I’ll never forget the time the radio staff were getting professional head shots and Allegra was preparing for her session.
She did so much fidgeting around that the photographer became frustrated and amused at the same time. This was Allegra’s first real photo shoot and she wanted it to be right. Allegra is like that! She’s not a perfectionist but pretty damn close.
That’s what I love about her! She’s passionate about what she does and what she represents (mother, anchor, business woman, producer).
I couldn’t be more proud of Allegra and once you read her story on how she got started and why she does what she does, you’ll be too!
Allegra Battle Johnson –CitySTYLE412.com, I also work for American Urban Radio Networks as a reporter, news anchor and audio journalist. (CitySTYLE is on YouTube. AURN is a national news network, AURN.com)
How long have you been in the radio business?
I’ve been in radio for almost 15 years. WOW
How long were you in the television business?
I’ve been doing an online show for the past 3 years
What is more enjoyable/different about doing both?
I love radio and I love being in front of (and behind) the camera. But I would have to say, I love having my own online show. There’s something about getting to make up your own rules that is very empowering.
Would you say it’s hard to work with/for women in radio than it is to work with/for men?
Most of my professional friends say it’s so important to have a mentor. I have never had an official mentor. Although, most of what I learned in radio, I learned from you (KiKi). I was an intern at WAMO in Pittsburgh and KiKi, took me under her wing. She not only taught me about the business side of radio, but I learned about the personal/emotional side as well. Even though I never aspired to be a jock (I’ve always wanted to do news), I loved seeing KiKi work her way up in the mostly male station. Her hustle inspired me to want to be a better news personality.
What do you think is the most challenging being a talent in your career?
I think most people assume that it’s very easy to have an online show. The truth is, it is very challenging. I have to be talent, promotion, marketing, sales and the GM. I have some great people working with me but because I don’t have the resources of a huge network, I’m have to do most of the leg work myself.
Did you (or do you) have a mentor in radio? If so, who are they and what have they helped you on in reference to your career?
I have not had a mentor, but there have been dynamic women in the industry that I have learned so much from. KiKi Brown, Anji Corley and Kim Lampkins. They have been my unofficial mentors. I look up to them, and take their advice, praises, and critiques very seriously. I value their opinions.
What was it about radio that struck your interest?
I have a degree in Broadcast Journalism. Like most broadcast majors, I wanted to do television and I have worked at a TV. news station and loved it, but I really enjoy writing for radio. In TV., you have b-roll and photos to help move your story along, but in radio, it’s all about using your voice to paint a picture for your listeners and I love the challenge in that.
What makes a good radio talent? News anchor? Television anchor?
I think good talent, is someone who loves what they do. In most industries, people work their job, but I think in radio/television you have to have a deeper passion. It’s about doing everything from your heart. We all have a favorite news anchor or radio personality. It’s the personalities that we feel like we know on a personal level. Good talent can connect with their audience and bring emotion.
How do you respond to women in the media who become out of touch from those trying to reach that particular level of success?
I think that happens in all industries but especially in media because jobs are so scarce; especially for women of color. Some women want to hold on to their jobs so tightly, they get nervous when a fresh-faced talent comes to the scene. I think some women think not reaching out, mentoring and helping another woman, will somehow save their job. We need to get out of that mindset.
(Allegra and stylist Darnell McLaurin)
Have you ever been fired? How did you bounce back?
Ah yes! Lol. It was a horrible time for me. I already questioned if I was good enough to be in the industry, my PD told me (to my face), that I wasn’t good and I should have never been hired. My self-esteem in the radio business was already low. I was in an environment where I was never told when I did something right, only when I did something wrong. My ex-husband who was also in the radio business told me that I would laugh about being fired someday. He really helped me understand how the radio business works and for me to be my biggest cheerleader and fan. He was right, I laugh about it now, but I took me a while to get my confidence back.
What genre of music do you like to listen to the most and why?
I love all music. Right now, I really like independent artist. I like to listen to music you don’t usually find on the radio. Sometimes I think, big record companies force the heart and soul out of artist. I like an artist that can openly and freely express themselves. Right now, I’m listening to BANKS – she has a great acoustic cover of Aaliyah’s Are You that Somebody. (Google it now) LOL
What is your LET IT GO song? (one that you would absolutely lose your mind listening to)
I’m really mellow, so right now my “let go songs” are “Intuition” by Boaz (one of my favorite artist right now) and “VSOP” by K Michelle
You’ve interviewed a lot of celebrities, was there ever a time you had an uncomfortable celebrity interview where it went terribly wrong? Describe.
A few years ago, I asked Rev. Jesse Jackson about his boycott of the movie “Barber Shop” and he basically told me off. Or when I screamed out “I love you Mary” to Mary J. Blige at the National Press Club and I almost forgot all my questions. Or when I interviewed Savion Glover (man crush).
Describe your “mama I made it moment”.
LOL, I’m still waiting for that!
Was there ever a story you had to cover and you were totally uncomfortable with it? What did you do?
No, not really, I tend to think I’m unbiased and neutral no matter the story. During the last Presidential election I had to cover a GOP event, and everyone I interviewed was so against President Obama. I was one of the only people of color there, at times I felt like I was being attacked, I guess they could tell I was a Democrat. LOL
Is this your DREAM JOB?
I think when CitySTYLE is up, and making boatloads of money, then it will be by dream job. I also wanted to be a Hollywood casting director; that would be a dream job too.
Who was the best celebrity encounter and why?
Even though the situation was a little uncouth; meeting Mary J. Blige. Because of her music, I feel like I know her. (like she’s my cousin) I feel her pain and my own through her music.
What’s the biggest misconception about you?
That because I have natural hair, I’m a hippy of some sorts! LOL
Who do you most admire in the radio/television/media industry and why?
I absolutely love Andy Cohen from Bravo. He used to do hard news and he transitioned into entertainment television. I also admire Shaun Robinson, she is so good at what she does. And Christiane Amanpour from CNN is one of the best journalists in the world.
What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Be yourself.
What’s the biggest misconception about women in radio/television?
I think most people think women in the radio industry are B*tches! And everyone is like Wendy Williams. I love Wendy, but because there aren’t that many women in the industry, everyone assumes she is the standard.
I admire your natural style. Is it difficult to keep this particular image and not be perceived as a “serious” talent or someone who is labeled as “ethnic” and not simply a talented anchor or reporter?
No, the game has changed so much. In some ways, I feel like people respect me more because of my natural hair. I think it’s because of the confidence that comes with wearing natural hair; it’s very empowering.
What do you do to convince your interviewee they can be comfortable around you? (what is your technique?)
I do lots of research on the person I’m interviewing. So I will also start out with something that we have in common, or a fun fact I know about them. And most people will loosen up if you make them laugh.
Who do you think is the most under appreciated talent in your industry?
I think anyone behind the scenes. The producers, the camera people and the writers. Most people don’t realize that without the behind the scenes people, the show would not go on. In my career, I have been both, so I can appreciate both sides.
What is something you simply cannot be without?
My daily planner! I’m old school, I have to write everything down.
What do you want your legacy to be?
When it’s all said and done, I want people to remember that I was a hard working woman who loved her daughter, people and nice things. I want my daughter to remember how hard I hustled and everything that I taught her. She’s already a lil diva, getting ready for something big in the entertainment industry.
If you could give advice to someone wanting to be a radio personality, what would you say?
I would tell them to work hard, be themselves and love what they do.
Biggest regret is….
Not believing in myself and believing that I wasn’t good enough.
How can people reach out to you?
FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER/IG @JustKiKiBrown
FAN ME ON FACEBOOK @MsKiKiBrown
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