Charese Fruge’ Talks To Jae’ Nash

This article was originally posted to AllAccess’ “The Bigger Picture” series, written by Charese Fruge on February 15, 2022 

Jae’ Nash is Promotions Director and midday talent for 98.7 Kiss, “The Best R&B” in Birmingham, AL. Like many in the business, she has a dual role and an enormous amount of responsibility. So far, she’s doing a fantastic job of managing things, even with an air shift that falls right in the middle of the workday.

Here’s how it all began for Jae’, “I started in radio doing a podcast-like talk show in 2009 at WVOL/Nashville, TN, the station Oprah Winfrey got her start on. How exciting is that!? I relocated to Atlanta in early 2008 and attended Atlanta Broadcast Institute. I’ve always been a talker, so radio was my thing. Shouts to Big Ant, the Program Director at WEUP/Huntsville at the time. He gave me my first shot in terrestrial radio in Hip Hop and R&B in 2010. Wow! It’s been a journey,” she says. “I’ve had several people support me in my career. It would take me writing a book to thank everyone. The rest know who they are… I learned from a lot of OG’s in the industry to ‘just be myself.’ That is valuable and adds weight.”

With a dual role, Jae’ has had to figure out a way to balance both an on-air shift, and the responsibilities of running a Promotions Department. “I think life, in general, should have balance. I believe everyone in radio has played some role in promotions,” she says. “Middays here is 10a-3p. While in the studio, my focus is having a good show. I try to plan for the most part, but some things come up. Delegating is KEY! Making sure my team is up to speed on events, remotes, etc. Otherwise, most of my calls are handled before I go on air or after 3. Plus, you know we got all kinds of tricks up our sleeves in radio. Just call me ‘MS. GET IT DONE!!!’”

One of the most exciting things Jae’ has experienced in her career happened in 2016. “I was selected out of thousands of women to attend the ‘United State of Women’ Summit in DC. I was in the front row while Oprah Winfrey, Forever First Lady Michelle Obama, Valerie Jarrett, and more discussed equality for women in every aspect of their lives,” she says. “It was the highlight of my life and career to be among the five thousand women selected to attend. I met so many women. In fact, I was able to create a lucrative relationship with the head of Global Marketing at Coca-Cola at the time, who ended up sponsoring my ‘Girl Power’ Power Breakfast.”

Jae’ has experienced her share of challenges rising through the ranks of radio. “I was laid off during the beginning of the pandemic from V103. I really had to do some self-reflecting about my career and goals. It was honestly the best thing that has ever happened to me. Jae’ Nash was on the GO for the last ten years at least. I needed that year to find myself again.”

Another challenge caused by the pandemic for Jae’ was the impact it had on executing traditional promotions and events for 98.7 Kiss. “We’ve had to adapt like everyone one else. We are finding creative and fun ways to connect with our listeners. Now that people are back outside, we are very strategic with planning and attending events, remotes, and community events, plus we are still encouraging our listeners to mask up and play it safe.”

With Jae’s desire to be active behind the scenes as well as on the front lines as air talent, I had to ask her the million-dollar question, does she have any desire to be a Program Director? “Absolutely not! I want to be a part of driving change in radio and integrating creative ideas to keep radio alive. Even if that means partnering with streaming platforms in the future to get talent and community exposure. I’m a marketer, Hunni! I’d rather stay in my lane,” says Nash. Who doesn’t love a woman who knows exactly what she wants?!

Jae’ loves to be outdoors in her spare time. “A day in nature is healing. I kayak, run, work out, hang out with my girls, and travel.” And while she swears she’s an open book, there is one thing she says people would be surprised to know about her. “I can hoop a little bit. For those who read this and don’t know what ‘hoop’ means–I can play a little basketball. I’m a little rusty but, you never forget the jump shot. I played basketball throughout high school and some in college.”

As for what keeps her up at night. “These damn BILLS!!! HA! Nah, seriously, for three years, I’ve had to take my health seriously, and it started with getting rest. So, baybayyyyy, I’ma schleeep,” she says. She also takes steps to maintain balance: “Bi-weekly massages, Woosahhhh! No, really knowing when I’m getting overwhelmed. Balancing is planning as much as I can, but of course, leaving behind energy towards things I cannot control. The station and I have some huge things in the works, so it’s important for me to stay focused. I’m really excited about what’s to come and ready for growth in the Birmingham market.”

Follow Jae’ Nash @iamjaenash on Instagram