10 Questions with ... Keisha Nicole
March 3, 2015
1) Your career is moving forward nicely, you make it a point to give back, how?
I've always felt like what I do on the air is just as important as what I do off of the air. To listeners, on-air personalities must be personable, consistent and caring. One question I constantly ask myself is, "What are you doing with your platform and how can I use it in an impactful way?" I'm proud to say that during my time at WGZB, I've established numerous community initiatives that positively contributed to the inner city youth and other young adults.
For example the "Back To School Makeover" that caters to kids who have been physically, emotionally and cyber-bullied. I was the kid who got talked about for being fat or not the most attractive growing up. I know what these kids are going through. I feel compelled to make sure I'm reaching back and giving them an outlet. I've also utilized my social media reach by creating the "My Purple Promise Campaign," which advocates the eradication of domestic violence. In this campaign, a number of my followers made promises to be positive influences in a community ridden with negativity. These two campaigns in particular were a couple of the most successful and fulfilling things I've done.
I know what it's like to not have. I've been there. Broke, lost everything, talked about, no direction and the list goes on. I feel it's my responsibility to reach back and I know I'm held accountable to do so being in the position I'm in. I also held a "Cover The World With Love" blanket drive where I had high school students collect the blankets and distribute them to homeless shelters so they know what it means to give back. Each One, Teach One.
2) What was that something you did as soon as you hit the Louisville airwaves; can you paint the picture of how you got this done?
When I broadcast, I embody the voice of the city. I enter a market, quickly assess the demographic, adapt to the listeners, and embrace the community. That's exactly what I did in Louisville. One thing that's important to me is the youth. I cultivated relationships with schools through the students. Once I started to frequent one school, the other schools reached out. Another thing I did when I went to the Louisville market was pick between the two rival college teams, Kentucky or Louisville. I naturally fell in love with Louisville and became a big fan. I adapted to their culture. I started getting involved with the University. I hit the streets as soon as I touched down. As always, it's not just what you do on the air, but what you do off the air is just as important. People want to know that you're personable and that's one of my biggest strengths.
3) How did you use your college radio experience to break into commercial radio?
While on air at Long Beach City College I started to build relationships with artists who were on the com-up. At the time, Kendrick Lamar (at the time K Dot), J Rock, Mila J and a few other artists were just getting started with their careers. I had them all on my show back in 07 when they weren't who they are now. Also, my professor scheduled a field trip to KDAY in Los Angeles. I put my resume in my back pocket and handed it to the promotions director April during the field trip. I was at work the next day and I got a call from April, who asked me to come in for interview for an internship. My internship turned into a receptionist and many other hats, such as a weekend personality from 6-10p on Saturday. I've worked in every single department in radio except for IT. I'll never forget my PD Adrian Scott was leaving and saw me working after-hours in the lobby. He said, "You're here the first, leave the latest and probably get paid the least." That changed my life. I knew right then and there it was time to focus on what I love most and that's being a personality. I don't think he knows that either.
4) What are your goals every day on the air?
My goal is to connect with the listeners on a personal level. Offering an escape from their everyday worries. Bring the lifestyle to the listeners. Knowing that I have the ability to put a smile on someone else's face. While working in Louisville, I used to have a young girl who would call me everyday after school. She was playing the "mom" of the family, taking care of her younger siblings. She would confide in me about being bullied and would often just call to feel as if she had a friend. That right that gave me purpose. I realized it was bigger than just getting on-air entertaining.
5) I know there is a list, but who are some of the people that have influenced and mentored your career?
I learned something from everyone I worked under or with. Adrian Scott (PD at KDAY) made me change my name from "KQuick" to Keisha Nicole and I'm forever grateful. The first time I cracked the mic at KDAY, he ran in the studio and made me change my name. He was the first PD I actually worked under as a personality.
Harry Lyles has been very instrumental in my career. I always say he's the person who discovered me. I was working at the front desk at KDAY and he stopped and said, "You have a great voice, would you like to be on air?" It didn't stop there. He constantly pushed me to be a better personality and not a "jock." I learned most of what I know from Harry Lyles. He's opened doors for me in this industry.
Darnella Dunham who worked down the hall from me while at KDAY .It's always great to have people in your corner who believe in the vision and understand your vision. We would always see one another in the hallways and those little talks got me through my day and challenged me. She has no idea how much she impacted me while being a receptionist.
My PD in Louisville, Phillip David, and Promotions Manager Valerie Sickles helped me improve my leadership skills. Phillip David allowed me to be myself while fine-tuning my skills on the air. He gave me structure. In the past year, Bill Black has been instrumental in helping me get to the next level with my talent. He's been a great mentor. I could go on but I don't think we have that much time.
6) What are your career aspirations in radio and aspirations in general?
As far as radio, I would love to do a morning drive show for my demo. I'm a sports lover. I would love to move into sports as well. I played basketball growing up and sports have always being my first love. Sports TV broadcast is an aspiration of mine as well as entertainment television. I also have desire for the youth so I want to eventually open a center for young women.
7) One of your favorite things to do is workout, is there a direct correlation with that and being an air personality?
When I'm going hard in the gym and eating right, it gives me so much discipline. The discipline spills over in other aspects of my life. I love a challenge. I work better under pressure and while being challenged. I'll set a specific goal weight or body type and attack it. It's the same way with work. It's amazing to see not only my body transform at times, but my work ethic sharpens at the same time. Wanting a certain body type and attacking goes hand in hand with my career. I used to be the fat girl. I never want go back to that. I use to be in an intern. I never want to go back to that.
8) What do you tell others who want to get into this business?
First, save your money. I'll never forget K Sly telling me that when I inquired about getting into radio, "It's not going to happen overnight." Long gone are the days where you're just a personality. Get in and learn EVERYTHING. Also, it's about the listeners and not you. Never compromise who you are for a dollar or a laugh. The listener knows when you're being authentic and when you're not. Stick to your brand and don't flip-flop. Also, social media is imperative. That's another job in itself. Social media is your resume. Make sure what you post is a reflection of your brand. Most importantly, have fun. That's what it's about. Smile. People want to know you're having fun.
9) What is your definition of success?
Success has little to do with money. It's helpful but I know way too many people with money who are depressed. People often measure their success by money because it's easy to measure. Having a clear balance between spirituality, family, love, charity, health and wealth is what success means to me. The process of achieving a goal is much more fulfilling than getting it right now. If I get it now, then what will I look forward to? Now what? I've always been taught not glorify things. You can lose things, power and money. Enjoy and trust the process. Live fully. Refuse to give up. Success is what you make it.
10) What are some of the things you would like to see radio do more of?
More creative programming. There's a lack of localism in some markets, so radio needs to get back to being "The people's station" -- and not a station you can sit any market. It should serve the market it's in.