Helen Little: ‘Radio is More Like An Evolution of a Medium’

Helen Little: ‘Radio is More Like An Evolution of a Medium’

Music is one of the only constants that has and will probably always exist for us as a society. Be it the sounds of nature or the rhythms of early tribes or the nursery rhymes we hear from the lips of our mothers and grandmothers growing up. Whether melodies, the timing of the songs or anything associated with music, it will stay a part of our lives.

The thing that may change is how and/or where we hear it. This is where radio plays an important part in our everyday lives. Radio is still an integral part of the human experience. At one point in time, we’d only have one place to consume it.

Not anymore. With us being able to listen it to it online, on our phone and if we are lying down in bed at home, we can bring it up on the television screen. And for this reason, Helen Little, will always be relevant and have a place where we can hear her voice. On any weekday afternoon, you can turn on New York’s 106.7’s LiteFM or go online, no, scratch that, click on your smartphone app and catch her on iHeartRadio.

Little took a moment to speak to BlackEnterprise.com about how the landscape of radio has changed, penning her first novel and transitioning between industries.

BlackEnterprise.com: You’ve been involved in radio for a number of years, what would you say is the biggest change that you’ve noticed over the years and has radio gotten better or worse?

The biggest change I’ve seen in radio in my 30-plus-year career is how it is now more of a complement in the media landscape as opposed to the main attraction it was when I started. Radio was the first place people went for immediate, local information, the newest in music and entertainment, and news updates. It was our social media of the time. Now it’s an important vehicle in the way we connect in the current media landscape. Radio works in partnership with other media options–online, TV, mobile, social–to help share, spread, inform, and connect with audiences. I don’t look at it as better or worse, but more like an evolution of a medium. I’m in a great position to be a part of people’s lives for a long time to come.

Are there any personal goals that you haven’t completed yet and if so, what is it and do you think you will do it anytime soon?

I’ve always got goals I want to accomplish. They differ from goals I had and accomplished in the earlier part of my career. One of them is to enjoy my current position at 106.7 LiteFM/WLTW in New York until I’m ready to retire. (That’s a word you rarely hear in this business, retire.) I’m also interested in taking my broadcasting experience onto the television side, continuing my love for writing, motivational speaking, and covering and hosting events.

Do you have any other passions that you like to indulge in that people wouldn’t know about and you’d like to discuss?

Writing is a huge passion of mine. I’m penning my first novel, which is quite a journey. I’m also extremely passionate about sports. If I were to jump head first into something new, it would be in sportscasting or writing. I’m also passionate about smiley faces, I love them!

You’ve worked in several states doing radio, how did you adjust to different musical climates and make it work to your advantage?

With so many music delivery options today, you can be anywhere and listen to anything. For example, if you live in Chicago but love D.C. Go-go music, you can listen online, on your phone, stream it on your TV or any number of ways of finding the music you want to enjoy. I still believe in radio supporting their local artists when there’s a vibrant local scene that’s supported by the people that live in that market. However, you can be a part of a music community from anywhere you have access. Before the options we have now, the first thing I did when I moved to a new city was to go out an explore the music scene–the clubs, the retail outlets, and the live music venues. I got to know the city, the people, the history or what they listened to before I lived there and what was important to them musically.

Although they go hand in hand, how were you able to work in radio and then transition into working at a record label? Was the change difficult for you being on the other side of the music?

I’ve never been one to have trouble with transitions. Part of that I attribute to being flexible and welcoming change. Going from radio to records was a choice I made and the easiest transitions come from changes you choose. At the time I saw how my radio experience brought an intrinsic value to the record business. I brought a unique perspective at a time when the record business itself was changing. iTunes was first introduced when I was working on the record side. It was very exciting to see the direction the business was going at the time. The biggest difference and why I returned to radio is that it’s more about connecting with a larger array of people. It’s about listeners, clients, artists, vendors, and more. I saw more opportunity to do what I like, which is working with people.