Written By: Kristen Ayanah
Brittany Jade is the founder and CEO of Newark.FM. Launched in November 2017 Newark.FM serves as a station for many citizens of Newark, New Jersey. The station provides people with the ability to create their own personal shows or podcast and music from many local and underground artists.
Jade began her career in television production as opposed to going straight into radio after graduating from Syracuse University with a bachelor’s degree in Communications. While in college, she focused heavily on TV sports recording and wanted to get into sideline reporting. After graduating she landed a job at E! Networks and went on to doing TV post production for many popular shows like The Real Housewives and Love & Hip-Hop. Jade says after a while she began to feel creatively stifled and she began listening heavily to public radio and podcast which lead to the creation of Newark.FM.
“I’ve always loved radio, since I was a kid, I always had a radio. While growing up, my family and I moved around a lot and the first thing that had to be set up in our new home was my radio.” says Jade.
Newark.FM’s mission is public radio for all and heavily focuses on the inclusion of people of color. Jade says that when she first started the station, she wanted to create something for the people because she believed that Newark needed more creative spaces. At first the station only played music and then later Jade began adding on-air talent. The music played on Newark.FM is often times different from mainstream stations. Jade wants to highlight different genres and non- mainstream artists to give people a different feel for music.
“I love being able to program music, that I wouldn’t be able to hear on Power 105.1, WBLS, or Hot 97. I love finding new music and putting people on.” She says.
Jade’s inspiration in radio would be entrepreneur Cathy Hughes. She believes that Cathy truly pushed through despite any obstacles she has faced and is greatly successful because of it. Cathy founded media company Radio One and is the first black women to head a publicly traded corporation. Some of the things Jade loves about radio is the people she meets because of it and the community aspect of it.
“The communal aspect. The thought of knowing me and someone else are sharing this too, thousands of listeners.” She says.
Looking back what Jade believes she would of done differently as far as her career would be having some type of radio experience prior to creating Newark.FM. similar to the experiences she had in TV production, interning at multiple TV corporations prior to graduating. She says that she had never been inside an actual radio station prior to Newark.FM or had to deal with external funding for an organization and these were challenges she faced.
“I learned a lot as I went along and from Google.com.” she states.
Jade believes that radio today should be more freeform and that there should be more diversity in music and DJ’s.
When asked what she looks forward to Jade explains that she will be launching an arts education program/workshops in the fall at the Grammy Museum in Newark for younger students as well as adults. These programs will focus on how to get in the music business, DJing, women in music, producing and more!
Overall, Brittany Jade just wants to continue to give back and take strides to represent people of color in radio and creative spaces.