Casual Conversation with Olympia D...
If you’re wondering what it’s like to have girl-talk with one of the coolest and fiercest radio personalities in Charlotte, North Carolina, I got your answers below:
Olympia D. was full of transparent character and because of her amazing energy we cranked the interview right up.
Occupation: Assistant Program Director for Radio One: Old School 105.3, Praise 100.9, and 92.7 The Block. Olympia is also the face and inspiration behind the WBTV/Bounce TV segment: Raising Brilliance (Airs Friday night at 8:00pm Eastern time on 1255).
Age: Mind ya business
Likes: Working out with girlfriends
Dislikes: Doesn’t like reporting hard news
Favorite person: Daughter Brilliance
Favorite music: All genres (Lil Wayne and Future fan)
Favorite radio station: Pandora
Mental Escape: Her parent’s house
Nonprofits: Susan G. Komen, A Better World, American Cancer Society, and St. Jude
Motto: Turn your negative into a positive situation
Reality: I'm nice but I'm not a pushover
How long have you worked in radio? I’ve been in radio for like 20 years, and all of my adult life pretty much. I took a small little break right after I had my daughter and I started working for Enterprise Car Rental because I thought I could be a regular person-- and hated it (Gag!). I needed that little break. But, at that point, I wanted to break back into the radio business.
As a woman who wears so many hats, do you feel like you have to prove yourself? Um, I do feel like sometimes you have to prove yourself. I’ve coined myself as the type of person, if you ever let me in your building, you’re never going to let me go because once I get in there, I will show my worth. I will work my behind off to learn as much as I can possibly learn. So, if you do decide that you want to go in another direction, you’re not going to want to get rid of me. I do too much, and that has been my saving grace throughout the years.
I can honestly say that God has blessed me to the point that I have never been fired on the job. Let me knock on wood. In radio that’s unheard of because people always get let go.
In what way have you stayed in radio without being let go? I’ve made myself marketable, and I learn as much as I can. I’m the type of person that I can work in production if I have to, and I can do on-air. I can work almost anything. My job and my title is assistant program director. So, I can program music, do on-air, I can write if I need to, and that has been the key for me to not get fired, and be on the job.
Radio stations float formats all the time. At one point, I was on the flip squad. Flip squad it when one radio station flips another radio station, or a company flips another radio station.
That happens when they get rid of all the people. So, instead of getting rid of me, they just moved me to the next city. At one point, I was working in Fayetteville, NC. I was working on Power 107 and they flipped that station. The people from the country station in Huntersville, Alabama came to Fayetteville, NC, and I went to Alabama for a quick weekend (Giggles).
Who’s your dream guest and why? My dream guest would be Oprah Winfrey. I think that she has blazed the trail for where I’m trying to go. She has done the radio, and she’s done the TV. She’s branched out and has done her own network. She has been the person that monopolized every opportunity by building her own brand. And now, she has helped people to build their brands. That’s what I want to do.
Let’s talk about Raising Brilliance. Well, my daughter’s name is Brilliance, and the platform that we do on WBTV/ Bounce TV is Raising Brilliance. I think every parent, in his or her own mind, is trying to raise the best and brightest child possible. So, even though my daughter’s name is Brilliance, this is what we’re all trying to do. We’re all trying to raise a brilliant and well-rounded kid. That name just kind of spoke to me.
How do you balance motherhood with your career, especially with the TV show? That was one of my goals, to get back into TV. I wasn’t sure how we were going to do it. I didn’t know how we were going to get into it. I wanted to get back into TV, but I didn’t want to jump straight into it.
When I was single with no kids, I had nobody else but me. So, I could go hard in the paint and sleep all day if I wanted. When you have a child, you have to keep things into consideration. They have desires and things that they want to do.
Planning was a real big issue for me, and just making sure I have time to spend with her. I got everything that she needs, so she doesn’t feel left out. I’ve been very blessed to combine her within my job. She comes to work with me and events with me if it’s a family friendly event. There’s been times that I’ve hired a babysitter to come to a concert with us. Babysitters sometimes sit backstage with us. They go and do their thing, my child is with me, and I don’t feel like I’m missing out on valuable time with my child.
How did you come up with the name for your TV show? One day I was sitting at home folding clothes, and then I said, “I got it! Raising Brilliance.” Kim Fields, plays a piece of it cause she’s got Raising Ridley. So, I have Raising Brilliance. I mean, that’s what we’re doing. We are all raising a brilliance in our household. We are making sure that the kids are getting what they need as far as learning. We put them in athletics, and we send them to all these classes like tutoring.
Everyone is trying to raise the best child that they possibly can. You know, who doesn’t want their child to be brilliant? The segment is real wide open and because you are raising brilliance, it tackles family issues, it tackles issues with your child. It hits on events that may be happening that can increase your child’s learning; enhance their education, and enhance their artistic abilities.
It hits on topics that while you are raising your child, you cannot forget about yourself. It helps women, single moms, and single dads. It has provided a broad platform that doesn’t lock me inside of a box. I’m pretty grateful that WBTV and Bounce TV accepted us. I have a legacy and I’m not mad about that.
Who was your favorite interview with? Um, I’d have to say my interview was with Donnie Mcclurkin. He was such an open book. A lot of people slammed him, talking about his sexuality, and talking about his stage of homosexuality. When I did my interview with him, I asked him about it. He didn’t run from it. He didn’t get upset about it. He explained how he thought he became a homosexual and the fact that he was molested at the age of 8 years old by an uncle.
He never got a chance to choose his sexuality. At one point in his life, yeah, he was the fire and brimstone type preacher. He had to take a close look at himself. Once he did that, some skeletons fell out his own closet, and it made him reconsider how he handles people and operate. When I say, he was the most honest.
He was the most honest. We talked about the church being almost the breeding ground for homosexuality—the deacons, the pastors, and with church being that way. He thought he was going to find refuge in the church, and only found more of what he was trying to run from.
How important is it to incorporate social media with what you do daily? I’m going to be honest with you, I never been a big person on social media. I hated it. People share too much of their life on social media. Radio One has a policy that you’re supposed to post on all social media sites, and not just your sites, but the radio’s social media site as well (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram).
Technically, you’re working six different entities at one time. At this point and time, if you want to keep up with the millennials, you have to do it because for them, they’re on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snap Chat, all day. They don’t have one way that they get their stuff. They have so many ways that they do it, and they aren’t always listening to the radio.
Social Media allows you to reach that non-traditional audience that you may not reach on radio. Unbelievably, the radio has social media classes because it’s that instrumental.
What is some advice that you can give up and coming program directors? I’d have to say, schedule everything cause you need it. Maintain some type of balance within your life. In radio, it’s easy to get sucked up into it because what you do for fun, has become your job. It is fun until you get into the management aspect of it and it’s not so much fun.
The fun is the concerts, events, and things like that. The work is the blogs, writing promos, scripts, meetings, and things like that. Stay focused so you can get where you need to be. Learn as much as you can learn and don’t be afraid to take on new challenges.
Don’t have it in your mind that if it doesn’t make dollars, it doesn’t make sense. Some things do make sense. Sometimes you have to crawl before you walk. Sometimes you have to prove yourself in order to get the other things you want.
What do you do to relax since you’re so busy? I don’t really get relaxation. I’m a single mom and it’s just me and my daughter. When she goes away with her dad, I always got something going. When I do get a few hours, I am with my boyfriend—it’s my sofa (she laughs).
From when you started, do you think there’s more women working in radio? Oh, there are more women now. Back in the day, you only had one chick that worked in the midday, and one woman that worked the morning show. Now, you have an all-girl team. If you look at The View, they are an all-woman team. It used to be that when you had too many women on a show, it was a whole lot of arguing and a lot of cat fights. Well, now, that’s not so. The View has proven that that’s not true. Women in radio now, are doing the nightshift and stuff.
You can catch Olympia D. on WBTV Bounce TV every Friday night at 8:00pm EST, as well as onair, Monday through Saturday from 10am-3pm EST standard time.