Maven to Know: Julie Fernandez, RadioNOW 100.9
Growing up, Julie Fernandez was fascinated by radio. Whenever she’d venture out on shopping trips with her mom, Julie insisted on riding shotgun for the sole purpose of getting to control the car radio. She was devoted to choosing the perfect mix of songs and often wondered how the broadcast was playing from the radio station to her car.
“I always quizzed my mom and would ask if she knew the song title and artist of whatever song was playing,” she says. “If I got stuck in the back seat, I’d constantly ask, ‘Can you turn the radio up?’”
Her younger self would be quite proud of where she is now—the assistant program director and on-air talent for Indy’s RadioNOW 100.9.
“When I was in high school, people would ask me what I wanted to do when I grew up, and I would tell them that I wanted to be on the radio,” Fernandez told us. “It’s pretty wild to think about how it all worked out.”
We spoke with Julie to get the 411 on what it’s like working in radio, how concerts might change in response to the pandemic, and what three items she’d bring with her on a deserted island.
Maven superpower: I’m a workaholic! I’m able to juggle a lot of things at once and get it all done.
How’d you get started at RadioNow?
I went to college at Ball State where I studied telecommunications, audio production. I loved it. The summer between my junior and senior year, I started working here at RadioOne in Indianapolis. So, I was making the hour-plus drive—and that was when gas was over $4 a gallon. I did some work for a few hours and then went back to the house I was living in at Muncie to get a few hours of rest. I started as a promotions assistant and ended up working my way down into the programming department.
What inspired you to pursue a career in radio?
I don’t know if it was necessarily music or just my curiosity, in general, for radio. I specifically remember just being curious about how it all worked. How are they playing this song right now? How are they talking right now? I wondered what buttons they have to push. So, I think that it was really my curiosity and a little bit of that love for music.
What’s the best story you’ve had called into your radio show?
The things that stick out to me the most are when people call me up and say, “Hey, you know, I’m not having the best day but hearing this song you just played really put me in a good mood.” They mean the most to you at the end of the day.
Has anyone recognized your voice when you’ve been out and about?
No. But I was recording a video congratulating my friend for a surprise wedding video. And everyone was like, “Oh, you’re in your radio voice!” I don’t really know if I have a different voice. I don’t think I do. But apparently, I do.
What’s your favorite self-care activity and way to relax?
Talking to friends and talking to family members, FaceTiming, and doing all of that. Being able to still be in contact with people virtually is probably my favorite way to practice self-care.
What’s something surprising about working in radio?
A lot of people think that working in radio, you literally just talk on the mic, go home and whenever a concert comes in town you get free concert tickets out the wazoo. It is not like that. I think that’s a huge misconception that people have about radio, that we’re out partying, going to every concert, getting like 50 of our friends backstage.
What are some of your favorite tunes at the moment?
I love all music, I really do. I don’t really know a lot about the K-Pop world, but right now I have had Blackpink’s The Album on repeat. And I’ve also been listening to Taylor Swift’s Folklore and The Weeknd’s After Hours a lot.
How do you see concerts changing in response to the pandemic?
I see them all going virtual. I see a lot of artists playing at smaller venues, not playing as big of shows. And making them more intimate and more spread out. Billie Eillish is a good example. She was supposed to go on tour and then it got cancelled because of COVID, and now she’s doing a pay-per-view concert. So, I see a lot of people switching to that kind of way to do a concert for probably the next few years.
Where do you get your inspiration from for your radio content?
The internet is a beautiful place, and also a very ugly place sometimes. I love looking at Reddit. But I also pull a lot of content out of my daily life. It’s so funny because sometimes I don’t even realize I’m sharing so much personally.
Best advice you’ve ever received?
Never say no! Saying yes to literally every task that has been thrown my way has kind of helped get me to where I am.
If you were on a deserted island and could only have three items with you, what would you bring?
I would bring my record player. And if I had to pick one record to get me through this island, it would Cat Stevens Greatest Hits because it would be very calming. And I’d also bring lipstick because you know what, it just makes ya feel good.
Samantha Kupiainen is a regular Indy Maven contributor.
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