Actress. Singer. Comedienne.
Those are generally not the careers people think of when they hear KMBZ’s long-time talk show host Darla Jaye on the air. But those are a few of the things she did before settling in on her award-winning radio career.
Darla was nice enough to discuss her media career with Bottom Line Communications and how she landed at KMBZ seven years ago, where she has become a major on-air presence. She has been recognized by “Talkers” magazine as a top talker six straight years, and can now be heard nightly on her highly-rated “KMBZ Live With Darla Jaye” show from 6-9 p.m. weekday nights on the dial at 980AM/98.1 FM.
Name: Darla Jaye
Title: Talk Host “KMBZ Live with Darla Jaye”
Hometown: Minneapolis, MN.
Music major and theater minor-Simpson College, Indianola, IA.
How long have you been in your current position?
7 years on July 5, 2012
How did you get into your chosen field?
I was an actress and a singer in Minneapolis and had just finished a comedy show at Dudley Riggs Brave New Workshop (alot like Chicago’s 2nd City). I was told I would have a major role in the next show, but it was given to someone else. I was devastated and tired of waiting tables, so decided to check out a local broadcasting school called Brown Institute.
While studying broadcasting, I got an internship at a local radio station and started doing their female voice spots, cuz I was the only woman there. A man was touring the station and listened to me recording a fruit basket commercial as Mae West, and offered me a morning news job in Lafayette, IN. I packed up what little I had and moved to a cornfield and the rest is history!
WKJM-Lafayette, IN., WKLQ-Grand Rapids, MI. & WGRD-Grand Rapids, WMMS-Cleveland, OH., KIOI-San Francisco, WLLC-Detroit, WVNN-Hunstville, AL., and KMBZ-Kansas City.
Talkers Magazine-Talkers Top 250 Talk Hosts 6yrs. in a row, First Female solo Talk Host in Kansas City, KAB Top Radio Personality-2nd Place-2008, Graduate-Eisenhower Excellence in Public Service 2010, FBI Citizens Academy-Kansas City
Has your chosen field changed over the years?
When I started in music radio doing morning shows (co-host always), I was usually the only woman on the air at each station. When job hunting I often heard “We already have A woman here.”
After several years in Rock radio, trying to break into Talk, I was told that women weren’t good Talk Hosts, and that men wouldn’t listen, from several program directors. There are a lot more women in radio today, from management to on air.
Obviously as technology marches forward, there are way more responsibilities then just the on air product. Facebook, Twitter, Texting, and whatever comes next!
Who do you follow on Twitter?
President Obama, other Talk Radio Hosts, Bottom Line Communications (of course!!) and all the national & local news media.
Single. No kids.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
That I am still excited to go to work every day, as there is always something new to talk about. Being able to be creative and focus on what I want my show to be and say. The ability to be a part of the community and talk about issues important to my audience, and to help charitable organizations.
I can’t think of a “least rewarding” that won’t get me in trouble!
Did you ever consider another career?
I wanted to be an actress and singer before I got into radio. I am also very interested in being involved with the Military, particularly Veterans. I also considered politics. I seriously considered running for Congress Ks. 3rd District in 2010.
Do you have a mentor?
I have had several radio mentors through out my career. Mama Jaye has been my lifelong mentor.
What is the strangest thing you have come across in your job?
Like many in the entertainment industry, lots of radio people are very insecure!
What is your favorite thing to do in Kansas City?
Go to the Plaza and try new restaurants all over the metro.
What do you do in your free time?
Read, work out (a new thing for me!), shop, go to movies, hang out wiith friends.
I’m a voracious reader, I sing, write and follow politics.
“People might be surprised to know that you …”
Have a huge heart and a very soft mushy side.
What are your favorite TV shows?
“60 Minutes” and anything on HGTV and “Chopped.”
Who was the biggest celebrity you ever interviewed?
Barbra Streisand. She was my idol when I was growing up, and one of the Rock shows I was on managed to get her for mere minutes on my Birthday. It was the first time I was ever tongue tied!
Who would you consider is the most interesting person you have interviewed or met?
Sarah Palin after the 2008 campaign. After following the media onslaught and vilification of her during the campaign, I was pleasantly surprised to find she was very kind and quite intelligent, as opposed to how she has been portrayed.
What do you love most about Kansas City?
The people and how quickly I felt like this was and is home.