10 Questions with ... Felicia "The Poetess" Morris
March 17, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I started my career in entertainment in 1989 as a co-host on Lee Bailey's radio syndicated "Hip-Hop Countdown and Report." A few years after that, I released an album titled "Simply Poetry" on Interscope Records. In 1994 I landed a job at 92.3 The Beat in Los Angeles as an on-air personality and Community Affairs Director. After resigning from the station in 2007, I went on to produce digital content for Sprint mobile and soon after become a producer and co-host of Jamie Foxx's "The Foxxhole" on SiriusXM. After a two-year stint with "The Foxxhole," I became part of a popular Internet radio show called "Reach Around Radio." In 2012, my father and I built and managed Roscoe's Media Center and I launched their Internet radio network, RMConair.com. I now am the owner of Morris Media Studios -- a content production house where clients can produce audio and video for Internet, radio and TV.
1) Could you share your personal evolution in radio and music?
I think I've always been able to transition and flow with the changes in radio. I started out doing syndicated radio, terrestrial radio, then satellite radio and now Internet radio and am looking forward to whatever's next.
2) Describe your days as an air personality.
Those were some of the best years of my life, although at the time I didn't fully realize it. I never liked the politics in radio but I did love connecting with my audience and the community. I also enjoyed the flexibility the PDs would give me -- especially Robert Scorpio. I was one of the few jocks who had a little leeway to play what I wanted on my radio show.
3) What was it like working with Jamie Foxx?
Jamie and I go back to 1989 during the early part of our careers. We've always been good friends. In 2008, he invited me to be a part of his Foxxhole radio show on SiriusXM and it was the best job ever! I loved the freedom of being on "The Foxxhole." It was the first time I had experienced being on an uncensored radio show. There were lots of laughs being on the air and traveling around the country with a bunch of funny comedians. I think Jamie felt free to be himself on the show because we'd witness him in rare form.
4) Would you explain how you came to be so involved with digital media and what you are up to these days?
I became involved with digital media around 2005. Industry vet Alex Mejia and I began producing video content for Sprint Mobile. I later became involved with Internet radio when my former co-host Speedy invited me to be a co-host on Reach Around Radio. In 2012, Herb Hudson, owner of Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles, hired my dad Johnny Morris and me to build an Internet radio station. After that ended on a bitter note, I decided to work for myself. I'm currently in the process of building Morris Media Studios, a digital media center located in the Leimert Park area of Los Angeles. Clients will be able to produce audio and video content for Internet, radio and TV as well as stream and broadcast live. Our facility will be equipped with state-of-the-art digital equipment, a green screen room and a visual radio studio for professionals and aspirants to create their dreams. Within that space we will also be launching Radiofreqz.com, a urban lifestyle entertainment network.
5) I know there is a list, but who are some of the people who have influenced and mentored your career?
My dad, Johnny Morris, was the one who inspired me to be in entertainment. He's been in the business about 50 years. As a young girl, I would watch him on the air and he would let me tag along with him to events and that inspired me. Lee Bailey and Lygia Lott were my early mentors in the business. Lee gave me my first break in radio and I've always admired his work ethic. Lygia taught me the ropes when I interned for her at RCA/Jive. Ms. Cathy Hughes is another one who I admire and have been inspired by. It was a pleasure working with Ms. Hughes.
6) What is your advice for newbies and veterans when it comes to career moves in the current world of broadcasting?
Stay up on the new technology and trends. Internet radio is a steadily growing avenue for professional media people and newcomers to create their own programming and monetize it. We sometimes tend to get caught up in the old days of radio ... get over it. It's a new day.
7) Would you share some of the valuable lessons you have learned in your career?
I've learned not to take things personally. Be humble. And things really do happen for a reason.
8) What are your goals?
For my company, Morris Media Studios/Radiofreqz.com, to be the go-to source to create, produce and deliver content that entertains, informs, inspires and makes lots of money!
9) How do you see the future for Radio and the music industry?
I see a steady climb of people going online for their content. I'm hoping we will continue to have the freedom to express our talents on the Internet without major regulations. I see Internet radio being a standard in automobiles. It'll be interesting to see how terrestrial radio plans to keep up in this big universe of variety and less commercials (in some cases). I do see the future as being filled with opportunities. We just have to know how to make those opportunities work for us.
10) What profession would you have chosen had you not gone into radio?
I probably would have been working at some tech company in Silicon Valley or teaching.
What new challenges are you looking forward to?
Building a new Internet radio network and finding creative ways to compete and make an impact.
Would you share with us the hardest lesson you had to learn when first starting out in this business?
Sadly, in this business you're as good as the job you presently hold. A lot of times we are evaluated by what positions we have in the business. If you're not working or in a position to help others, you can look forward to some unreturned messages.
Is there anything about you that others would be surprised to learn?
Well, I did hear I was conceived on the rooftop of a radio station! LOL! Follow me on twitter @ogpoetess @morrismedia and on Instagram and FB under OGPoetess