PHOTOS BY L SHOT PHOTOGRAPHY & JOHN WASHINGTON JR.
Meet Jazzy T. Podcaster. Radio host. Entrepreneur. And the true definition of a hustler. By “hustle” I mean a woman who can multi-task, get things done, and evokes a response from others. Originally from Detriot, Michigan, she nows calls Rochester home along with her husband and two girls.
Recently we had the pleasure of interviewing Jazzy for our cover of She Hustles Talks. An online women’s magazine featuring female entrepreneurs and lady bosses who hustle everywhere!
I am an entrepreneur, radio broadcaster and podcast producer known as Jazzy T. I am a wife and mother of two girls. I’ve been a hustler since I was 16, interviewing celebrities for a local cable show in Detroit, MI called Video Vibe. I graduated from Michigan State University with honors. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Telecommunications specializing in digital media and advertising. I got my first radio gig as a weekend host at Power 96.5 WQHH-FM highlighting independent artists and DJs on segments including the Freestyle Fiasco, Lansing Live and the Saturday night mix show. While still in school I also worked for ESPN as a production assistant for College Gameday and interned with the Creative Services department of BET in Washington DC.
What does the word “hustle” mean to you?
To hustle is to get the job done by any means necessary. A hustler does not wait for opportunities, she creates them and blazes a trail for the next generation. To hustle also means to line dance. This was the premise of my wellness company, Hustle for Health. Established in 2013 in Buffalo, NY Hustle for Health Programs offers weekly physical, social and emotional wellness activities for children, adults and seniors at local community centers.
What made you decide to get into podcasting?
I have been producing radio and television shows for over 20 years so when the pandemic hit and my group fitness business was put on hold, it was the perfect time to get into podcasting. My friend Falicia Fracassi, owner of Fracassi Lashes, came to me with an idea of producing a podcast teaching women how to start, grow and manage a million dollar business. That’s when our first podcast Beauty Boss Millionaire was born. Falicia was the host and I took care of all of the editing and distribution of the daily episodes. Word quickly spread about the podcast and my production services and I was contacted to help other thought leaders create their podcasts.
Tell us about JazzCast Pros. What is your mission behind the platform you have created?
Our mission is to educate, empower and inspire women and people of color to attain social equity, become financially independent and maintain healthy relationships with themselves and others. We accomplish this goal by giving a voice to thought leaders via podcasting. I firmly believe the path to ascension starts with the understanding that we are all here on Earth to share our unique gifts and talents with the world. We attract sponsors and advertisers who offer advertisers who offer products and services that enrich the quality of life of our listeners. Ill intentions and false promises will not be tolerated. JazzCast Pros is about love and unity, never fear and separation. If this message resonates with you then we’d love to connect with you.
Who are some of the strong women that you feel have inspired you throughout your career?
My mom has been my biggest inspiration. She raised me as a single woman on public assistance. Yet we always had a warm place to live and safe reliable transportation. She ran away from an abusive home when she was a young teenager and often slept in the local park. However she maintained the will and determination to continue to attend and graduate high school. She always told me that I would be the first in the family to attend college and eventually change the world. This allowed me to dream big and apply to and be accepted to several prominent Universities including Arizona State, California State Northridge and Michigan State University where I got my Bachelor’s with high honors. She showed me unconditional love and instilled in me the confidence to succeed in any venture that I enter. As a mother of two daughters I aim to be an inspiration for my girls to look up to and realize that the world is theirs!
What do you feel is the real key to women empowering other women?
At JazzCast Pros we respect and embrace each other’s differences as well as commonalities. That being said, women must realize that we are not competitors. We are sisters who must support each other. As a veteran broadcaster for more than 20 years it is my honor to provide a platform that identifies and amplifies everyday women with a story to tell that can help another woman on a similar path.
When did the entrepreneur big bite you?
My first business JR Galactic Casting was formed in 2010 with my husband Ruben. At the time our home state of Michigan offered the highest film tax incentive in the nation. I had just returned home from living and working in Hollywood; doing casting and pre-production for large studios like Warner Bros. My husband is experienced in staffing and government contracting. So together we were able to create a film production support company. You can search JR Galactic Casting on IMDB for a complete list of our credits.
Tell us about some of your goals and dreams for you personally and professionally.
My goal is to create a podcast recording studio with an in-house marketing department.
I am looking to partner with the best editors, writers, producers, graphic designers and digital marketers to build a one stop shop for positive podcasters.
I see myself growing a team of 20 employees with a network of 25 monetized podcasts earning a quarter of a million dollars in the next 5 years.
What are some of the pros and cons of being a female entrepreneur, especially in such an ever changing field? What do you feel sets you apart from others?
As a woman with a microphone and a major platform I recognize that being a public figure gives me unique access to people and opportunities. Community leaders are often eager to work with me because they’ve heard me on the radio. This also presents a unique challenge as I must distinguish myself as an entrepreneur, not just a radio DJ. Sometimes potential clients come to me because they want to work with the radio station and I have to explain that my company can support their marketing and advertising needs outside of the broadcasting company where I serve as a host.
If you could do one thing you have never done what would it be and why?
I would love to buy a winter home in a tropical climate so that I can continue to soak up the sun and combat the vitamin D deficiency I’ve acquired since moving back East.
What motivated you to step up and start your own business, and especially in podcasting?
A few months after I started working as a producer/editor for my first client, I realized that I needed to set up an LLC and a business bank account to keep track of all of my income and expenses. This was a new process for me because I only had a partnership business back in Michigan and New York has many other hoops to jump through when establishing an LLC. The one good thing about the pandemic was that all of the tasks I needed to complete were online and I had my business registered and bank account set up in 48 hours, without ever leaving my house.
What is one piece of advice you have been given that you have never forgotten ?
Know your audience! Even in radio, us presenters are given the station “avatar” to visualize while we are talking on air. At WJLB-FM where I worked in Detroit, the program director gave me a photo of a 26 year old Black woman with a short biography detailing her family and work life. Every time I open up the mic I imagine her listening on the other end of the speaker.
This is the same advice I give to my podcast hosts. It’s very important to know who you are talking to in broadcasting as well as podcasting. You should set up your listener’s Avatar profile before you even plan out your first episode.
If you had to pick one service that you offer that you would consider your “specialty” what would it be and why?
Story editing! I recently hired a couple of self-proclaimed editors to lighten my load and I quickly realized that I am a unicorn editor! These men who claimed to be expert editors quickly punked out once they saw the amount of time and effort it takes to clean up a 45 – 60 minute dialogue between podcast hosts and guests. But for me, this is something I take pride in. I actually enjoy it and don’t really care how long it takes to make the conversation flow correctly. This is key to maximizing the listener’s experience.
What’s the most important risk you ever taken? How did it play out for you?
Deciding not to renew my contract as the morning traffic reporter on News10 NBC. My last day was November 2019. My plan was to spend the majority of my time growing Hustle for Health Programs. I quickly secured 4 locations in the Rochester region with state and corporate clients looking for healthy team building exercises. Business was booming in January and February. But when Covid hit in mid-March. All in-person activities were canceled and my business lost all of that potential revenue. Unfortunately, even when the world started to reopen, my clients continued to work remotely and I was unable to make the transition to online classes.
This forced me to look for a new way to make money that did not require a group setting. That’s how JazzCast Pros was born.
Your network determines your net worth. So I always look for networking opportunities to meet, collaborate and learn from with other high quality people. Sometimes the best way to enter into new circles is to add value to conversations on social audio apps like Clubhouse and build yourself up as an authority in your industry. It’s also important to follow other people on social media who are successful in your space and be inspired to try something new.
What have you found to be challenging in your business? What do you feel you have been successful at?
My biggest challenge right now is finding the right people to help edit and produce the shows. As I mentioned in question #13, most editors I’ve come across do not measure up to the standard of quality that I personally provide for our podcasters.
I have been very successful in acquiring new customers. I have not done any advertising or promotion for JazzCast Pros podcast production services. All of my clients have been referred by other clients or from my targeted engagement on social media.
What is your vision for the future? Where do you see yourself in the next 3 years? What about 5 years?
In five years I see JazzCast Pros established as a brick and mortar production studio and branding agency. I see our space offering space to record and collaborate with writers, hosts, editors, marketing experts and graphic designers. We will have space for video production and screenings. A kitchen full of snacks, smoothies and coffee to keep the staff fueled up for long days.
Short term goal is to fully monetize every podcast on the network with sponsors, paid subscribers and advertisers. JazzCast Pros Network will be known as the place to go for empowering information for women who make things happen!
What do you think helped you the most to make a career as a woman?
I think the key to my success is my self confidence and motivation to do things that no one in my circle has ever done before. I’ve never been the one to wait for opportunities, I create them for myself and others! I suppose being a good looking woman opened some doors in this male- dominated industry but it’s also brought about unwanted attention. Men love you, jealous women hate you. But at the end of the day my only competition is in the mirror.
What do you think is the biggest problem facing young entrepreneurs, especially females today?
In this digital world, young entrepreneurs are expected to be good at everything from creating content, marketing and monetizing. It’s a blessing and a curse to have so much technology at our fingertips. Many young women lack the ability to build genuine connections in person. They have a perfect image online but inside many of us suffer from anxiety and depression. This is something I realized while studying the download numbers of our mental health podcast “Healthy Illness”. Although the show was created for women over 35, our core audience is actually men and women 14-24 who experienced increased mental illness during the pandemic.
If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would that be?
Stay in California! Put up with the drama at the post production house a little longer and make a name for yourself as a Hollywood producer.
Do not have a baby during your honeymoon phase of marriage. Travel to foreign countries and experience other cultures.
What would you say is your greatest area of expertise and why?
Broadcasting and public relations. Besides studying this subject in college, I continue to study and adapt best practices throughout my 23 years in the media industry.
What is your favorite form of social media and why?
Clubhouse! Because it’s like a live podcast. Only on Clubhouse do you have a chance to interact with other professionals on a level playing field. Every voice matters! No matter how many followers you have.
Have you drawn professional inspiration from other women? If so, who and why?
Yes Falicia Fracassi showed me what it takes to be a self made millionaire and a mom. I’ve also had a chance to work with female producers and directors in Hollywood.
Radio wise, I look up to Angie Martinez.
Tell our audience something people may not know about you?
I love with my whole heart. Once we become close friends, co-workers, business or romantic partners I will continue to care about you for the rest of my life. I’m very protective of the people I love.
Where will we see you next?
My goal is to take the stage at Podcast Movement 2023, the largest podcast conference in North America.
What podcasts do you listen to inspire or learn from?
Grow the Show is a podcast about podcasting! I followed this show from the beginning of my podcasting journey. After making a connection with the host at PodMov 22 I landed an interview on episode #84 “How to kill the bad habits you learned for the radio with Jazzy T”
I also learned a lot about hiring employees and maintaining excellent customer service from the Beauty Boss Millionaire podcast.