From the moment Ms. Bling-not her real name, but it’s what she goes by today-was five years old, she knew she wanted to be in radio.
Ms. Bling, aka Shavonne Wilson, grew up in Austin and would use her mother’s vintage 8-track player machine to mix different sounds.
Since last fall, Ms. Bling has hosted her radio program “Bling Diva Radio Show,” from her home in Austin via the internet.
“It was something that I have always enjoyed doing because music has always inspired me,” said the 27-year-old, Internet radio personality.
She studied radio and television broadcasting at The Illinois Center for Broadcasting in Lombard, but the traditional radio market didn’t yield any prospects for the ambitious Ms. Bling, who was determined to fulfill her dream.
“Even as a child I knew I wanted to be a DJ and radio commentator,” she said.
Ms. Bling ended up turning to Internet radio. In early September of 2007, she discovered the website blogtalkradio.com on a MySpace.com ad. The site lets users broadcast their own radio shows.
In about a week, she contacted the site and soon after launched her radio program. She does the show from her home through a live Internet feed that allows her to chat, write blogs, take calls from or even be viewed by visitors to her show through a web cam. She also interviews guests, including hip hop artists and other celebrities.
Her bling-theme grew out of her personality. One of her friends gave her the name, Ms. Bling, because of her “sparkling personality” and propensity to wear clothes that included shimmering stones and black diamonds. Her family and other friends also call her Ms. Bling.
“I guess I can consider it an upgrade from my original name of ‘Vonilicious,'” she jokes.
Since she does her show independently from her home, Ms. Bling has full control over play lists, show topics, and guests, unlike traditional terrestrial radio where many of those decisions are made by someone else.
“The freedom is great,” she said. “I can use the station to give exposure to artists like Slim Thug, who I really like, and Jim Jones, who was really a great interview.
“I can also play music that I like on my ‘play it or park it’ segment where people can call in and give the thumbs up or thumbs down to a played track.”
The show is accessed through the Internet at blogtalkradio and features online discussions about everything from entertainment to fashion to politics.
“There is no subject that is off limits,” Ms. Bling said. “Once we had a discussion about phone sex threesomes and the lines were lit up with people wanting to chime in. It was crazy.”
Her co-hosts, “Kreative” Keyonda Campbell and “Big Smoke,” communicate with her over the phone. When she connects the live feed, it’s basically like having a three-way conversation via a web cam.
She also uses the show to market herself in her second career designing her “blinging” clothing items, such as belt buckles, t-shirts and sunglasses.
Her entrepreneurial spirit came from her mother, who’s owned and operated a daycare center for 17 years, explained Ms. Bling, who attended Fredrick Douglas Middle School and the former Lucy Flower High School on the West Side.
However, her creative freedom does come with extra risks as running the radio show from her home can become costly. But, she has no regrets.
“It is very much a labor of love,” she said. “I do it because this is what I love to do.”