10 Questions with ... Ms. Michel Wright
August 5, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Board-op overnights '88 WPGC, then late-nights, then morning board-op sidekick. Brief (2 years) Mornings WBLS-NY '93/94. Back to DC at Z-104 & Mix 107.3 at same time using different names. Then Jay Stevens hired me to return to WPGC as midday host 1998 - 2010.
1) Congratulations on your new position. How did it all come about?
Jay Stevens had been trying to get me here with him for couple of years ...LOL. I've been doing my thing at SiriusXM part-time since 2006 and got hired by WHUR for one weekend show. I tried for its afternoon spot but didn't get it. Jay Stevens called me when he had an open full-time opportunity. He got together with PD Dion Burkett and the next thing I knew, it was a done deal. I was so glad Dion thought it was a good idea for me to come aboard too!
2) Your first show at your new radio home was full of surprises. Tell us about some of them.
Oh, man ... Tom Joyner, Roland Martin, DC Mayor for Life Marion Barry, Donnie Simpson, Rock Newman, Kindred The Family Soul, Maysa, Avery Sunshinem Lamann Rucker, Alison Seymour and Tony Perkins of Fox 5, Darrin Henson and Huggy Lowdown wrapped my first week by naming me "Bamma of the Week" just for taking three years to get back on the radio full-time.
3) What do you think is unique when it comes to the DMV (D.C.-Maryland-Virginia) area and its listeners?
I think we take things with our own very personally. We also want to feel you and see you walk your talk. One of the reasons both Chuck Brown and Marion Barry are so loved here is because they took things very personal -- if someone needed or it seemed that they were done wrong, D.C. would have a conversation with you about that. They stand up for the people they grew up with and that show up to show their support of their people. There is a certain type of pride that DC folk feel about other DC folk who get "put on."
4) How did you get your start in radio?
My first real radio gig I say was actually at WPGC. I used to call the request lines to talk to then Music Director Albie Dee and then Program Director Mike Beach. I talked my way in the door as a board-op overnights. Still went to my day job at the time writing for a small newspaper in Columbia, MD.
5) What has surprised you the most since it was announced you would be joining the Radio One team in D.C.?
That D.C. was really pulling for me in a huge way to re-emerge. Also that those in the industry whom I admire and look up to also have such high regard and respect for me and my talents.
6) You told us how you started, what's your advice for air personalities just starting out in the business?
Always be professional. Pay attention. Be respectful. Put in the work. Strive for excellence every show because the listener deserves your best. Know your worth. Save some of your money. Live your moments and enjoy them.
7) You've done some incredible voice work, would you tell us about some of the places and products you have lent your vocal talents to?
Wow! Fortunate to have been the voice of original Showtime television show called The Red Shoe Diaries which was kind of edgy and groundbreaking in the mid-'90s. I've been a voice of BET and have been the live announcer for the annual Essence Evening of Excellence during Caucus Week. I have also done national campaigns for Colgate, Mercedes etc. Most have been referrals.
8) Could you tell us those who have influenced your career?
Donnie Simpson ... his class and what I call the "quiet cool." He has been a friend/mentor my entire career.
Jay Stevens actually taught me radio. I was almost driven crazy by him my entire career. He would scream at me for not signing a log. I thought he hated me ... LOL. After some personal development course work and after becoming a certified John Mawell Mastermind, I figured out it was just his constant pursuit of excellence and attention to details. He instilled that in me; I pay such attention to detail and strive for excellence every show wherever I am.
9) What's your favorite radio memory?
Now, it is my first amazing week with the Radio One family. They treated me like I was Oprah.
10) What are your top 5 favorite songs of all time?
- Neptunes -- "Hot Damn, It's a New Day" -- this song pumps me up for my day. Nasty groove and the feeling I get when I wake up -- "It's a new day!"
- Marvin Gaye -- "Come Get To This" -- most classic, coolest jam for one of DC's favorite sons.
- Nas -- "One Mic" -- crazy build up/haunting groove. And it's how I feel about what I do; all I need is one mic!
- Earth Wind & Fire -- "Love's Holiday" -- I'm a Maurice White fan. This song is the best interpretation of a man's surrender. It's noble and tender and still strong and loving ... And oh Maurice.
- Marvin Sapp -- "Not the Time Not the Place," This one here is my story. As a woman who has been around some 20 years, I was feeling forgotten and like I no longer matter to my industry. I have strong faith and just kept going. Keep being excellent. This is my "encourage me" song.
What are some of the big plans for your show that you can talk about?
We can't reveal our strategies but we do plan to become #1 in Washington, DC
Looking back over your career ... any regrets? Missed opportunities?
Nah, my hurtful moments and bad decisions all grew me.
What would people who think they know you, be surprised to learn about you?
That I write all the time. I write scripts. Got one is perfect for Shawn & Marlon Wayans about exchanging body parts. It would be hilarious -- it's "Wayans-funny."