This article was originally posted to AllAccess’ “Women To Watch” series, written by Charese Fruge on January 28, 2020
She has a giant heart, a “joie de vivre” attitude, and a “NO BS” policy when it comes to communicating. You will never wonder what Jennifer White is thinking, and most of the time, no matter what comes out of her mouth (filtered or not), you’ll be laughing immediately. She’s had her challenges with career, family and life in general, but for the 12 years I’ve known her, I have never seen her take a negative attitude towards anything. She’s an absolute joy to be around and a great inspiration to many women in and outside of the business.
The Virginia Beach native’s success story blew up when she landed an internship on the Howard Stern Radio Show in New York at the age of 19. “Radio is the family business,” according to White, Senior Communications Director of the Slacker/LiveXLive team (formerly Slacker Radio). “My mom met my dad while doing news on his morning show back in the day. So I grew up doing voice overs, and always had a fascination with radio and performing. In college, I worked in a bookstore where I met a fellow ‘radio nerd,’ Jeff Schmidt, who recommended me for a board-op job. I did everything I could to learn about the industry, from filling in for the receptionist, to promotions, to any kind of on-air shifts I could get, just trying to work my way up.”
How did you get the Howard Stern gig?
“I was listening to the Stern Show pretty religiously and heard producer Gary Dell’Abate mention they were looking for interns for the upcoming semester, so my mom and I typed up a letter and a resume and sent it in. I got a call back and an interview, and the next thing I knew, I was planning to move out of Virginia Beach for the first time ever and head to New York.”
White describes her experience on the Stern Show as “surreal as hell!” Her craziest experience was working the Private Parts movie premiere, she says, “Where I rubbed shoulders with Marylin Manson, Jenna Jameson, Jeremy Piven, and assorted other ‘celebs.'” Her internship is quite the conversation starter on her resume, says White. “Probably opened up a few doors for me along the way.”
Her timeline looks a lot like most with a successful career in radio: lots of relocation. Before the Stern Show, her first start was at Classic Rock WAFX (The Fox) in Norfolk where she had a part time air shift. She later transitioned to their sister rock station to do nights on FM99 WNOR. After Stern, she moved to St. Louis to do nights at Alternative KPNT (The Point). From there she headed to KNDD (The End) in Seattle to do middays, and later moved to mornings to work with DJ No Name (Bob Van Dyne). Next up was mornings at Alternative 91X in San Diego, followed by mornings at Hot AC KSCF/Sophie @103.7 San Diego.
When Sophie @103.7 flipped to Top 40, Energy 103.7, Jennifer got out of the business. “I exited radio for a couple of years (while still maintaining my voice over side-hustle) and worked as a Product Evangelist for Madcap Software, writing, training, hosting webinars and speaking at conferences all over the United States and Europe,” says White. “That job gave me a pretty good tech background, which helped me out a great deal when my former 91X PD Kevin Stapleford hired me as Content Development Manager at streaming service Slacker Radio. I’ve been here for 5 years through our company’s transition to LiveXLive, where I now serve as Senior Communications Director.”
The responsibilities tied to that title for Jennifer include handling internal and external communications and copywriting, voice over, hosting and podcast duties, overseeing all copy on the company’s website, app and newsletters, and content creation. That’s an enormous amount of responsibility. But According to White, “I work closely with a team of really talented engineers to create a solid streaming experience for our audience.”
What was the transition from traditional radio to a streaming service like?
“Honestly, the hardest part for me was going from mornings and after hour events to a 9 to 5 job. I’ve never had to man a desk for a full day, so that was definitely a shock to the system. Also, operating in a normal office made me more aware of my…um, use of colorful language.”
As a young woman starting out, particularly with a history of radio in her family, Jennifer’s goal was to break the mold. “I was always afraid of being pigeonholed into the ‘girl ghetto.’ I wanted to be more than the giggle chick on the morning show, or traffic girl, or sexy-talk night jock. After filling every single one of those roles (and then some) over the course of my career, I learned that every opportunity is exactly what you make of it. If someone pigeonholes you, it’s on you to break out of that stereotype.”
That being said, her advice to people just getting in to the business: “Nurture your friendships, monitor your mental health, start saving for retirement, like, YESTERDAY, and open yourself up to weird and diverse opportunities. Don’t think you have to walk some straight line to happiness and security-use radio to take your life to the place (literally and figuratively) you want to be.”
And how do you get to this place? How do you personally find balance?
“My husband works for an airline, so we travel as often as humanly possible. I take ALL my damn vacation days, with ZERO guilt or apologies, because I truly feel that adventure keeps us all healthy and sane. As you’re reading this I’m vacationing in Tokyo and not thinking about work AT ALL.”
So what are you excited about for 2020? What do we have to look forward to from Jennifer White?
“I’m really proud of the show I’m doing with LiveXLive’s hip-hop host Raymond T. every Wednesday at 1p pacific. We stream (audio and video) “The Ten” live, where we break down music and pop culture according to a random theme. He’s brilliant to work with, and we have entirely too much (beer-fueled) fun every show. Who knows where it’ll go, but I’m loving every second of it.”
Listen to Jennifer White on the LiveXLive app, and follow her on social media @msjenwhite on Instagram and Twitter