Women to Watch: JSimmone, WSTU


(By Charese Fruge’) JSimmone is a Media Specialist and On-Air Personality, majoring in Mass Media Arts with a concentration in Radio, TV, and Film and a graduating senior at Clark Atlanta University. The Boston native is also a plus-size model, brand ambassador, and works at WSTU, the only student-run radio station in Atlanta University Center.

Her passion for media started in 2018 when she started posting on YouTube. In 2019, JSimmone started using Instagram as a professional platform. That year, she was selected to work with Essence GU x Ulta Beauty. In 2020 she started college as a Mass Media Arts major where she eventually studied level 200-300 courses in media/entertainment. By 2022, JSimmone was covering awards nights, red carpets, and media events and in 2023, she spoke on the McDonald’s Changemakers Panel at the Essence GU Summit.

That same year, she worked with various brands as an ambassador and an intern. In 2024 she interned with her Campus Media (College Fashionista) and attended the Women in Radio summit where she won the WIRxEIGHT Scholarship and was also selected to participate in the Propel Learn Accelerated Arts & Entertainment Program.

Now, her career is well on the way. “Currently, I work as a Brand Ambassador with SHEIN as the GA Chapter lead and a 2X Bumble Honey as the Team Captain for Clark Atlanta University Honeys,” says JSimmone. “In these roles, I oversee/lead the teams, drive our events, and manage/create content, among other things. Additionally, content creation on social media platforms, in general, is a little side hustle/passion project for me.”

“While I have always had a big personality and loved to bring joy to people and entertain audiences, I didn’t know it could be a job for me until I had the opportunity to work with Essence,” explains JSimmone. “I got introduced to the reality of the media industry when I was selected to be one of six mentees for the Essence GU x Ulta Beauty collaboration in 2019.”

“Prior to Covid, I was able to go to Essence and Ulta Beauty headquarters and meet their teams. The whole program was being filmed for a docuseries and I thoroughly enjoyed the process of having a call time, being on set, showing personality, having confessionals, etc. I never thought about the media industry as a career until that point, and then when the Essence team encouraged me and said this was where I belonged, it was just the cherry on top.”

“At the time, I had already applied to colleges for biology on a pre-med track, so I had to wait for their decisions and then switch my major, but I started looking to see if places I already applied to have a media/broadcast program. Clark Atlanta University had one of the best media programs and it was located in the premier city for Black film/media. I got my acceptance, applied to switch my major, got it approved, and started my journey in the industry!”

“Graduating from high school during the pandemic and my acceptance into college in the same year was a big deal for me. I heard so many people dropped out, took a gap year, and faced mental health challenges but I persevered and adapted to the new learning environment. My time in college opened so many doors for me, from becoming a Campus Queen to Speaking on the McDonald’s Changemakers Panel at the Essence GU Summit.”

“But it’s not always easy, especially at this point in my journey. The most challenging thing I’ve been through so far has been my fear of failure. The fear of letting what others think of me affect me, graduating and not succeeding in my desired industry, being a great student but barely keeping it together in the ‘adulting’ stage… having all of these fears and pushing through them every day has weighed on me heavily,” says JSimmone. “I haven’t experienced life outside of being a student but the glimpses I have experienced in my senior year have proved to be challenging. That doesn’t mean though, that I’m not up for the challenge.”

AI has been the talk of the industry for over a year now, and for Gen Zer’s like JSimmone, it’s become part of a daily routine. “I have experimented with AI for content planning and calendar scheduling because I get really stressed about when this is happening or how I’m going to this event when that one starts at 4?” she explains. “So having a digital organizer create it for me has been helpful, but as for the industry, I think AI will start to provide more in-depth analytics/research and begin pitching exactly what needs to happen to see improvement. AI will take over the functions known as media strategist, data manager, etc. and AI will have guaranteed results with its pitches because it knows the trends and data of everything.” 

JSimmone has great advice for engaging Gen Z to not only utilize radio but to also get involved in the business and choose radio as a career path. “We need to explain its importance and the benefits in easily digestible content on platforms (TikTok, Instagram, X) that the younger generations are oversaturated in. Showing BTS, Interviews, and the family aspect of radio stations would go a long way with encouraging younger generations because they need to see/be exposed to it as a career option before they really consider it.”

“In addition, traditional radio needs to find modern outlets to pour into so listenership continues to stay high. Find what the audience in that market wants (more giveaways, special guests, opportunities to call in/be on air, etc.). What would make them listen to the radio on their way to work instead of their favorite podcaster? Answering those questions, I think would help preserve traditional radio because people still enjoy it. They may just want education or uninterrupted music sometimes, which you can still find on the radio.”

Where does Gen Z find their new music? “Besides radio, I find my music all over and I’m not afraid to try new outlets or listen to Soundcloud recommendations,” says JSimmone. “I consider myself a music lover, I love music as an art form and can take pleasure in the beauty of all genres. I think it’s going to take some time for artists to adjust because the removal of UMG music from TikTok was a major change. So, while streams are going down or only making the artists cents per stream, the physical media and tours are the real income sources. I have already started to see that shift where everybody and their momma are coming out to do a tour, even people who have been away for 10+ years. And when you think about what COVID did to the tours/in-person performances, it makes sense that now they are happening like crazy.”

Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio just released the results of their latest annual Gender study for the industry, and sadly, the decrease in the percentage of Female programmers/content managers in the industry continues to shrink. JSimmone’s advice to young women looking to break the glass ceiling: “While I may not be an aspiring programmer/content manager, I have often felt discrimination in my pursuit to become a media professional. What continues to get me through is that I love what I do, and I know no one can tell me anything different.”

“I am the only one of me, so I am the only one who can think what I think, create what I create, etc. So, I think finding that inner confidence/self-love is important because when someone tries to tell you something different… you already know the truth. I also live by my school’s motto “Find a way or make one,” and baby if they don’t give us a seat at the table we will bring a folding chair and we will be there!”

“Prioritizing time for my mental health and what brings me joy is a big part of finding balance for myself while I am balancing all of my responsibilities,” says JSimmone. “There will always be ups and downs, and finding the things (family, friends, me time, etc.) that build up in those times of need and making them priorities in my life helps keep a good balance.”

“It also helps that I’m a sucker for reality tv, so I just finished Love is Blind and The Trust. I also really enjoy sci-fi/fantasy so Gen V, The Power, GOT/House of The Dragon which I am eagerly awaiting season 2’s arrival! This helps with the brief escapism necessary to stay sane in this business.” 

“As for what’s next for me, breaking glass ceilings and making a place for my voice to be heard and talents to shine in order to effectively storytell and communicate the underrepresented perspectives in the media/entertainment industry,” says JSimmone. “I am ready to find that space or make it, and truly turn my dreams into reality this year!”

Follow JSimmone on Instagram and YouTube.

Charese Fruge’ is an award-winning Content, Broadcast, and Marketing executive with over 20 years of experience in markets like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, San Diego, and Las Vegas. As the owner of MC Media, she works with radio brands and individual talents, especially young women, helping them grow their brands and negotiate on their own behalf. Find her at @MCMediaOnline. See more Women to Watch here.


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