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Cheryl Jackson spoke with Sara Hearn of the DC Examiner about her beginnings, her thoughts on the music industry, keeping balance in her life. She also offered some solid advice to aspiring artists.

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Cheryl Jackson is one of the most recognizable voices on the radio in the Washington, D.C. area. As host of the 3-7 p.m. on slot on Radio One‘s Praise 104.1, Cheryl Jackson has won the hearts of those who faithfully tune in to hear the voice they have come to love and trust during their afternoon drive time. When Jackson steps into the community, she is greeted like a relative or family friend. To many, she’s just “Cheryl.”

Armed with a degree in communications from Salisbury State University, the DC native quickly landed a position on radio at WDIH where she was mentored by Bishop George Copeland. Her pastor, the late Elder Ricky McCrimmon was instrumental in getting her air check submitted to Radio One’s Cathy Hughes which led to her working at a station in Baltimore for four years. Thus began her illustrious 23-year career in the world of radio.

Getting started in D.C.

“I met Matt Anderson and he was Program Director for Heaven 1580. He offered me a job in D.C. so I worked for him and I ended up programming the station when he left to do television. I left 1580 and started working forRadio One in 2010 so here I am.”

In 2006, under Jackson’s leadership, Heaven 1580 AM received the Stellar Award for large market radio station of the year. In 2008 she received the Stellar Award for Radio Announcer of the Year.

With so many clamoring to get onto the airwaves. What advice would you offer to aspiring artists?

“I usually say to them that your best publicity is yourself. Radio is a great way to expose and get your music out, but your best publicity is yourself and so I normally start with artists who can create a local buzz. Get the buzz within their church and then their community and then from there, a regional buzz and then begin to work on your national buzz, because what’s happening With radio now there are just so many large companies, just like Radio One. Most of our music adds are based on research and so it really goes out to our listening audience. Before adding a song, they’ll sample it and ask the audience what they think about it. If it tests well, they’ll put it in rotation.”

The radio veteran goes on to explain the reality of radio.

“The name of the game for radio is ratings and revenue. Marketing has been the number one tool for airing music. They send out surveys to those who are part of our Praise listeners club and they get a feel of what people think about it before they actually ad it. That’s just one company you still have your Clear Channel and others. There are some independent companies with internet stream who are not doing market research. They are basing it on what they know about music, so there are ways to be heard. My advice to those artists is to make sure you get that buzz, get people involved in making sure they know who you are, so when it gets to the program director to hear the song, it’s familiar.”

Check out the entire interview on examiner.com

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