I’ve profiled many women in the radio industry and I get blown away by their stories of survival; and I’m not at all being dramatic when I say that. The radio business, for years, (in my opinion) has been a male dominated industry. If you read the stories from past radio chicks that I’ve interviewed, you’ll find that many of them have focused primarily on making a way for themselves.
Women in radio are placed in a box that only provide avenues on the streets of “sidekick”, “funny girl”, “news correspondent” or “weather girl” or shall I say it “midday personality”!!! (cue creepy organ music)
It’s said that for all midday positions in radio, a woman should be the one to host it! As a midday-chick, I get it but I know I can do more than just the 10-2 shift; but I digress. Recently, WKYS in DC placed radio vet EZ Street into the midday slot and Radio Chick alum Angie Ange in the afternoons ; which was his prime time position originally.
Meet JJ Simmons. The “midday chick” on 979 The Box in Houston, TX. A huge station with a huge demographic following for females 18-34. She’s dominating her demo and leaving imprints in other areas as well.
She’s got confidence, spunk, a clever mind, intelligence and hella talent!
If you’re ever in Houston, set your dial to 979 The Box if you get a chance!
Jillian “JJ” Simmons
Houston, Hip Hop, 10 -3PM 979 The Box
How long have you been in the radio business? 21 years
How long were you in the television business? 8 years
What is more enjoyable/different? Radio! I love that you can’t see me on my bad hair days 🙂
Would you say it’s hard to work with/for women in radio than it is to work with/for men? My best experience in radio has been working for Terri Thomas (a woman)…but I have worked for some great men also. Only difference is she can empathize more with the ladies on staff.
What do you think is the most challenging being a talent in your career? Keeping up with what is HOT to the millennials…they are on and off of things quickly
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? Le’Andrea Williams was my mentor in High School. I shadowed her and interned for her at U92 in Dayton. She works at V100 in Milwaukee.
What was it about radio that struck your interest? I loved listening to the jocks. They always felt like they were talking right to me!
What makes a good radio talent? When the jock sounds as if they are your friend…when you can’t go a day without hearing what that person has to say.
Have you ever been fired? How did you bounce back?
LOL! I have been fired once. I was on a 6 month hiatus from radio. While I had offers during the time…I wanted something that really fit. I ended up working for the same company (different market) after 6 months. I definitely learned from that experience. I learned the importance of playing the game…understanding the “politics”. I was young and felt “entitled” at the time.
What genre of music do you like to listen to the most and why? I honestly listen to EVERYTHING… hip hop, Pop, old school, and R&B!
What is your LET IT GO song? LOL OMG no literally O.M.G. – Usher is my jam FOR LIFE!!!
You’ve interviewed a lot of celebrities, was there ever a time you had an uncomfortable celebrity interview or encounter where it went terribly wrong? Describe. My FIRST day on the air in NY on WBLS I had an interview with Case. We are live on the air and the CD player wouldn’t work when I introduced his song. I had dead air FOREVER…he is laughing…I’m trying to play it off but I just couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t working. I almost cried. I went to commercials…came back and STILL couldn’t get it to work! EMBARRASSING! He remembered me ever since then…EVERY TIME he saw me he would laugh. I hope he forgot by now.
Who was the best celebrity encounter and why? Common. I had an interview with Common that lasted for hours. I felt like I was hanging with my homeboy. He is always very down to earth and sweet and fine. lol
Do you get star struck? If so, with whom or what celebrity gets you all tongue tied? Not really. I can’t lie thought…when I hosted a party with Idris Elba I did feel a little tingly. Hahaha!
What’s the biggest misconception about you? I like to “turn up” all the time. In real life, I love NAPS…long NAPS and peace and quiet! lol
What don’t people get about music when it comes to radio? I always hear “OTHER STATIONS in OTHER CITIES aren’t playing the same songs all day! LOL! Yes they are. Trust me.
Who do you most admire in the radio industry and why? Jay Stevens. I’ve never seen anyone so passionate about radio. His desire to be the best and create the best team of people is admirable.
What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Be you. Don’t try to become something you are not. It will show.
What do you thing the biggest misconception about women in radio? Women in radio are groupies.
Who’s in your iPod/radar? Jazmine Sullivan. SHE IS A BEAST.
What do you want your legacy to be? I want to leave the spirit of giving. It not about us. It’s about using our platform to make a difference. There is still a way to do God’s work through radio in any format.
If you could give advice to someone wanting to be a radio personality, what would you say? Radio isn’t just radio. Radio is now…blogging…social media…etc. People aren’t making the money that they use to make in this business. It’s important to really know and understand what you are walking into and what you want to get from it.
Biggest regret is…. I don’t have any that I can think of. 🙂
How can you be reached?
Facebook: @JJSimmons (or JJonthemic)
FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER/IG @JustKiKiBrown
FAN ME ON FACEBOOK @MsKiKiBrown
If you loved that story, check out these radio chicks: