If you turn on Power 92.3 on a Saturday afternoon in Chicago, IL, you will hear the warm, vibrant voice of radio personality, Jade Lucas. Her energy is jubilant, and even when she’s off the air, her voice sounds like she’s always smiling. But during the early beginnings of the 26-year-old’s career she had experiences that could have broken that lively spirit.
After being encouraged to take her talents to the FM dial by professors who loved her voice, Lucas began hosting a hip-hop show at Indiana State’s radio station WSIU. After being initiated into Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority in the spring of 2008, her tenure at Indiana State was cut short when she transferred to Purdue University. She continued her quest to launch her radio career and began interning at Power 92.3 in the summer of 2010 in the promotions department. During her run, she made sure to stand out from the pack of unpaid workers.
“I stuck around during the times I didn’t have to be there,” the Gary, IN native said. “I did whatever they wanted me to do. I was always around learning and absorbing. I worked with our street team a lot, answered phones, interacted with listeners, wrote scripts for commercials, voiced commercials. I did whatever they wanted to do. ”
Even after her internship was over, she kept going to the station to help in any way that she could. By January of 2011, which was her junior year, she was hired as a board operator. But that didn’t keep her off the airwaves. Lucas kept lending her voice to commercials, which caught the attention of her program director. When the opportunity arose for her to host an overnight show, she jumped at it.
Her career continued to flourish but in 2012, she rode on an emotional rollercoaster. First, she lost her father.
“It was a tough time and I was a tough person to deal with emotionally,” she said. “You don’t know how to feel. You’re trying to grieve but never had to grieve on this level before.”
Though losing her father was an emotionally crippling experience, Lucas found solace in being on the mic.
“Radio ended up being therapeutic for me. I lost him and I took a day off after then I went back to work because that was the only place where I didn’t have to think about it.The studio was a therapeutic place for me.”
Ironically, with her loss came again. Shortly after her father’s death, she found out that she was pregnant with her first child with her soon-to-be husband, Keenon, who she also married in the fall of 2012.
Instead of taking a hiatus to deal with her loss, Lucas kept working, which didn’t sit well with Mr. Lucas.
“I worried as a man should for his woman but at the same time I reassured her that whatever you feel like you can’t do let me know,” her husband said. “Don’t keep that on your soul because it’s not about you doing it by yourself.”
He supported his lady as much as he could, even putting her in his barber chair and doing her hair whenever she needed.
Lucas was grieving but then had to prepare herself to be a mother and wife, all while still
in college at Purdue. She still attended school throughout her pregnancy and gave birth to her son, Klein, in March of 2013.
“I had [my son] on a Thursday and I was back at school on a Tuesday.” She continued, “I had a baby two months before graduation. Looking back I don’t even know how the hell I did that.”
A year after graduating from Purdue with her bachelor’s degree in general communications, Lucas moved up from the overnight shift to being on-air hosting a hip-hop and R&B show on Saturdays from 2:00 p.m to 6:00 p.m. She also serves as a producer for two other R&B shows.
For Lucas, the come-up wasn’t easy. She called the Power 92.3 station for three months before getting recommended by Kappa frater Dwayne Washington, who worked at the station. She credits her progressiveness to her faith in God.
“I believe He waits until our minds and hearts are prepared before He sends the opportunities our way. You may think you’re ready for something and you have no idea what you are asking for.”
To break into a competitive field like radio, she says persistence and being a team player is key.
“Don’t expect to start out as a star in the movie. Being a supporting actress or actor is beautiful. It will bring out the best in your character.”