I met this Radio Chick on an airport shuttle bus headed to the Baggage Claim junket in LA. Very polite, nice smile and reserved. She and I talked briefly about the film, LA being our first trip (for me anyway..can’t remember if it was her first time), where we worked and stuff like that.
Our rooms weren’t ready for check in so we sat in the media suite at the Four Seasons (yaaassss honey) and sipped on tea and took advantage of the grand buffet that was presented to us.
During that 24 hours in LA, Nicole Collins and I grew fond of one another and built a sisterhood. She and I discussed the seriousness of being a woman in the radio industry and what we could do to play a part in making the network more comfortable and beneficial for those who choose to be in this industry. She is one of the five powerful women that started the Radio Chicks Rock crusade as explained in previous posts.
Nicole is not just a radio personality in New Orleans (Q93), she’s a community leader, a host for an NBA basketball team, a trend setter, actress, and mother! She’s a pretty dope radio chick and I’m glad she was able to slide over some time to grant me this interview.
If you’re ever in New Orleans, make sure you look her up!
(Nicole “Niki” Collins, Weekends, Q93, New Orleans)
How long have you been in the radio business?
How long were you in the NBA Hosting business?
What is more enjoyable/different?
They are both enjoyable because they allow me to meet and interact with people. I do like on camera work better because that’s more of my dream career. You have to be more on point for live filming, however, can’t have that messed up look shown on the screen.
Is the transition from television to radio a challenging one?
It’s not as easy as hoping off the radio and going into television. It’s definitely a different skill that has to be nurtured. I don’t want to do news broadcasting so I chose to get my on camera experience through on camera interviewing for the radio station and through the New Orleans Pelicans. It’s about networking and perfecting your craft. Also about being ready, always have to be ready because opportunity can present itself anytime anywhere. I’m also an actress (12 Years A Slave, HBO’s Treme) and breaking into that alone is difficult but I’m managing well with it. I’m not where I completely want to be just yet, but the journey so far has been/ is amazing and I’ve learned a lot through the challenges and obstacles.
What was it about radio that struck your interest?
How it made me feel. I love music. Growing up I would listen to the radio station all of the time to hear new music and to listen to what the personalities had to say that day. I also like to call in an hear myself talk (even tho I didn’t like hearing my voice when I came on, weird right?)
And now that I’m on the radio I love how it makes others feel. I love the excitement. I love going into the streets and meeting people and seeing how the station is such an integral part in their lives. It’s very rewarding
What genre of music do you like to listen to the most and why?
Beyoncé (she’s her own genre and I love her!)
I also love R&B slow jams from the 90s-early 2000s. That’s my music for anything. Even before performance or hosting events. I sing along with them and feel great.
N.O. Bounce music gets me going. It will always lift me up. If a Bounce song comes on, I’m automatically moving and shaking.
What is your LET IT GO song? (one that you would absolutely lose your mind listening to)
Beyoncé’s Resentment always gets me in an emotional way
You’ve interviewed a lot of celebrities, was there ever a time you had an uncomfortable celebrity interview/encounter where it went terribly wrong? Describe.
I like Pharrell and he is a cool dude but about 3 years ago he had an artist he was promoting and they both came to the station for an interview. I wasn’t told to refrain from asking Pharrell anything but I also knew the interview was to focus on the artist. We have three seats in the studios that are in front of mics and he sat in the third chair. I talked to the girl for a while then I asked Pharell “What was it about this artist that drew you to her” and in his reply he finished with “but this ain’t about me let’s focus on her”…. Um, the question was about her. You are vouching for her. You sat in the chair of front of a mic. We have other seating in the studio not by any audio equipment. It also was indeed about you to because you are in the building. I felt kind of like he was saying I didn’t know how to handle my interview. But I understood instead of taking the “I’m being attacked” route and so I politely said “of course it’s about her but your fans want to know why her, in their efforts to support her. So you know…this is for her”. “Happy” was released about a year to a year and a half later so I definitely should have asked him more about him and what he was working on, lol.
Who was the best celebrity encounter and why?
Hmmmm…my first interview/encounter was with Mary J Blige. I was still fresh but had an awesome interview and she opened up to me. We did a little tag team on her husband as well (ok totally just meant on air we kind of ganged up on him because he was getting a lil sporty, for those whose mind went completely left). But it was a very empowering moment for me because I felt accomplished in radio at that point. Plus she was real cool
The actor Tim Robbins (Shawshank Redemption and Nothing to Lose) directed me in an episode of HBO’s Treme and I was really excited (but contained). He was cool as all get out and gave great advice and direction.
I also enjoyed my encounter with Chiwetel Ejiofor, the lead in 12 Years a Slave and I had a scene with him and Benedict Cumberbatch in the movie. I will never forget either one of them and their support and advice.
What’s the biggest misconception about you?
I wouldn’t even know to be honest. I think more broadly there’s a misconception that once you become a mother life has to go a certain more conservative way. There’s a misconception that one needs to give up on certain dreams and focus on something that’s “stable” time and money wise for a family. And that’s just not true for me.
I’ve been able to continue being an actor and my other endeavors. I’m still able to be me. Grant it, I have an amazing support system. I can’t imagine life without my daughter.
Who do you most admire in the radio industry and why?
I really admire my mentor Uptown Angela. She coached me. She allowed me to come in and learn. I’ve seen her struggles, obstacles and the triumph over them all. She’s a class act and she’s exceeded radio expectations. The respect she’s given in a true testimony to her character as well. I always feel so fortunate that I came in under her because her on air presence is so personable yet so crisp and its helped me in my emceeing on camera as well
What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?
“Always be yourself” “don’t compare yourself to the next man” “Go after your dream, live your life, be who you are to be” “always pay it forward” “don’t be afraid to say no” “make sure there’s passion in what you’re doing” “don’t give up, when you have given up that is when you have failed”
Not one piece of advice but a few pieces that have helped me in different situations. It’s a tough industry to navigate sometimes (especially the acting). In the words of my acting mentor Deneen Tyler, “some seasons you’re hot and some you’re not”. Working on bettering myself and giving back when necessary are some daily goals I strive to live by no matter what is going on career wise and the understanding that what’s for me is for me keeps me going, focused on MY prize and grounded.
What’s the biggest misconception about women in radio?
I heard a long time ago that most women in radio were trying to get hooked up with one of these celebrities- I mean if so that’s their business and all power to them however I don’t think that’s a goal of women in radio.
I also think there’s a misconception that we are all at odds with one another and all competing for one, woman allowed spot at the top of the radio ladder (crazy right?)
Where do you see urban radio in the next 10-15 years?
Not sure completely but not like it is now. It’s already changing; behind the scenes and with music in general. Genres are combining and technology is getting more advanced daily. However in some markets urban radio is such an integral part of the lives of the people of that market that I would love to see it still thriving
What do you think is wrong, if you do, with hip hop and R&B?
Well not to sound like an old woman but please bring back my old school R&B!! After early 2000s there’s been a handful of R&B songs and artist that have moved me body and soul.
It’s lacking that passion and sensuality that some of our favorites. Embody. That was my “well back in my day” moment
Who do you think is the most under-appreciated artist out there right now?
She’s not under-appreciated but I want the world to know about rap artist 3D Na’Tee. I’m not that into rap but she’s very talented and humble. Plus she’s a self-motivated, goal getter. Her music speaks for itself.
What do you want your legacy to be?
That I never gave up and worked hard towards my dreams and goals. That through the downs I was able to stay focus and pick myself up. That I was my own person and I did things according to my standards. Also that I have back along the way and helped others
That I never gave up and worked hard
If you could be one of these, who would it be and why? (funny I know…but I’m curious-pick one)
Sex InThe City girls
Definitely a Female Super Hero! Not one that we know already. I’d be the newest one and I would have to have Frozen powers or my daughter would be upset. And I would be able to stop time (freeze) as well because she’s growing so fast! Oooh… I can really create this Freezing powered super hero!
How can people reach out to you?
FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER/IG @JustKiKiBrown
FAN ME ON FACEBOOK @MsKiKiBrown