10 Questions with ... Julee Jonez
December 2, 2014
1) When and how do prep for your show?
I am always in prep mode. Whether if it's a personal issue, a conversation I hear (or overhear while I'm ear hustling). I simply take notes. I can be reading a magazine and if something pops out at me - bam! It's a part of my show. From the GOP to ratchet reality TV - I get it all.
2) It sounds like you gather a lot of information, yet you understand the concept of being concise in your presentation. Can you explain your approach?
It's simple -- planning. I never wing it. I stay precise by staying on track. I have one specific benchmark per hour. Each one has a different purpose. For example, my benchmark during the lunch hour is "3 Hot Things." The name speaks for itself: thee things that are hot for my listeners to know. In it I make sure I give one piece of information that is community related. The second piece is usually connected to health/wellness. This can be a health prevention observance - like Domestic Violence Awareness, it may be sex fact - but something interesting that could impact your well-being or maybe just make you laugh. Today I did a bit on why you should keep your socks on during ... well, you know ... while performing "marital duties." Then the last tidbit is always a "teaser." It's a topic of interest where I give just a quick fact but pull you into our other media outlet - kprs.com. There you can read my blog of the day. I talk about relationship issues, dealing with co-workers who are touched; just something that is relatable that can help someone.
3) Do you think in multiples when it comes to promoting what you say on the air?
Yes. People remember things in threes. That's why my benchmarks are three pieces - but each having very few sentences. I actually write out benchmarks to keep me on track. I don't read them verbatim but if I see something is four sentences versus a maximum of three, I know it's got to go!
4) What are your goals for the future?
Ideally, I would love to do a syndicated show. I'd even take a stab at talk media if given the opportunity. Currently, I am training in more aspects of programming with my OM Myron Fears. I have been learning more intensely about RCS and scheduling music as well as other programming duties this past year. Being a PD is definitely something I can see myself doing
5) How do you balance being a parent and working at a mainstream Urban station?
Whew! A lot of prayer and open dialogue! My working here gives me the opportunity to share things with him that I experience. I know he and his friends listen to the music, watch the videos, check out today's television shows; it is what it is. So instead of sheltering him, I use it as the opportunity to talk about life and many obstacles he'll face and how to make positive choices. And of course, we like some of the same songs! We both rap the radio edit of "Lifestyle" even though we have no idea what ol' boy saying. But it's catchy!
6) You interned for a long time, before you hit the airwaves, what did you learn?
I learned this field is where I wanted to be! As I interned I worked at Chrysler Financial Services at the same time. The corporate grind was good financially -- and I needed insurance! When I graduated I took a job at a sports company but it wasn't what I thought. I was a glorified secretary. Nothing wrong with that, but that wasn't what I signed up for! When my boss asked me to do his wife's resume and that chic was at home doing nothing. I chucked up the deuces! When I called KPRS to get a reference, I was so happy that turned into an invite back. I came back to KPRS/KPRT part-time and worked full-time again at Chrysler as a team member. At times, I'd get off at 11p and go work overnight at KPRT or KPRS. Did it for years! But eventually, it paid off.
7) KPRS is about to celebrate 65 years, Black-owned and operated, could it explain what that means to you?
It makes me proud to be a part of something that is a rarity. I am so glad Michael Carter has chosen to keep his business a family business that even cares about his employees families. We are very close to one another as a staff but to have a boss - the president of your company - still be connected to you and your well-being is a blessing.
8) What advice do you have for those just starting out in broadcasting?
Be okay with starting at the bottom. The sense of entitlement I have seen with some students coming in disturbs me. Nothing happens overnight. And then some of my younger ladies need to realize you need more than your pretty face to make it. I mentor young women so I am very passionate about their self-presentation. I had one girl sit with me who thought her "cuteness" was all she needed. But for every cute girl, there's one who is cuter ... and cute ain't forever! At the end of the day, being smart and strategic wins in the long run.
9) How do you see the future for Urban Radio?
I see it as a community commodity. Though there are many streams of media nowadays, Urban radio has a special connection to the people it serves. Recently we faced tragedy with the murders of two young girls - both sides of the state line. Since both were in the Urban core, we know it was our duty to help seek justice for their murders. We had a 19-hour radiothon for one with Ad Hoc Group Against Crime. This week, the family can have closure because the shooters were caught. We were honored to be there for the family and help authorities get tips they needed. To survive and thrive, Urban radio must serve the community in various capacities.
10) What do you like about radio?
I get paid to do what I used to get in trouble for in school -- talk!
How involved are you with community events? What annual events do you take part in?
My primary focus for community service is for women's empowerment and youth engagement. I usually do a prom outreach of sorts every year and for the past few years have been doing more speaking at conferences that focus on edifying women or that are youth-related.
Are there some things about you that people would be surprised to know?
I am a Sunday school teacher. (I know.) But I bring the crunk to the class! The good thing is the kids and I relate on what's going on. Who says you can't get a lesson from "Love & Hip Hop" and connect it to the Bible? Another thing that may surprise people is I'm also somewhat of a homebody.
Can you the people who have mentored and influenced your career?
That guy I interned for. Sam somebody ... oh yeah, Sam Weaver. Myron Fears has always been my ace. He told me I had that radio thang the day he met me. I have had others in media who I consider "mentors in my head" though. Sidebar: Does that make me sound crazy?