Student Spotlight: Kristen A. Oakley C’21

Kristen A. Oakley C’21 

What attracted you to Drew?

I was attracted to the small campus, student run radio station WMNJ, and my older sister also went to Drew (class of 2013).

Why did you choose Media & Communications as a major and Pan-African Studies as a minor?

I’ve always had a passion for media & began working in radio my senior year of high school, as well as launching my own YouTube channel, so Media & Communications seemed like the perfect major. In addition, I’ve always had a passion for representing black voices within the media which lead to me also being a Pan-AF minor.

Have you done any internships?

Yes, I’ve been blessed to do a great amount of internships. My favorites have been at Power 106 FM & Rooster Global News Network because I got the opportunity to travel to L.A & Spain for those internships. I experienced a new place while still expanding my knowledge within my career.

Other internships include, being a writer and host of The Rap Fest (remote), where I pitched and created my own Instagram Live Interview Series entitled “The Rap Room” interviewing music artists and writer for a publication, with my own column focused on Dancehall / Reggae music.

I also was a Media Correspondent last summer (2020) at The Jasmine Brand (remote), a popular pop culture outlet.  My tasks included recording, editing and publishing news package stories for digital platforms. In addition, I also wrote articles/stories for their site.

I was a Radio Midday Show Intern at Power 106 FM in Los Angeles, CA, from January 2020 to March 2020, LA’s #1 for Hip-Hop Radio Station. I assisted Bryhana (Host) with producing a daily midday radio show, including setup and audio engineering during voiceover segments. In addition, I also served as on-air host for certain “Tea with Bry” segments.

From January 2020 to April 2020 I was a Production Intern for Afterbuzz TV in Los Angeles.  AfterBuzz TV is a digital media platform that creates after shows/reviews for all your favorite TV shows. I assisted with the teleprompter for live shows, studio set up, video editing and quality control for previous posted content.

In February 2020, I worked as an Award Show Event Staff member for NAACP Image Awards in Los Angeles where I assisted with the event setup for the NAACP Image Awards Post-show Gala. I checked in & greeted celebrity guests and assisted with pre-planning for the event.

From September to December 2019 I worked as a Production Intern at PBS NJTV News in Newark, NJ.  I helped pitch stories for daily news show with Mary Alice Williams. I assisted with studio set up for daily live show & interviews, assisted reporters with in field shoots & stories, and created segments and posts for NJ TV NEWS social media.

In July 2019 to August 2019 I was a Travel Journalism Intern for Rooster Global News Network in Madrid, Spain. I wrote stories related to travel, culture and experiences in Madrid, Spain for publication, took photographs in publication, and interviewed local citizens for final publication story.

I was a blogger intern for Women in Radio LLC, from May 2019 to July 2019 where I interviewed and wrote on different women within in the radio industry for publication.

I was a Media Intern at Water Music Publishing in Bloomfield, NJ from May 2018 to August 2018 where I increased social media engagement for artists & blogged creative content for artist’s videos / social media.

Have you studied abroad? Done any short, long, or nycTRECs?

I did a special long term trec in Los Angeles, California focusing on media (spring 2020). The program was through Temple University. As a part of the program I was required to intern & take classes related to media. I interned at two great companies Power 106 FM & Afterbuzz TV where I focused on pop culture / hip hop news.

What issue in the world means the most to you?

An issue that means the world to me is the voices of black people within the media not always being heard. Our voices can be oftentimes silenced & media outlets never really share our stories with our best interests at heart.

What are a few of your favorite memories of Drew?

My favorite memory at Drew is launching my radio show Black Talk Radio on WMNJs radio station. Black Talk Radio is a radio show and media outlet that I created to highlight black culture, news, and entertainment. We’ve been able to expand beyond radio and have been curating various types of digital content within the past year. Our Instagram IGTV series, Trending Topic Tuesdays, is one of my favorites! In this short reporting-style video series, I cover all of the latest celebrity news, Twitter trends, and social media sagas, with an extra focus on stories that affect the black community/black artists. In addition to this series, Black Talk Radio has also covered numerous virtual press conferences. My favorite press conference thus far has been for the Lifetime Network Film Death Saved My Life starring Meagan Good. I got to speak with Meagan about the various tactics she implements to maintain her mental health as a performer and she shared tips on how others can do the same.

Aside from digital content, BTR has also emphasized the importance of giving back to our community. During the summer of 2020, we held a fundraiser to donate to bailout funds that assisted protestors who were marching for the Black Lives Matter Movement. Furthermore, an ongoing community act BTR participates in is our monthly giveaways. Each month we support and buy products from a black-owned business and have our listeners enter our giveaway for a chance to win the products. This initiative is an extraordinary way to support black-owned businesses, as well as showing our supporters how much we appreciate them. It’s really crazy because a radio show that I’ve launched on Drew’s campus has really grown into something bigger, that I’ll forever be proud of.

What advice would you give students who are just starting out that you wish you had when you started?

I would say to be open! Students should try new things, go out there & work at various companies. You’ll learn a lot about what you like & don’t like from actually experiencing things especially outside of the classroom.

What are your career goals? Where do you hope to be in 5 years?

I hope to be happy & successful in 5 years with my work. My career goals are to be a reporter or radio host on a major network within 5 years, potentially move to L.A & get a dog! (Lol) Wherever the wind & God take me within 5 years, I just aspire to trust the process & be happy along the journey.

Are there any fun facts you would like to share?

  • I’m Jamaican-American (Parents born in Jamaica & migrated here, I’m one of the first of my family’s generation to be born in America aside from my older sister & one older cousin)
  • My favorite color is pink
  • My favorite rap artist is Nicki Minaj (who follows me on Twitter lol)
  • I’ve interviewed Meagan Good on behalf of Black Talk Radio as well as a bunch of other celebrities

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