Charese Fruge’ Talks To Vanessa “V” Gomez

This article was originally posted to AllAccess’ “Women To Watch” series, written by Charese Fruge on June 8, 2021 

Vanessa “V” Gomez got in to radio by winning a contest at the age of 19. Most would call it fate, despite her love for the trade, which began at an early age in her hometown of San Diego. On June 1st, 2021, El Dorado Broadcasters in Yuma, AZ, announced she would be the new APD/Midday air personality for Hot AC KQSR (Mix 100.9). She’s expected to start Thursday, June 10th.

Here’s how it all started for V. “I remember getting ready for school in 9th grade (I believe) and I was listening to ‘Big Boy’s Neighborhood’ on Power 106,” she says. “I had a stereo with the old school antenna and just barely got Los Angeles signals in San Diego! That morning a light bulb went on in my head and I thought to myself, wow– could I be on the radio one day and could that be my life? It seemed like the most fun job in the world. And that is how it all began. I knew right then that I wanted to be on the radio!”

V is what I like to call the new breed of radio talent, young, fresh out of school, passionate, eager to learn and not afraid to do the work. Let’s look at a little of her history. “I got my first On-Air/Producer position with XMOR Blazin’ 98.9 (San Diego),” she says. “I then went on to work weekends at KWIE, Wild 96.1 (San Bernardino) while beginning college. Later I worked at NBC as a Broadcast Writer and at iHeartMedia as a jock on KHTS Channel 93.3 in San Diego. Next, I moved to 99.1 KGGI (Riverside), then KSSX Jam’n 95.7 (San Diego) while finishing my Broadcast Journalism degree from California State University, Los Angeles. All of that lead me to my newest adventure with El Dorado Broadcasters as the APD/Midday.”

It sounds easy, but it wasn’t for V. “I graduated high school and took an internship in which I got fired for not turning in one assignment,” she says. “After that devastating moment, I decided to not give up. One year later, the competing radio station was looking for a night show co-host and I entered the contest as the last applicant. After competing with three other girls and having listeners vote for their favorite personality online, David Banner announced that I won the contest,” says V. “Just like that, my world changed, and I was on-air five nights a week. Soon after, I was given a Sunday morning show that I solely hosted. I learned a big lesson by getting fired as an intern. I learned the importance of being organized and making every task a top priority. That lesson really prepared me for my first on-air job.”

It’s early in her career for V, but she is excited about several big accomplishments. “Completing my B.A. degree from CSU/LA in Broadcast Journalism is one of my favorite accomplishments. School has never come easy for me, but I wanted to finish school and prove to myself that I could do it,” she says. “It took a lot of work, and I am proud that I saw it through. Some of my other accomplishments would include the incredible radio stations that I’ve had the honor to work at, and the wonderful community events that I have successfully executed including food drives, sock drives, and Christmas Tree drives.”

It wasn’t always an easy path for V to get to where she is today. “Staying encouraged is a must! She says. “Let’s be honest, radio is an incredible field filled with so much fun and excitement, but on the flip side, you have to put in that work! You can easily find yourself missing family functions and holidays because you are scheduled to work. It’s in those times that you need to remember your goals and remember why you fell in love with radio in the first place, to keep you going.” Great advice for any newcomer to the business looking to succeed. “I would definitely say to get clear about why you want to get into radio–the reason that it is important is because you will inevitably need to remind yourself of this reason throughout your career when you may feel tired or discouraged,” says V. ”The next thing I would say is that if you feel called to be in radio, please take a leap of faith and get started in the field! There is a special space that is reserved for you, you just have to work hard, be authentic, and never give up. There are always opportunities with your name on it.”

That’s why V learned early on that mentors in this business are extremely important. “Mentoring has played a huge role in my career! It is amazing what a professional friendship with someone senior to you in your field can do for your confidence and for your perspective,” she says. “I recommend seeking a mentor who 1. Has knowledge to share with you and 2. You connect or vibe well with. The reason why you need to naturally flow with this person is that you want to create a comfortable space between you and them where you can freely come to them with questions, ask them for their professional advice, and receive constructive criticism to fine tune your talent. You want to create a partnership where you both feel comfortable instead of obligated, and you both develop an investment in your dynamic and in your future successes. You should be rooting for your mentor as much as they are rooting for you.”

In the few months I’ve known V, I’ve been so impressed by her focus and passion. To me, she is an “old radio soul” and has already learned so much from her brief experience. She reminds me a little of myself when I was her age, so passionate about radio with no concept of fear on the brain. “So far I’ve learned that working hard will make you stand out,” she says. “It’s important to always remember that people are watching you, and they are paying attention. Even if you don’t see yourself growing in your current role, I’ve learned that working hard is always the right move. Once you have a reputation of getting to work on time, being present, being available, being flexible, being willing to learn, and working well with others, you’ll always have a job. Your current colleagues could be great references in the future.”

Wow, I see so much success in this young woman’s future. She inspires me and I’m almost twice her age. V is going to be a star! “My dream is to combine my love of radio with my love of helping others and giving back,” she says. “My thoughts often travel to how I can merge and maximize my two loves and that keeps me up at night. In five years, I see myself being on-air and running events that help charities and the community. I plan on helping others on a higher scale,” she says. She’s also got a plan to stay balanced while doing so. “Taking walks with my puppy Bono makes me so happy and definitely helps create the balance in life and work that I need.”

To say she’s anxious to get started in her new role is an understatement. “I am so excited to bring energy to the airwaves at Mix 100.9. I can’t wait to connect with the listeners and be a part of their day. I am also thrilled to take on the role of Assistant Program Director! I am looking forward to hitting the ground running, learning, working hard, and making new friends!”

Follow V Gomez @thevgomez on Instagram and @VGomez_OnTheAir in Twitter