Kesha Monk! What can I say about this woman? I’ll just say this: She exudes faith, inspiration, victory, humbleness, sisterly love, honestly, a true woman of virtue, a sista’s sister, and a real honor to know and call a friend.
She worked for a jazz station ( 104.7 The Beat) in Pittsburgh when I started this journey. I had always admired her way of getting through her breaks and interacting with her audience.
Kesha and I only met once but kept in touch thanks to social media and for a short time, she disappeared from my radar. Not sure what happened (at that time) but I was happy to see her name pop up on my Facebook timeline. I had to send her a friend request.
Kesha Monk is a true radio veteran and there was no way I could do this blog, saluting women in radio and not include her to this dynamic roster.
She’s been through so much and through it all, it’s only made her stronger!
Here is her story:
Name: Kesha Monk
Station (market/format/timeslot): Currently, I am a radio personality without a radio home.
How long have you been in the radio business? 20 YEARS! (wow. that’s crazy.)
What was it about radio that struck your interest? I am a music enthusiast and I love people! The concept of connecting with people through music and good conversation as a radio personality is a powerful thing!
What genre of music do you like to listen to the most and why? – Gospel. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love Wu-Tang and Jay-Z just as much as the next chick but gospel music is the most inspirational, uplifting genre in existence.
What is your LET IT GO song? (one that you would absolutely lose your mind listening to) – I lose my mind to various songs weekly but TODAY’S ‘LET IT GO’ song would have to be, “I’m Feeling Myself” by Nicki Minaj featuring Beyonce.
You’ve interviewed a lot of celebrities, was there ever a time you had an uncomfortable celebrity interview where it went terribly wrong? Describe. -(smiles) I can never forget the time Roberta Flack was scheduled to call into my show when I worked at 98.7 KISS FM in New York. My shift ended at 2PM, she was scheduled to call in at 1PM and she called at 1:50PM. I had already signed off. I told her that unfortunately, she was too late for the interview. She asked me, “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? I’M ROBERTA FLACK! I USED TO WORK THERE AT 98.7 KISS!” I wasn’t trying to be a smart ass, but I replied, “Then you really ought to know the importance of timeliness!” She read me for filth – but today, I laugh about it.
Who was the best celebrity encounter and why? – Without a doubt, Faith Evans. I love-love-looooove her! She’s a vocal beast and I almost lost consciousness when I met her. She was completely down to earth. I bought her roses. Taraji P Henson was on my show the same day and we were both acting like total groupies.
Do you feel female radio personalities are harder to work with or easier? For me personally, it’s always been easy to work with females because I know the importance creating positive alliances. In a male dominated industry, it’s necessary to lift up every single woman that I’ve come in contact with. From the intern to the general manager – it’s always been all love. (Except for that one time I got into a petty argument with a female colleague. She must have forgotten to take her meds that day. SMH.)
What do you feel is the “issue” with female radio personalities and why there isn’t a healthy comradery? – I honestly think that female cattiness is a myth in the radio industry. My radio life has never been anything like the stereotypical angry woman as portrayed on reality tv. (IE: Love & Hip Hop or Real Housewives of Atlanta) Finding sisterhood in this industry has always been rather simple. If you desire to have it, you have to embody it. I’ve never been afraid to compliment or uplift another woman – and because of my attitude, I’ve been blessed to meet some incredibly talented women.
What’s the biggest misconception about you? That it will cost $5 million dollars to hire me as a radio personality. I think my resume scares people. I’ve worked in New York, Los Angeles & Chicago. It’s been really rough trying to make a re-entry into radio because they assume because of my major market experience I’m going to demand an unrealistic salary. So, as of late, I haven’t been getting any callbacks.
Why don’t people get about music when it comes to radio? – People always think that the personality chooses the playlist. I can’t tell you how how many times Uncle Ray-Ray used to call me trying to get his nephew Lil’ Man’s rap demo in regular rotation through me. It don’t work like that bro!
Who do you most admire in the radio industry and why? – Charlemagne The God of POWER 105.1 in New York is a genius. I admire him for being a personality who thinks OUTSIDE the box. He can be little obnoxious at times but he’s really good. He gets it. He knows how to engage the listener. He understood early in his career how to utilize social media to his advantage. Lastly, I believe that what you get on the mic is what you get off the mic. He makes connecting with the listener look easy. I’ve been enjoying watching his star rise. I’m a fan. (Honorable mentions – Victor Sosa of WLTW, New York and Fred Bugsy Buggs of WBLS, New York. Those dudes are the smartest dudes I know)
What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? – When I was trying to get the afternoon job at WBLS in New York, I told Gayle King (Oprah’s best friend) that I really wanted that gig but I didn’t believe that they would hire me. She slapped me and said, “Thoughts are things. Mind your mind! If you don’t think you’ll be hired, you won’t be.” That resonated within me. From that day forward, my mindset changed.
What’s the biggest misconception about women in radio? – That we are only capable of being midday personalities or sidekicks for morning shows. Women are very capable of doing afternoons, being programmers, or being the main talent on a morning show.
Where do you see urban radio in the next 10-15 years? It really pains me to say this, but urban radio is currently in critical condition and on life support. If it isn’t given proper nutrition/medication to obtain its strength back, it will die without the possibility of being revived. I know CPR but I have to find the right person to allow me to breathe life back into it before its too late.
What do you think is wrong, if you do, with hip hop and R&B? – Today’s hip hop seems one dimensional. Everything sounds the same. There’s no substance. As a hip-hop lover, it’s super frustrating.
Who do you think is the most underappreciated artist out there right now? Oh wow. Can I cheat and give you a few? There are so many! Chrisette Michelle, Ledisi, Musiq, Azelia Banks, Jasmine Sullivan, David Hollister, Lalah Hathaway and the list goes on and on.
Who’s in your iPod/radar? – Everybody from Busta Rhymes to Boy George to Beethoven. I’m a musician. I’m a vocalist. I’m a music enthusiast. I have eclectic tastes.
What do you want your legacy to be? That I tried in inspire, encourage, unite & uplift as many people as possible by giving them a little piece of myself. I really hope to be a concrete example of generosity in action.
Biggest regret is….Not being honest with Elroy Smith (a well known program director) when he changed my name from Kesha Monk to Kesha Keyz. I HATED that name.
If you won the lottery and was awarded $1,000,000.00, what would you do FIRST (after screaming)? – Pay off all of my mother’s bills.
How can people reach out to you?
Facebook: Kesha Monk
FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER/IG @JustKiKiBrown
FAN ME ON FACEBOOK @MsKiKiBrown
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