Angie Martinez: Radio is familiar, It’s also information from people you know and trust.

Source: People Moves,
March 10th, 2017

She is fondly known as “The Voice of New York.” Angie Martinez launched her career at radio two decades ago and has extended her personal brand as a successful actress and hit-making rapper, and author, via a New York Times bestselling memoir, “My Voice.”

 “The Angie Martinez Show” airs 2pm-6p on iHeartMedia urban “Power 105.1” WWPR New York—its base—and  weekends on urban sister “The Beat 103.5” WMIB Miami. Before that, she was a mainstay (and often controversial personality) at Emmis-New York’s rhythmic CHR “Hot 97” WQHT.

Here’s a storybook career tale: Martinez started at 16 answering request lines at Hot 97, connected with DJ Funkmaster Flex, began working as his protégé and quickly manicured the unique qualities to commandeer the radio mic. Aside from radio, as an artist, she is a Grammy-nominated act with top 10 Hot 100 and top five Hip-Hop/R&B smashes.

Late last year, Martinez signed a development deal with Endemol Shine North America, to further propel what has become a mighty appealing brand. And this week—on March 7—her best-selling memoir, “My Voice,” hits the stands in paperback. She speaks with Inside Radio about her continuing love for radio, connecting with her audience and what may be next. An edited transcript follows.

Given your status as the ordained “Voice of New York,” what would you say keeps radio fresh?

There is something about the accountability of radio and having to show up to deliver something new every day that keeps it current. Also, I enjoy the challenge of reinvention. Radio is so different from when I first started, with social media, PPM and the world in general, which has changed the pace of how people listen. So I’ve had to adapt at every turn.

Not to mention, I’ve always had a side hustle or passion project to keep my juices going in other areas, from music, TV, books or supporting a cause I believe in. Those things give me a broader perspective and more to bring to the table when I am on-air.

A lot of stations are afraid to let their talent spread their wings and I’ve never understood that. Honestly, I don’t know if I would have made it this far if I wasn’t supported in those endeavors. Emmis was really good to me that way and iHeartRadio has been nothing but supportive of me and my personal brand.

Why do you think radio continues to attract 93% of Americans every week?

Radio is familiar. It is in your home, in your car and it’s free curated music. It’s also information from people you know and trust.

Can you share a recent moment that hammers home the power and passion of radio?

The first thing that comes to mind—and I hate that this is a sad moment—but there was something about the day Prince died. Everybody was shocked and those moments, you want to turn to something live. You turn on the radio to hear what’s going on from someone you know. You want to hear music that makes you feel something.

I felt so connected to my audience that day. There’s something about sharing moments like that with listeners, being there for them and offering opinions, thoughts, information and reflection. Honestly, there isn’t another medium that allows people to connect as intimately.

I imagine your audiences in New York and Miami share a big city mentality, but are there differences in the cultures in each market? How do you adapt to multiple markets—or do you even think about that?

There are differences in the culture but I try to not think too much about that. I try to be present, in the moment and be myself. Also, my show in Miami airs on weekends, so people by nature are in a different mindset than afternoon drive. On my weekday show in New York there’s a lot more going on. Saturday is more chill and a good time to reflect on the highlights of the week.

How are you taking advantage of iHeart’s digital platforms?

I have a really strong digital team. Honey German—who handles my digital and social at Power 105.1—and I have a really good system that ties everything we do on-air back to the station’s website. We also amplify interviews and content through social media and online.

I’ve also hosted special events like iHeartRadio album release parties at the iHeartRadio Theater in New York and L.A. with artists like TI and Mary J. Blige, discuss their latest projects and meet fans. We stream the events on iHeartRadio and then air them nationally on multiple stations. At the moment, we’re talking about a new content idea that I am really excited about for later this year.

Please tell me more about your development deal with Endemol Shine North America, where you are set to “develop unscripted and scripted content for traditional and digital platforms.”

The Endemol partnership is the perfect next phase for my career. It allows me to continue to evolve, learn, tell stories and exchange ideas on multiple platforms.

I’m very interested in documenting culture. That desire is what prompted me to write my book. I feel like a lot of important moments in radio weren’t well-documented, especially pre-social media—not just ones that affected me personally, but moments that affected culture in general. So the plan is to do more of that.

We are also developing a scripted project based on my book. I am proud to be able to do that because there aren’t too many authentic stories of hip-hop culture told from a woman’s perspective.

What have you not yet done that you still have your eye on?

Ultimately, I would like to find a space and place in television that makes me feel as at home as I do on radio.

As a woman who started a life-long entertainment career in radio as an intern, what message would you send out to young women—and men—who are just pursuing their career dreams?

You have to show up ready to matter. Ready to deliver and contribute. And show up caring. I can always spot a person who cares about what they do and who takes pride in their work. I always look for that because it is the beginning of success. You can have all the degrees in the world but if you don’t care, you will not win. So yeah, I always look for young people who are passionate, and have “that thing” that will make them outwork every person in the room.

Ever considered leaving radio?

Over the years, I’ve thought about it, but then I quickly think…why would I? I still love it, I have things to say, things to learn and being on the radio is still very much a part of who I am.


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