10 Questions with ... Bijou Star
January 6, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Started in radio right out of college in my hometown Cleveland on Z107.9FM and was there for five years. While there, I also executive produced and hosted a local lifestyle and entertainment news TV show. Now I am the midday host on HOT 107.5 in Detroit.
1) Could you tell us about some of the funnier moments during your career?
'm a self-proclaimed closet comedian, which means I'm always making jokes and goofing around. There are so many moments it's hard to remember, but the most recent stunt I pulled was dressing as Sheneneh Jenkins for Halloween and I even acted like her on-air during some of my show. It was hilarious and I won the best costume in station contest.
2) You are a huge Scandal fan, how do you relate the TV show with radio?
LOL ... politics. There's a lot of politics and also smoke and mirrors. In radio there are a lot of things going on behind the scenes that people don't know about, but our job is to create images and stories in people's minds even though that may not be what is really happening. It's an art to it, just like there is an art to every cover-up Olivia Pope creates on Scandal.
3) How did you become a jock?
It's kind of a funny story. So honestly I never thought I would get into radio. I was in my senior year at Howard University finishing my Broadcast Journalism degree. I was interning at WUSA 9 News in Washington D.C. with J.C. Hayward and I just knew I was going to jump right on the TV screen (young and naïve). But knew that I needed to let my personality shine and hard news probably wasn't going to get it and I wanted to focus more on entertainment news. So while I was on spring break in Cleveland, I met the then-GM of Radio One/Cleveland at a networking breakfast that I didn't want to go to because it was too early in the morning. Long story short, after stalking the GM for a bit, he linked me with Kim Johnson who was the PD at the time; she asked me for an aircheck. I lied, said I had one and she told me send it in 24 hours (I don't even think she knows I lied, LOL.) Anyway I said a prayer, found my former radio professor's number and called him. Thank God for Professor Miles! He took me to a studio that night and we made my aircheck and I had a job before I even graduated that May.
4) What kinds of things make for a good personality?
I am exactly who I am on-air in real life. It's not an act. I'm really just that silly, fun, happy, newsy, etc. That makes all the difference, by literally just having a good personality. Now, of course, a good personality has to be well-informed, relatable and understand the art of a good tease and learn how to tell a 20-page story in 60 seconds or less, but the core value of a personality who can create a loyal fan base is someone who the people can tell is genuine and real.
5) I know there is a list, but who are some of the people who have influenced and mentored your career?
Of course my idol, Oprah Winfrey (I call her Auntie Oppie, in my mind :). JC Hayward was a great mentor while I was interning with her in Washington, D.C. Colby Colb has been an awesome mentor. Terri Thomas has taught me so much. I just observe the greats. Wendy Williams is awesome at what she does. I watch people like Ryan Seacrest and learn from how he has expanded his brand past radio while still doing radio. Even if they aren't my mentors in person, I watch and observe those that have come before m
6) What do you like about being in radio?
It allows me to be creative, have fun and push the envelope. I can speak my true opinion and get immediate feedback from my listeners. I'm able to be myself and really engage with the people that I'm talking to.
7) Since you were once an intern, what kinds of advice do you offer interns when you see they have a real interest?
The #1 thing I tell them; do not wait for an opportunity to come to you, make your own opportunity. We're in the age of technology where there are no excuses, you can always be working. You don't have to wait for a company or radio station to give you a job, you can make your own job by starting your own career, whether it be on YouTube, your own blog, your own podcast, the options are endless as to how you can be fully engaged and working in media. You can do it yourself and create your own platform. You have to be a star already; it's not like back in the day when the radio made stars. They don't do that any mor; it's about what YOU can bring to the table. Build your brand; that's the main thing. Build a brand so that no matter what happens to you as far as your 9-5, you're able to fall onto your own two feet, because nothing in this industry is guaranteed.
8) Can you share your thoughts on the best ways to interact with listeners at community type events?
The best way to interact is to literally interact. You're not a statue; people aren't coming to stand and watch you stare at them. Talk to people. Don't be afraid of the people who are giving you your ratings. You may not consider yourself a star or a celebrity, but you never know what you mean to someone else. So you need to be grateful and gracious and open to meeting new people.
9) How do you prepare for your show every day?
I pretty much do the same thing everyday. I get my bowl of oatmeal with blueberries and I immediately get on the web and scour my top-10 news and gossip websites and I try to get everything that's going on up to the minute. I just make it my business to get all of the news.
10) What future lies ahead for radio and all things communications?
As far as all things communications, everything is on the Internet. For instance with radio, we are going from an audio medium to also a visual medium. So it's all going to be even more so integrated with those aspects than it is now and even more interactive.
How do you see your future in this business?
I want to keep expanding my brand. I'm going to keep continuing to cultivate my presence online and in other forms of interactive media. Also, one day I hope to get back into television, which is also my passion.
Could you describe the worse day you ever had in radio? I mean when everything went wrong beginning with how your day started.
I don't have bad days. If it's a bad day, it's because I didn't prepare myself enough or something that is out of my control, but it just makes it a little more difficult not a bad day. I don't even claim those. Every day is a good day because God woke me up and if I see the end of that day, it's a good day.
What are some of the most important lessons you have learned along your career path?
Don't burn bridges, build great relationships. Don't get mixed up in station drama, don't even allow drama to come near you and BE FRIENDLY! Be a good person and smile A LOT. Don't bring your drama from home to work, and don't expect your PD to tell you everything to do; be a self-starter. If you want to get a certain interview, you go after that interview, if you want to start a blog, start that blog, build your brand. Make yourself a star! And don't be scared! Keep asking for what you want because you're going to get more NOs than YESes. Just go for it because that one YES may be exactly what you need to get to the next level.