This week’s featured media mogul in the making is the founder and editor-in-chief of budding music and entertainment site, What’s The Movement, co-host of the podcast A Side B Side, and our very own director of programming, Jonathan Ramsey. Get to know Jonathan and his professional journey below.
You are a multi-talented individual dipping and dapping in a bunch of other expressive fields. So, what was it about journalism or media that piqued your interest?
“In high school, we had a television station where we produced a news show for our morning announcements. Between being in front of the camera or in the control room I got my feet wet early with media. I was even running our media ministry at my church at that time. When I got out of high school, I originally contemplated public office, but I also didn’t like the idea of politics versus the actual governing. I figured I’d get my bachelor’s degree in Journalism rather than pre-law because if I was still passionate, I could go to law school post-graduation. My parents wanted me to be the black Anderson Cooper and I went the music route instead.”
How did you get your start in the media field? Did you study communications in college? Internships? Hobby writing?
“I attribute my real media start at William Paterson University working at our on-campus radio station WPSC 88.7 FM. During my tenure, Brave New Radio was one of the best college stations in the country and won many IBS awards in addition to an MTV Woodie nomination in 2014. At that time I was DJ-ing, producing and hosting my own show, interning at a few platforms like Vibe magazine covering entertainment, and the Star Ledger covering local stories and policy. I was also writing on my own Tumblr blog now a multimedia brand, WhatsTheMovement.net (WTM). I’d even begin hosting live events and shows. I graduated from Willy P with degrees in Broadcast Journalism and Music Management.”
Tell us how you built up your platform. What’s your mission/goals? Who’s your audience?
“WTM began on Tumblr where I’d write about mainstream music and whatever I found digging around on SoundCloud during the blog era. I was always passionate about music and played a few instruments in orchestra and marching band. Post high school I’d even study music theory so I knew it’d always be in my life. As I was building a name for myself, I found a lot of local acts would reach out for coverage on my radio show which at the time wasn’t geared towards Hip-Hop and R&B. I got to work on transitioning WTM the blog, to a radio format where we’d talk about mainstream music as well as play music and interview the talented artists local to New Jersey.
Fast forward to today, it’s grown and in addition to the editorial, we host live shows, concerts, a branded podcast, A Side B Side and have a few other programs and web series in pre-production. Our mission today is the same as then, provide an outlet to artists, musicians, and anything moving in New Jersey. Our name asks and answers the question: What’s The Movement? Our audience is eclectic music listeners that want to find the diamond in the rough. People who enjoy talent over popularity in such a saturated market.”
So far throughout your career, what has been your proudest personal media moment?
“My proudest moment would have to be landing my first big name interview with the late Mac Miller on my radio show. It was only a phone interview but it meant a lot for a younger Ramsey. It was confirmation that I was definitely living in my purpose and blessed that it aligned with my passion. If I had to pick a number two it’s the moment I get to come to the mic and say thank you to the people who have supported our concerts. It’s a lot of work that goes into curating and producing events. The end result is always worth celebrating.”
What advice would you give aspiring mediapreneurs looking to enter the field?
“Learn to become a one-man (woman) band. If you want to stay hired, companies want someone that can do it all. Be open to doing off-beat stories or things your aren’t accustomed to. Everything you want is on the other side of the fear of the unknown. Practice being in front and behind a camera. Learn how to shoot video and high-quality photos. Learn how to edit audio and video. It’s nice to work with a team but oftentimes this journey is lonely.
I hate to sound cliché but good relationships are essential. It really is who you know. Get out from behind that keyboard and phone, and go exist in real life. Network on and offline. Meet artists, fellow media folks, and have fun while you’re doing it. Otherwise, this becomes hard work instead of passion. Listen to all genres of music leisurely in addition for criticism. Lastly, sometimes doors don’t open. Nothing worth having is easy to get to. When you hear the word, ‘no’, but you know you have all the tools, what is your resolve? If you’re not invited to the table don’t be too afraid to build and set your own table. For me, eating a meal on my own has been more fulfilling than at the ‘big’ tables I’ve got to eat crumbs from.”
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