Kansas City radio personality Julee Jonez is the host of “The Midday Party”, weekdays from 10 am until 3pm on KPRS-FM Hot 103 Jamz. She is a native of Kansas City who started received an education at the University of Missouri in Kansas City, graduating with a B.A. in Mass Communication. She also has a Master’s degree in Marketing. FABUtainment had the chance to interview Julee Jonez to learn more about her career in radio, as well as advice she would give to individuals who are interested in pursuing a career in broadcast journalism.
FABUtainment: What inspired you to pursue a career in radio? What was your “Aha Moment” that made you feel that this was the right career choice for you?
JJ: I wanted to be an accountant, but after taking an introductory course in broadcasting, I changed majors. My mother always thought broadcasting would be a great field for me. I remember as a little girl I’d write commercials as part of my modeling school assignments. One time, she got on my father for interrupting me saying, “She could end up doing this someday.” The “someday” started my junior year of college. I got my start in radio through internships at KPRS. I worked in the corporate world full-time upon graduation and worked part-time for several years at the station. I started to get frustrated at my full-time gig and wanted to relocate – either in radio or within the company I worked for. It didn’t appear anyone was leaving KPRS and I began to think I’d never get on full-time. I was praying, applying for jobs when our overnight person moved to Atlanta and then “someday” arrived.
FABUtainment: How long have you been at Hot 103 Jamz? What is it about working for Hot 103, or being on the radio in general, that you absolutely love?
JJ: I just celebrated 19 years – that includes the years I worked radio as a side hustle. I love being able to entertain and inform people while they work. Doing it at KPRS is cool because our on-air team is very tight knit; like a family. It’s also phenomenal that unlike a lot of stations, we have access to the owners. They’re very open and touchable—something we don’t always see with higher ups in other organizations.
FABUtainment: What was your first job in radio?
JJ: Part-time board op – with some talking – on our sister station, Gospel 1590 KPRT.
FABUtainment: Who was the first celebrity you interviewed?
JJ: I can’t remember. For real, probably a comedian. Most memorable interviews happened when I covered the BET Awards a few years ago. Everyone from Brandy to Trey Songz , Usher, Kevin Hart was in the building. Everyone was down to earth, too. Bill Bellamy is one of my favorites to talk to. He’s always fun and we have good chemistry.
FABUtainment: What celebrity would you like to interview?
JJ: Oprah. Of course.
FABUtainment: What is the most challenging aspect of being a radio personality?
JJ: There are many that are equally as challenging. For starters, being a woman in an industry that’s like a “Boy’s Club.” In media overall, women age out, are judged on appearance whereas men can rock the mic or do television forever! Another challenge that is specific to this city is being able to cross over into other media. Working in urban radio in Kansas City is quite different than working somewhere like Atlanta. There’s other open doors for them in television whereas here, there doesn’t appear to be a place to do that.
FABUtainment: Who are your top 3 music artists of all time?
JJ: L-Boogie. I have always loved Lauryn Hill and hope she gets back at it. Outside of here, I actually listen to a lot of gospel so my girls Mary Mary and Kirk Franklin is my homie. Don’t get me wrong; I love some Drizzy and other artists. I just gotta have radio edits these days.
FABUtainment: If you were not on the radio, what other career or profession would you like to pursue?
JJ: Motivational speaking and a television talk show.
FABUtainment: What advice would you give to those individuals who aspire to pursue a career in radio?
JJ: Be open to genres and positions other than being on-air. Many think just because they’re a certain demographic or have a musical preference they only want something that aligns with that. Terrestrial radio has a lot of competition so you have to be willing to put what you are and what you like aside to achieve success and longevity. There are many different career paths in media, including radio. Investigate as many as possible.
FABUtainment: What events or projects do you have coming up?
JJ: I have a book , “Pressing Past the Past” coming out sometime in April. Outside of work and family, that will be keeping me busy for a while.