Charese Fruge Talks To Nikki Nite

This article was originally posted in Women to Watch on January 21, 2020

She’s a five-time award winner and member of the Entercom Number One Club for her work with the company in Greenville and Sacramento, and currently the VP/Programming & Operations for Entercom/Austin where she oversees four stations. Nikki Nite also serves nationally as the Format Captain for Entercom’s Adult Contemporary brands. She’s a Voice Actor, happily married with two daughters and has one of the most refreshing approaches to finding the perfect balance that I’ve seen. It’s almost as if she’s letting us all off the hook for being human and not always being able to find it.

“Overall, it’s been my experience that it is rare to have every facet of my life in perfect balance every day,” said Nite. “I use to strive for that, and then I realized for me, balance comes in waves. I’d say balancing a successful career and family is being flexible with it and realizing it is all ebbs and flows rather than putting pressure on myself to have every single day of my life be perfectly balanced. I also have a wonderfully supportive husband who is a wonderful father. That’s a huge part of making it work,” according to Nite.

I’ve known Nikki for about 20 years now, and I am just learning her secret. I wish I had known it earlier in my career. It’s one that took an enormous amount of pressure off me when I asked her about finding balance. A lot of us in the business try to do everything ourselves because we are perfectionists. We have no idea what balance is.

“I outsource,” she says. Which leads me to believe that “Solution Based” is one of the first skills that should be listed on her resume. “I wrote an article once called Sometimes You Can’t Bake the Cake,” Nite said. “It was a story about the year I bought my daughter a cake from the grocery store instead of baking it for her myself. I had placed so much importance on the task of baking that cake. I had done it every year before, and this year, I just couldn’t get it done. But what was really important here? My daughter didn’t care that her cake came from the grocery store. What mattered was the time we had together making a mess eating it and celebrating. It’s such a simple story, but it really illustrated for me that it’s okay to outsource some of your “to do’s” to have time for things that are more important. It’s all about choices.”

The reason she chose to make radio her career? “I was always drawn to the medium. My love of music was a big part of it. But beyond that, I loved the personalities. I always felt like they were talking right to me,” says Nite. “As the #1 reach medium in the U.S., radio has the ability to communicate so personally with an audience. It’s the ability to make that emotional connection and engage an audience that drives me.”

“I set goals and I worked toward them,” explained Nite as she describes her path to success. “I sought out opportunities to learn and grow and took risks when those opportunities presented themselves, like moving to new places and stepping into new roles. I also aligned myself with people who were supportive and believed in me and I didn’t waste time on situations that didn’t fuel my growth.”

Something that keeps Nikki motivated these days is watching her team members achieve their own success as well. “One of the things that is meaningful to me is seeing people who have worked for me continue to succeed in their roles or achieve new career goals, such as going on to be programmers themselves.” As for new comers to the business, “I would say network and get to know as many people as you can. Be curious. Ask insightful questions. Learn. Be willing to take risks. And go do as much as you can in as many areas as you can and discover what you’re really passionate about and what you’re good at. Put in the work – It will come back to you.”

What are you looking forward to in 2020?

“At Entercom, we continue to invest in new ways to bring the digital space and the traditional broadcast space together in exciting ways for our listeners. Through our RADIO.COM digital platform, we are developing more ways for our listeners to consume top-level content whenever and wherever they want it. We can ALL look forward to the changes that radio as we know it will undergo as the digital landscape continues to grow and evolve, and our industry grows and evolves along with it.”

Follow her on Facebook @ Nikki Nite.