10 Questions with ... Cortney Hicks
June 9, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Twenty-plus year radio vet with some TV experience. Worked in Detroit, Chicago, D.C. and Mobile, AL. Previous APD/MD positions held. First and only female thus far to headline a morning show in the Chicago market ('04-'06). Special TV projects with Dr. Oz Show, NBC15, Discovery Network, local DC news affiliates.
1) Congratulations on your new gig, could you tell us how it came about?
Although it is few and far between, loyalty does exist in this business. With that being said, Jamillah Muhammad reached out yet again and asked if I would be the "Robin" to her "Batman" as she is the new OM for WPEG and WBAV. I believe I made a solid decision. Looking forward to life in Charlotte!
2) How did you get into radio?
Many thanks to the Dubose family in Lansing, MI as WQHH is where I began my radio career while attending Michigan State University. I was Cortney Hicks' "Lansing's Homegirl" (94-95). After about a year and little help from then record rep PJ, both Elroy Smith and Monica Starr reached out. WGCI was part-time. WEJM was a midday gig. I started in March 1995 on 106 JAMZ as "The Babygirl." Nicknamed by the late Pinkhouse, folks from Chicago still to this day refer to me as such. I always say that I was born and raised in Detroit but I became a woman in Chicago!
3) What are the keys to doing PM drive?
Good energy, good music, thoughtful giveaways, useful information, entertaining features and listener calls.
4) Who were your mentors in this business?
AJ Parker, Pinkhouse, Bonnie Deshong, Shirley Hayes, Shannon Dell, Frankie Darcel, Janet G, Lynn Briggs, John Mason, Mildred Gaddis, Monica Starr, Maxx Myrick, James Alexander, Elroy Smith, Barry Mayo.
5) I know there is a list, but who are some of the people who have influenced and mentored your career?
Along with the above mentioned, additional influences included, but not limited to, the Electrifying MoJo, Larry "Doc" Elliot, Chris McClendon, Doug Banks, Irene Mojic, Tom Joyner, Bo Griffin, Delilah, Martha Jean "The Queen," Donnie Simpson, Rosetta Hines "The Rose."
6) Who were some of the people you grew up listening to? What did you learn from some of the people you listened to?
From the above mentioned, I learned about on-air presence, delivery and the true pageantry of what is was/is to be an on-air jock.
7) What formats have you worked?
8) What advice do you have for those just starting out in broadcasting?
Run. LOL. Network, seek out internships, follow-up, be willing to work for free sometimes. The key is to gain experience, be useful and stay away from mess and drama.
9) What is the funniest thing that ever happened to you in this business? Did you learn anything from it?
While on WEJM, I mistakenly loaded and hit the wrong cart for a money game giving away $1,000 instead of the scheduled $100. What I learned ... pay attention!
10) How do you view the past and the future for radio?
The past: nostalgic in nature and never to return in regards to the overall impact of black radio in the community, the networking conferences like "Jack the Rapper" and Jerry Boulding, the music (in particular how radio played and intricate part in the evolution on rap music and hip-hop culture) and the big on-air and programming personalities of yesteryear. The future: A mere reflection of what was while still trying to figure out what it could be especially as listening habits continue to change, ratings systems appear to be subjective and the evolution of technology remains constant. In other words, black radio's past warms me, its future worries me.
What new challenges are you looking forward to?
Brushing up on Selector skills, weaving my way through the fabric of Charlotte, finding significant, unique ways for my listeners to fall in love with me every day from 3-7p.
What do you do to relax when you are not working?
Sleep, find an ocean, sing with the band, light up an occasional cigar, watch a good NFL matchup or an interesting documentary/movie/TV show, read a good book, call my Mommy.
Would you give us some of the most important lessons you have learned along your career path?
How about some of the best advice given along my career path as it was the same advice I gave Jay Hicks (my second to the youngest brother who is the PD for Hot 107.5 in Detroit) which was the same advice Pinkhouse gave me on my first day on-air in Chicago. Anticipate. The only way you survive this business is to operate on a "need to know basis" (Monica Starks) meaning you pretty much need to know a little bit about pretty much everything. Why wait for someone to tell, instruct, direct or force you? Figure it out and use it to anticipate any and every move you make. Hell, that lesson/advice has keep me in the game for over 20 years as I've only been fired twice by some dude named New Direction; that ain't bad at all! #Warrior