Charese Fruge’ Talks To MJ & Bree From “Keeping it Casual” Podcast

This article was originally posted to AllAccess’ “Women To Watch” series, written by Charese Fruge on March 31, 2020

They’re working hard to balance their normal weekly podcast for their long-time fans while trying to provide a little relief for those struggling through this crazy COVID-19 lockdown. MJ & Bree, hosts of the “Keeping It Casual” podcast have much respect for their fellow broadcasters right now. “I want to commend all of the media who have to put on a brave voice and face during this time right now while they try to ‘play the hits’ or ‘keep it light’ on radio and television,” says MJ. “It’s not easy. MUCH RESPECT!” Both MJ and Bree agree that one of the best things about podcasting vs. any other kind of broadcasting outlet is that there are no FCC regulations and there is a worldwide reach. “We have complete control of our content and there is no one telling us what is best for our show,” says Bree. “And worldwide reach means the sky is the limit.”

The two have also expanded their entertainment and access during this time by utilizing Instagram Live and all other forms of social media to take the load off when necessary outside of their normal podcast. “We want people to know we will continue to show up for them during this crazy time, but we also want to be there as a bit of an escape,” says Bree. The typical content for “Keeping It Casual” covers relationships, sex, marriage, gossip, dating, really everything, but it’s typically humorous and unapologetically catty. Now, they are realistic about having to cover something so serious as the COVID-19 because it’s something everyone can relate to, and they are having to do it on all levels: funny, scary, sad, sarcastic whatever comes up, but that’s part of their commitment to being real and one of the biggest reasons why the podcast took off so quickly and why it’s so successful based on both reach and revenue.

MJ and Bree crossed paths twice before in radio in Las Vegas before teaming up for “Keeping It Casual.” MJ’s history includes fitness and dance, morning show host, host of SiriusXM’s adult talk show “Pillow Talk” and most recently, afternoon drive host on X107.5 KXTE until 2019, where she was part of the CBS/Entercom merger layoff’s. The good news was she had amazing ratings and amazing followers who migrated to her new podcast venture. Bree started in radio when she was 19 on a street team and quickly moved her way up to promotions coordinator. Her small company got bought out when the economy tanked and she lost her job like so many other people in the business. She worked in other forms of media throughout her life, but in 2017 came back to radio as an administrative assistant.

The two had their own individual podcast projects going on when they discovered they had chemistry. Bree agreed to be a guest on MJ’s podcast as a dating expert because that was her role on her current show, and well, because she was doing a lot of online dating. As I listened to their one year anniversary show, I discovered that Bree had tried every dating site out there except for Eharmony. Would you like to know why? Because after filling out her questionnaire, she was rejected by a paid dating site! How does that happen? I cried hysterically listening to this, and knew this was going to be a good show. And when I tell you it’s a good thing there are no FCC guidelines on podcasting…it’s a good thing for “Keeping it Casual.” It’s the thing that does allow them to really be genuine and connect with their audience.

They also have the perfect balance, MJ is married with two young children, while Bree continues to play the dating game. She’s known infamously for “Why Did I Date Him?” It’s the million dollar question all single women ask themselves about their ex. MJ has the perspective of balancing a business she created with taking care of her husband and children. Between the two, they have split responsibilities which help to keep the podcast successful and profitable. “We are lucky to have a great balance with sharing the tasks of full podcast production from editing to website blogs and social media to marketing and promotions,” says MJ. “We both curate all content and ideas together and on main duties, I do editing and Bree handles social media.” It’s a legit business all the way around complete with live events, sponsors, merchandise, etc., and they do it all themselves.

Few people have been able to capitalize on podcasting the way they have. The advice they have for young women wanting to get in to the podcasting business? “You should have a passion to do it and be in it to win it, because it’s work,” says MJ. “It’s all about consistency, at whatever pace you want to release episodes (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc.) Don’t just have an idea and record a few episodes and fall off. Think of content you can keep consistent and are excited to share,” she says. According to Bree, “If you are doing this with a partner make sure they can put their whole heart in to it and that you both can balance each other out. Plus, you want to agree on the way you want to run your business,” she says. “If you are doing this solo or with a partner, my best piece of advice for you is to have about 5 episodes banked when you launch so you have content to put out before you really get in to your groove.”

The most gratifying thing to both MJ and Bree is the openness of their listeners. “I love the stories from people in long term relationships or marriages sharing their struggles that no one really talks about, from fighting to sex phases, and even being petty, because it helps us realize we aren’t the only ones feeling a certain way and we are all dealing with ups and downs,” says MJ. Bree says she’s particularly touched by one listener who told her that she was so happy they were keeping the podcasts going through all the COVID-19 madness because she needs as much normalcy as possible. “Little things like that remind me that what we are doing matters,” she says. So what’s next for MJ and Bree and “Keeping It Casual?” Both agree they want to do more live events when “Social Distancing” is no longer the norm. “The Alternate Babe Tour – Keeping It Casual Live Events,” says MJ, “we really want to travel and meet our listeners in other states and countries! We bring a wild and fun interactive show highlighting different perspectives on various topics from sex, to dating, to relationships , etc., that everyone can relate to. We want to be able to one day (again) shake the hands of the people who motivate us the most, our listeners.”

For upcoming LIVE SHOWS or to be a FEATURED GUEST: IG @KeepingItCasualPodcast / FB @KeepingItCasualPodcast Find the babes: IG @MJRadioDiva / TW @MJRadioDiva / FB @MJRadioDiva IG @BreeMixed / TW @Breemixed / FB @BriannaNicole