By: Mikaila Becze
REAL 103.9 is an urban radio station that plays Hip Hop and R&B, while Sunny 106.5 is an Adult Contemporary (AC) station that plays a variety of music from the ’80s, ’90s, and today. Cortez has worked as a full-time talent for REAL for two years and expanded to Sunny 106.5 full-time just over a month ago. Working with a second radio station full time can be exciting, but being the voice of two contrasting stations is a different ballgame.
One of the biggest challenges Cortez faces when being a talent for contrasting stations is figuring out how to connect to her audiences in a way that appeals to them.
“Knowing who you’re talking to is one thing, but knowing the kind of content they want to hear is another thing,” said Cortez, “you need to make sure that you’re really connecting.”
Cortez was raised around an urban lifestyle in Colorado. Listening to hip hop has always been second nature to her, so when she first had to switch to Sunny, it meant changing things that are ingrained in her like how she speaks and the type of lingo she uses.
“For example, on an urban station,” she says, “I could say something like ‘hit me up’, but on [Sunny’s] station, I’d have to be like ‘alright call me up right now’ so it’s a little different.”
Adapting mannerisms to the listeners’ needs is vital because saying something such as “hit me up” during a Sunny broadcast could potentially turn listeners away from the station. She best describes the process as having to ‘mold herself’ to be able to flow from an urban station to an AC station. It takes time to get into a groove, and it took her around two full weeks to only start getting comfortable being behind the mic with Sunny.
Changing the way you speak for the station is time-consuming, especially when it comes to recording breaks, or pre-recorded audio, for the station. On a good day with REAL, she can get a show recorded in an hour, while it takes closer to around two hours for Sunny. She will go over her breaks multiple times listening to them, making sure that what she says sounds right.
“You’re definitely your biggest critic,” said Cortez.
However, she’s confident she will continue to get more comfortable in the Sunny studio as time goes on.