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DJ Sandra Dee opens up about her radio career and Radio Disney (Includes interview)

On her radio career, she said, “I have been doing radio since May of 2002 (I am celebrating my 16th year in radio this year). While attending Nassau Community College, it was time for me to obtain an internship. I went to my career counseling office wanting to get an internship for a record company. It was being a fan of music, specifically the Backstreet Boys that drove me to Radio Disney’s advertisement. To the day, I still have the flyer in my paperwork that Radio Disney was ‘looking for a few good mice.’ I’ll never forget the questions on that paper. The second I saw Backstreet Boys I knew this was for me. So one day before graduating community college I faxed over my resume. It was then that I got my answer.”

Regarding her Radio Disney background, she said, “I started in 2002 as a promotions intern, which included office duties, and simple events (setting up, attending to the public, and breaking down equipment). It wasn’t until my internship was over that I stuck around to help out with events. A local and friend DJ ‘Jenny Gem’ first got me on the microphone at a 7-11 on Long Island. Needless to say, I needed some work, a lot of work. After months of practicing at home with my sisters, my Promotions Manager Jennifer Zappola decided to give me an audition. It was then that I became a local host of the NY/NJ/CT Metro area and DJ Sandra Dee was born. I did events both small and large, from local businesses to Disney Channel media events. I also assisted with our local PSA radio show called the ‘Kids Concerns Show.’ Radio Disney was a place I not only gained friends and family for life, but I grew into my professional career throughout my 12 years at a place I called my second home.”

Her proudest professional moment involved interviewing The Jonas Brothers. “One of them that sticks out in my head is when I hosted a Q&A at the mall with The Jonas Brothers. Afterwards, their label and dad requested I help host their private CD release party at Planet Hollywood in Times Square. It was then I became pals with the JoBros and became ‘Big Sister Jonas’.” she said.

Dee continued, “Another proud moment is taking the steps to learn how to work a board to create my own show. I am so grateful to my family and station manager at OWWR. If it wasn’t for the love and support of all of them I wouldn’t be able to have the Sweet Beatz show. While at OWWR, I’ve had the extreme opportunity to interview so many incredible artists. I’d have to say I one of my most memorable interviews has to be Sean Fuller, drummer, from Florida Georgia Line (FGL). He does so very much with being on the road with FGL and also goes out to schools to motivate young kids on following their dreams. He was one of the most inspiring people to speak with and a true example of someone who does so very much for others around them.”

She listed The Backstreet Boys and Rascal Flatts as her dream interview choices in life. “The sole reason I am in this industry is because of my favorite band, The Backstreet Boys, I’d have to go with them. I’d also love to interview my favorite country band of all time who are responsible for having me fall in love with country music Rascal Flatts,” she said.

On her plans for 2018, she said, “My plans are to expand my brand and creating my idea with my show to bring it to a national level. I more recently expanded myself by being invited by WBCW Networks Florida Country Radio who has decided to graciously carry my show on their station. I’ve even dabbled in and started doing a morning show on FL Country Radio. I really enjoy interviewing artists on the rise. Giving people out there not just audio, but a visual of me interviewing those artists is important to me. Also, allowing fans to become more interactive in that process also is very important. I want to be a female Dick Clark and am shooting for those stars.”

Digital transformation of radio

On the impact of technology on the radio industry, Dee said, “Technology has certainly put a strain on the radio industry. We have cell phones, which allow everyone to listen to their own music in the cars or on the go. People like to chose when they play music, how they play it and more importantly, when they want to. Many cars are now fully capable with Tune In Radio App, Sirius, etc. In turn, people would rather listen to less commercials and instead more music. Podcasts have also taken over mainstream radio. Will the radio industry even exist in the next few years? I’m not even sure. I honestly think radio may cease to exist in the next few years.”

As a radio host, Dee regularly uses technology in her daily routine. “As a radio host, posting on social media about entertainment news, upcoming interviews for my shows, and what I’m doing in my personal life is important,” she said. “I know for me if i’m not posting at least once or twice daily on certain social media apps, then I know I’m not doing my job. I also try to get more and more creative with my posts to engage with my listeners, fans and the public. I have fans who continue to follow and support me from my Radio Disney days and now moving onto other things in my career. I like keeping everyone in the loop of what’s going on.”

For aspiring radio hosts, Dee said, “Work hard, show your passion, make connections, ask questions, know your craft and add to it all the time.”

She concluded, “In this business, it’s unfortunately about who you know, but also what and how much you know. Be a sponge, soak up every experience, and learning experience as you can. Stay relevant on everything and be on top of your craft. Remember there is always someone who is your competition. Building you brand and who you are as a radio host is very important. Don’t just play the part, look the part. If you want a job, you have to put a good impression out there. Never give up in achieving your goals. Walt Disney said it best, ‘If you can dream it, you can do it.’ DJ Sandra Dee won’t give up or go away until my dreams become a reality.”

To learn more about DJ Sandra Dee, check out her official Facebook page, and her main radio station website.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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