WATCH THE THRONE: HOT97’S NESSA
ON 5 STEPS TO RADIO DOMINATION
Started from the bottom now we here? Nessa Diab, better known to MTV and radio fans as Nessa, knows a thing or two about rising up in the hosting and on-air personality worlds. The host of a handful of MTV shows, including Girl Code LIVE and Teen Mom, isn’t just killing it TV. As the DJ and host of #Nessa3to7 on Hot97, New York City’s legendary hip hop station, she has become one of the most powerful female voices in the game. Of course she didn’t just land at the top out of nowhere. More than ten years experience in San Francisco radio and a ton of hard work helped prime her for radio and TV domination.
Think you might want a career like Nessa’s? Below, the hostess with the mostess shares her top five tips to go from “should I get on that hosting grind?” to radio queen:
Take inventory: “If you’re interested in having a broadcast career, it’s important to ask yourself: why do you want to be on the radio? For me, I wanted to communicate my emotions. You have to be willing to communicate with others—that is the whole purpose of radio. And you can’t use your body language—you only have your voice. If you care, want to hear what people feel and want to be that voice for them, then it’s a good sign that radio might be for you.”
Pay your dues: “Once you know that radio is the right medium, then become an intern. When you become an intern, it’s about doing a great job while doing certain assignments— recording, editing producing, doing the little things, like putting up tents at promo events.
It’s really about what you do off the clock. A lot of people fail here. They think ‘I’ve done my internship, I should get on the radio.’ That’s not how the world works. You have to dedicate yourself after you’re done on the clock. Spend extra time learning how to edit, spending your own money to get editing programs that people in radio use, and looking for a mentor at the station who you can shadow.”
Know your message: “Know who you are, what your strengths are and what you stand for. Because your message is is going to show every time you talk on the radio.
If you want to be a key player you have to share yourself. You have to remove your filter when on radio—for me I’m always honest. When on-air, I’ll say ‘I have the worst cramps right now. I feel like I’m dying. Does anyone have any home remedies?’ Some people might think, ‘I can’t believe she just said that.’ But at least I’m honest and relatable. At the end of the day, no one wants to hang out with someone perfect (or fake).
Know your weaknesses and don’t be afraid to open up about them. Sharing that stuff with your audience is when you’re being real and coming across as a real person. If you’re not willing to open up and be vulnerable, then being on radio may not be for you.”
Know your worth: “Remind yourself what you’re worth. Your personal life if you know what you’re worth you know what you will and won’t deal with—there are things I won’t compromise my morals for if something i don’t believe in, I won’t co sign for it. People don’t realize that I’ve worked 10 years starting in college worked in intern all the way up. I’ve lived out of my car, worked in Phoenix for night contract, back to SF and worked there. I bought all my own equipment to shoot my own interviews. I know my worth and am dedicated to my worth. I know I’m not going to let anyone shortchange me from my worth. And that exudes in radio. People can tell..they can see your energy and they know you have real opinions because you know your worth. You have to be willing to sacrifice time, social life—if that doesn’t sound right to you then you may want to pick a different career.”
Stay true to yourself: “Don’t allow the industry to create you. Don’t fall for the hype. Don’t get caught up in celebrities and interviews. Everyone is human and has emotions. Remember, the only reason you care to talk to an artist is to give their message to listeners.”