Women To Watch: Julia Lepidi, ‘The Julia Show’

(By Charese Fruge’) Julia Lepidi hosts The Julia Show, which is two different shows: a morning show on ALT 98.7 (WDZH) in Detroit and a nationally syndicated Top 40 midday show. She started in radio in 2012 as a promo kid on 98.7 AMP Radio in Detroit.

“I knew that if I wanted to be on-air, I had to be vocal about it,” she says. “In 2014, I told my PD at the time, Rayne, ‘that was the case,’ and he asked for a demo. He started me slowly, tracking a 3-hour early shift on Sunday mornings, and that quickly developed.”

“I started doing overnights, which is where I really found who I was on air, and during that time, I began doing swing for our dayparts. Within six months, I was offered the night show,” says Lepidi. “I did nights for three years, hosted clubs, started doing interviews with artists, and really found who I was as a host and personality. In 2018, I was offered mornings, but the station flipped formats a few months later.”

“I transferred over to B96 in Chicago, did nights there for a year before I moved to afternoons, and then my show became nationally syndicated in 2021. Meanwhile, I also joined The Church of Lazlo across four different ALT stations, including ALT 98.7 in Detroit. In October of 2022, they offered me my own morning show on ALT 98.7, which is my current situation, along with my national Top 40 show.”

“Mornings were a challenge at first,” says Lepidi. “I suck at sleeping, even if I have a normal schedule, so that was a little tough at first. I’ve gotten used to it, though. Content-wise, it was interesting – Detroit is such a robust morning market with massive morning shows with plenty of characters that I grew up listening to which made me love radio. So, wrapping my mind around having a solo show competing against people I’ve loved listening to was a bit of a hurdle. But I’ve found my own lane, and the ratings growth has been incredibly encouraging.” 

“As far as The Church of Lazlo, a male-dominated show, I don’t feel like I’ve had a hard time with that,” says Lepidi. “My humor is very crass and dry, which works in the format. I talk about my life, and things happening, but I keep it all very communal. I don’t go into my show thinking, ‘What does the male audience want to hear?’ I think, ‘If I was hanging out with a group of my male and female friends, what would we talk about that could engage everyone?’”

“I’ve wanted to be in radio since I was a kid! My mom was a huge morning show radio listener, and it was my favorite part of the day. The only time my mom would ever let me miss school was to see live broadcasts because she knew I loved it so much. And I’ve gotten to do some amazing things over the years,” says Lepidi. “I’ve done a few different movie junkets now, and they’re always such a fun, ‘pinch-me experience.’ Back in 2015, I was flown to Hawaii to interview Zac Efron – that didn’t suck. And yes, he looks like that IRL.”

“I have faced my share of challenges,” Lepidi admits, “Radio has changed a lot, especially over the last five years. I am incredibly grateful to be in the position I am in, but grieving what it was while simultaneously trying to course-correct and navigate a new landscape has been challenging. There has been a lot of growth in that that I’m proud of.”

“In working to grab interest and loyalty from the younger generation, it always makes me laugh because I’ll be on TikTok and see these tutorials on how to grow your following by captivating attention with smart teases and being personable. Radio wrote that playbook!! When it comes to the younger generation, we have to meet them where they’re at. I’m in my thirties but there’s a lot of common ground we still share of things we have going on and the way we’re experiencing life. Being relatable is the fastest way to connect.”

“Nowadays, social media is a great tool. But adversely, don’t let the noise of it get into your head too much about what you ‘should be’ doing, or try too hard to be exactly the person who has the job you want. You stand out the most by coming up with original content because it’s most reflecting of what you’re capable of and how your brilliant mind works.”

What keeps Lepidi up at night? “My ADHD,” she says. “My brain never shuts off, but my notes app is full of show ideas. And I used to be so bad at trying to find balance up until the last few years. Having boundaries is important and useful, especially with social media. I try to give myself things to do after work that would prevent me from doom scrolling, or overwhelming my brain, and instead do things that nourish it. I used to think disconnecting meant I wasn’t career-driven, or I didn’t care as much, but it’s so important. Do things that are self-care for your brain, and that’s actually the best thing you can do to help you with this job.”

As for what’s ahead for Lepidi, “I’m getting married in October!”

Follow Julia Lepidi @theradiohag on IG/X