in the Twin Cities; he now produces and hosts the show on 88Nine.

“Making an impact is what makes me passionate about radio,” Moody says. “At 88Nine Radio Milwaukee, we are more than just a radio station. We use our on-air signal and website to make a positive impact on the city, whether it is from the music we play or the stories we do, or even the events we host. As digital director, I’m very passionate about radio’s future and how we reach our audience in new ways. I also love introducing new music and artists to our listeners.” He adds, “One of my major goals as digital director is to make sure radio is ready for what the future may hold. This year, I’m organizing a series of ‘hackathons’ and Tech Talks to connect the tech scene with the music scene and other creative sectors. I see what we do as all about good content, and not our frequency. One of the hackathons involves looking at how innovative radio can connect with listeners. Personally, I have been learning how to code so I can have a better understanding of the technology that affects our industry.”

KEITH MOUNSEY
Vice President, Advertising Effectiveness
iHeartMedia
New York, NY

Keith Mounsey is iHeart’s expert on campaign measurement, which makes him responsible for proving advertising success across all of iHeartMedia’s platforms — radio, digital, mobile, experiential — using a variety of primary research methodologies. He’s also regularly presents insights to Fortune 50 clients, agencies, and iHeartMedia senior management. Mounsey has been in the radio industry for just over five years now. “I decided to work in radio because I felt there was an opportunity to be at the forefront of exploring how consumers are influenced by and react to audio stimuli — be it a podcast, a promotional 30-second spot, or a live DJ read,” he says. “Consumers ingest audio in a very unique way; the chance to take a deep dive into radio advertising and its impact on consumers, and to provide insights around that was something I couldn’t pass up.

“What makes me passionate about this industry is the opportunity I have to create new approaches and provide new learnings that impact not only my company, but the radio industry as a whole. I am passionate about creating and bringing radiospecific solutions to the table — ones that are as impactful as the established approaches for other media categories.” Mounsey tells Radio Ink his success comes from his ability to take complex analyses and insights and communicate them in an easily digestible way. He adds, “Plus, my success cannot be noted without also noting the influence of my peers. I’ve had the benefit of working with some really smart people in this industry, and they all continue to push me to think better about our industry’s challenges.”

He says, “There are still plenty of areas in our industry where we can continue to learn more — direct attribution of on-air radio, impact of spot length, new ways to improve creative, listener burnout. If I was in a much higher position of leadership tomorrow, I’d like to think that I’d take on one of those challenges as my primary goal and see what resources we’d be able to allocate to getting a strong industry-wide answer for some of those questions.” If you want to make it in the radio business, you’ll need to put in the time and work hard. “Ask lots of questions,” Mounsey advises. “Be humble — there’s a lot to learn out there. Do not only rely on e-mail and texting to communicate. Face-to-face meetings matter. Go to a person’s desk, meet with clients at their office, or even just pick up the phone. Lastly, remember a client’s confidence in research results is often a reflection of the confidence they have in the person delivering them.”

SEAN PLATER
Deputy General Manager
96.3 WHUR & The Howard University Radio Network
Washington, DC

As deputy general manager, Sean Plater’s responsibilities are to manage and direct the day-to-day operations of all six stations that make up the Howard University Radio Network. The position involves developing a digital strategy and ensuring that all the stations are operating efficiently. Now in his 12th year in the business, Plater says he knew at an early age that radio was his calling. “I knew at the age of 13 that I wanted to be in radio. I had the opportunity to sit in on a radio show, and I was amazed at the power of the microphone. To think that the things being spoken through the microphone, in that little studio, were going out to hundreds of thousands of people was just mind-blowing to me. To be honest, that’s still something that I love about radio. It’s very powerful and impactful on listeners.” Plater believes he’s been successful so far because of his willingness to be humble and learn. He says, “The guidance from my mentors, especially WHUR General Manager Jim Watkins, has helped me to develop as a leader and manager in this business. Additionally, training opportunities through the NAB Education Foundation have been invaluable. I have always said that I am a student of this business, and there are opportunities for learning every day.” His big goal is to become a major-market manager, and, Plater adds, “I would also like to impact the industry by continuing to develop the next generation of on-air talent, music directors, account executives, engineers, and radio leaders. There are many talented individuals that may not come up through the traditional radio ranks that can help with the evolution of the industry.” His advice to someone just getting in the business is to “work as hard as you can no matter what the task, and soak up knowledge from those around you.” He goes on, “Ask questions, do the task that nobody else wants to, show up early, stay late, and learn the functions of each department. In this business you have to know how to multi-task and perform more than one job function to be valuable to your employer. There are people in line looking for the same opportunity that you have been given. Maximize it, put in the work, and never stop dreaming of where you want to be.”

ISAIAH TWITTY
Morning Show Producer
Pat & JT on KQKQ/Omaha
Personality
KOPW (Power106.9)/Omaha
NRG Media

Isaiah Twitty is new to the radio business, in only his third year. “I chose to be in radio because of the natural ability I have to communicate with people,” he says. “I’m an outgoing person, and I majored in communication. I’m passionate about radio because I can be an entertainment source for people to help uplift or bring joy to their day — doing things for others and being able to have people know that I’m just a regular everyday guy who lives in the same world as they do.” He says, “I’ve been successful at this point of my career due to my ‘hard work pays off’ mentality. I always put the stations before myself, and my co-workers know that if they ask me to do a job, I will do it, and execute it to the best of my ability. “I always am sure to engage in conversation with all

co-workers in the building, from the GM to our front desk secretary. But most importantly, I have no problem doing small or big jobs, from being the board op of a remote to headlining an artist at a concert. I look at and treat both situations the same, and put my best foot forward no matter what.”

PAMELA TYUS
Director of Marketing andPromotion
Salem Media
Los Angeles

Back in 1990, Pam Tyus stumbled into radio by pure happenstance. “I was attending college, aiming for a career in banking; I was working at Bank of America at the time,” she says. “While listening to 99.1 KGGI in Riverside, I called in to win tickets to attend a concert (MC Hammer and TLC, among others). While on the party bus heading to the concert venue, I ended up sitting next to the promotions director, Mike Karsting. He told me about his job, which sounded interesting, and encouraged me to apply for an internship, which I did the following week. I became an intern, then was hired part-time. From there, a career in radio was born.” Tyus tells Radio Ink she’s been a success in radio because she eats details for breakfast. “I average over 75 events annually — everything from small community events to massive, talent-driven events for 2,000-plus people. The key to their success is in the smallest details: buying a door prize to generate entry-forms collection, anticipating any and all needs of sponsors at events, offering listeners special discounts to ensure repeat business. All these little things add up and ensure success.” She goes on, “One of my constant goals is to increase awareness of the power of a good event! As you have mentioned in numerous articles, promotional events are now the heartbeat of radio! I feel that people don’t understand the joy achieved by executing a flawless event. On an industry level, I think companies need to do a better job of recruiting minorities. We need to dig deeper, because there is a pool of talent that is not being tapped in to.”

SHELLEY WADE
Personality
KMYI (Star 94.1 FM)/San Diego
KBIG (104.3 MYfm)/ Los Angeles
iHeartMedia

This 25-year radio star still relishes the memory of her first day on the job. “I clearly remember walking down the hall leading to the KMJQ/Houston studio ahead of my very first commercial radio show,” Shelley Wade says. “I remember it as clearly as if it were yesterday. That was a part-time weekend show. Six months later, I got my first full-time show, at KBXX/Houston — the first commercial Hip Hop station in the South. It was a very magical time for me. I grew up singing and performing, so to say that I was given the opportunity to play music on the radio was the stuff of dreams.” She goes on, “What I love most about radio is still the fact that I get to earn a living by playing music on the air. That amazingness is still never lost on me. I also love the conversations and those connections we make on a very personal level with people. I was on the radio at Z100 New York when the September 11 attacks happened in New York City. And although I haven’t been on the air in NYC in four years, many of those listeners still keep up with what I’m doing now because we made such personal connections with them on the radio while trying to be a bright spot in their days during such a devastating time. So, yeah, the kinds of connections you get to make with listeners through the radio are very meaningful.” Wade says her big goal in radio is pretty simple. “I know this sounds very generic, but I just want to be better. My father passed away a few months ago, and I just feel the need to be the best that I can be in every aspect of my life so that I represent him well for the rest of my life. So my goal? To be better.” And her advice to young broadcasters? “Don’t give up. I feel that God wouldn’t put the passion for what we do in our hearts if our success weren’t meant to be, so don’t give up. And don’t allow others to tell you what you can’t achieve. Every single person I know that’s successful achieved their goals in their own unique way. So there’s no one equation that leads to the right answer. Don’t let someone tell you that you can’t do something just because they couldn’t do it or because they haven’t seen it done. I know I sound like Will Smith in the movie, but it’s true — don’t let someone tell you you can’t do something just because they couldn’t do it. Don’t give up.”

SHERMAN “TREY” WHITE
Media Personality
WGCI-FM/Chicago
iHeartMedia

Nine years ago, Sherman “Trey” White started out as a promotions intern in New Orleans before getting a shot on the air three years later. “I chose radio as a career because I love the aspect of connecting with local people and being a voice for my community,” he says. “My hope one day is to make a big impact in a positive way. My goal is to be the ‘Black Ryan Seacrest’ and dominate radio and TV. “I also want to continue to use my platform in a way that promotes positivity and sparks conversation around important topics. To accomplish this, I always try to stay on top of the trends and am very transparent with our listeners. I still have a long way to go to accomplish my goals, but one day I think the hard work will pay off.” White goes on, “I’m so passionate about the radio industry because personalities use their voices to make someone’s day. Sometimes listeners can have a rough day, and you never know if one of your comments or personal anecdotes could change someone’s life. Also, because of radio’s wide reach in every community, it’s awesome that I get to connect with people from all walks of life.” On advice, he says, “This may sound clichéd, but the advice I would give someone getting in the game is to never give up and to believe in yourself. I think back to when I was a child and I was told I had a learning disability. Some people didn’t believe I could accomplish some of the things I’ve done — but thankfully I have parents and friends who have always believed in me, which made me believe in myself more. You will get so many no’s in life, but one day someone will say ‘Yes!’ If you aren’t confident, how can someone else believe in your vision? “It also helps to have mentors and network in the industry. I’m grateful to have people in my network that I look up to in this business, because I wouldn’t be where I am without their encouragement and advice! I also pray a lot; it’s important to have that faith foundation.”

DON CHRIS “DJ WREKK-1” WILLIAMS
Content/Program Director
WMBX X102.3/Beatz 96.3
West Palm Beach
Alpha Media

Like many PDs, Don Chris Williams wears many hats. He’s responsible for everything that hits the airwaves, from music, personalities, and promotions to commercials, websites, and social media. He’s also the afternoon driver for WMBX (X 102.3). And like many jocks, Williams fell in love with radio at an early age. “I started working in radio professionally in 1996 at KMJM (Majic 108 FM) in St. Louis,” he says. “I was just a senior in high school, but had a passion for radio and wanted to pursue a career in the business. Even with the Internet and cable being widely available at the time, that mysterious voice behind the microphone is what really fascinated me. To me, radio jocks were the next best thing — they were bigger than life and were local superstars. Every day, I would mimic what I heard them say and do on-air. Even at an early stage in life, I think music is the first thing most people fall in love with, and it was and still is no different for me.” He continues, “Additionally, I wanted to work in a field that would make my friends and family proud. I didn’t have the face for TV, so I decided that radio was definitely the place for me. My parents instilled great morals and values in me at a young age, so I wanted use the microphone and airwaves to serve as a role model, to show people in my community that you don’t have to be involved in illegal activities in order to be successful. I still come to work every day with that same passion, excitement, and sense of responsibility. It’s never lost upon me, every time I crack the mic or hit the streets with our stations.” If Williams were promoted to a much higher position of leadership tomorrow, he would work to change the overall experience of the industry. “Yes, I understand that radio must play proven hits, but there are regional and local songs unique to specific markets that may only get limited airplay, if any at all. In my opinion, it’s almost impossible for the underdog to compete in today’s radio and music environment. “I’ve also observed that people miss out on some exceptional and time-sensitive branding opportunities with the Internet. I think some people still don’t realize that it’s an even playing field because unique material can go viral instantly. I would also focus on once-in-a-lifetime experiences for radio listeners — innovative promotions such as ‘Go Shopping with Beyonce in Paris’ or ‘Be Drake’s Manager for a Day.’ These are exciting experiences that people will never forget, and that will keep them hooked to and on the radio just like I’ve always been.”

2 COMMENTS

  1. I am satisfied that ignoring the obvious is hardly a PC behavior, John.
    There are, after all, sets and sub-sets of Afro-American culture that are represented in any number of broadcast approaches.
    I say, “Let’s recognize the leaders, acknowledge whatever differences there might be and maybe even learn from them.”
    That would be more than PC. That could be useful.

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