For the most part, radio morning shows have a male host as the lead. There are plenty of morning show teams in radio that include females, many with more than one female, but there are very few where the female controls the show. On July 16, in Washington DC, that formula gets turned on its head when Angie Ange takes over mornings for Radio One’s WKYS.
Ange’s success story is one of hard work, perseverance, and a true love for radio. She started out with an eye on broadcasting in high school, starting with making the morning announcements. At Howard University, Ange was the Program Director at the student radio station WHBC-AM. We spoke to Ange about her enthusiasm for the radio business, how she worked her way to take over mornings in DC, her mentors, and what her advice is to other young broadcasters.
Radio Ink: It seems like your goal was always to be in radio, from your days in high school. Why?
Angie Ange: I started recording radio shows with my older sister on cassette tapes back in elementary school. I’ve always loved talking and socializing with my friends. It was just something that came natural to me: speaking, reading out loud in class, giving speeches. And then I always loved music and the music business; from the artists and their songs to the visuals, I would watch on TV. The problem was, I could not dance or sing or rap. But then I realized I could talk. A lot! And when I learned that on-air personalities could actually make money and a living talking on the radio, I knew that was my destiny, or at least, first, my goal. High school was when I started looking at what colleges had the best schools of communications to help me achieve that goal. But I was always listening to the radio and I loved all of the radio talents. I felt like they were the adult versions of me at that time. Radio was the goal because I would be able to be a part of the music and talk as much as I wanted (or so I thought).
Radio Ink: Did you have mentors along the way that helped you learn everything you needed to learn to advance?
Angie Ange: I would not be here without my mentors! My senior year at Howard I got an internship at the station I now compete with and I was put with the afternoon drive talent at the time, Adimu, who’s voice I loved and whom I greatly respected. He showed me how to be the ultimate professional. Then came Dj Flexx who literally taught me everything about the business of what I was doing. It was about so much more than the technical and talent side. It was understanding how the actual business worked and how I should move. When I came to WKYS, P.Stew of the Live Squad would constantly give me encouragement, support, and advice that would further my abilities. I have had so many mentors from Russ Parr, Olivia Foxx, Rane, Michele Wright, Jeannie Jones, Steph Lova. All guiding me and giving me words here and there along the way. I got in the game straight out of college and, while I had natural talent, I had no idea about the politics of the game or how to handle various situations. My mentors helped me successfully navigate those waters early on and I think that really saved me from making bad or hasty decisions.
Radio Ink: You are now anchoring a morning show in a major market. That is a huge accomplishment. How did you do it?
Angie Ange: It is! If you would have asked me at 18 or even 21 where I would be at the age of 33 I would have probably told you I would just be getting my own show. Boy was I wrong. But I really believed it would be a long road so I prepared myself for the journey. It has moreso turned into a wild roller coaster ride with so many unexpected twists and turns, but I’m loving every minute of it, because each time I go over a hill or a twist or a turn I realize I’m still on the ride. It’s still going and I’m still in one piece so it’s okay to keep going and have fun even if it’s scary at times. I also get smarter and stronger. It has been a very thrilling journey up to this moment. I truly believe I am here because I am a student of the art of radio. I have focused very much so on being a master of the craft but also connecting with my audience. Because I am from here and all of my family is from here on both sides, my connection to the listeners is so elevated. I’m rooting for them and they are rooting for me. And going to Howard helped me to see that no matter where you’re from, you can bring together a sense of community with any and everyone. I love people. I study people. I am interested in their stories and if they want me to be a part of their journey I will gladly join them. I am here because I keep going. I keep learning and I have always known what I want out of this industry. I value my name and my ability to carry a show on my own and have always thought it strange that there was always a push for me to be paired with a man or in need of a male co-host, as if to balance me out when the same need is never thought of when it comes to a man holding his own. So for most of my career I have fought to just be Angie Ange. I have fought to do radio in my own way on my own terms in service of my listeners. I think that is why I have been put in this position and you can’t knock down those kinds of barriers if you are not an absolute master, because at the first bit of failure it will quickly be used to justify why you shouldn’t be doing what you’re doing. So you better make sure you are the best.
Radio Ink: What was your biggest challenge getting to this point and how did you overcome it?
Angie Ange: My biggest challenge has been having the opportunity to just be Angie Ange. I have overcome it with patience, consistency, and focusing on what I can control. When I stopped focusing on what or who was trying to stop me and focused on other ways to be great and reach people, I rose above the obstacles. To have learned that so early in my career was a very powerful lesson.
Radio Ink: How will you make your show successful?
Angie Ange: My show will be successful because of the intent behind it. I am building a show for the people. It is not about me or my ego or the need to go viral. It is solely about what is best for the people. When people are going to work they need energy, information, motivation, and laughter/joy. As long as we focus on the people we will succeed. I believe that wholeheartedly.
Radio Ink: What advice do you have for any young broadcasters trying to advance to a major market?
Angie Ange: For young broadcasters trying to advance to a major market I would say that positioning is very important. I have always been strategic about where I place myself. From choosing Howard University to hosting homecoming and parties at clubs. I deliberately placed myself in situations and at events that would catch the eye or ear of others in position to help me advance. It’s not about who you know but rather who knows you. And the thing is, you never really know! So I just try to position myself any- and everywhere I think someone will catch on to me, and in the meanwhile I continue to focus on perfecting my craft. You never know who’s watching or listening or following your movement.
Radio Ink: Tell us what went through your mind when you got the call with the offer to take over the morning show.
Angie Ange: At first, hesitation, then fear of leaving my comfort zone. But then it was like the universe had to remind me that I was born to do this. I am built to do this. And it is part of a greater purpose that I could have never imagined. So I lifted my head up, poked my chest out, and said “let’s do it.” I want to put this station on my back and lead. I had to call on my inner lion (I am a Leo) — I call it the conquering lion. I felt that it was a major opportunity and great honor to be in the midst of all the great shows I grew up listening to. Taking that offer was me stepping in to my greatness. From night show (6-10p) to afternoons (3-7p) to the mornings at one station in my home market is an incredible blessing. I had to do it.
Radio Ink: You founded College is Cool Inc. Tell us about that.
Angie Ange: College is Cool inc. is my non profit organization that I started back in 2008 to expose youth to the college experience and encourage them to further their education. Early on I saw how the influences of the music and images affected youth, and I wanted to use my platform to show them more. My junior year at Howard I took a poetry class and my professor Tony Medina told me that when I become successful I needed to make sure I took some kind of stance on something. That something for me was EDUCATION. Because I’ve seen what happens when you don’t have it. Guiding young people to higher education via college or even within their trades or career fields has really been an honor. I am now shifting and focusing on the crippling debt of student loans and how to better prepare students for the financial side of higher education. I also have a scholarship fund I’m building up in honor of my grandfather, Charlie Wilson, who passed away from Alzheimer’s but was a major believer in all of us having higher education.
Reach out to Angie to congratulate her at [email protected]