Kiss-FM’s Shaila Scott Responds to Station’s Closing
Popular radio personality is optimistic about station's merger with WBLS
Yesterday, tri-state audiences were shocked to learn the news that New York City radio station, 98.7 Kiss-FM (WRKS), one of the city’s most popular stations for classic and contemporary R&B, would come to an end after a 30-year run on the air. The station, owned by Emmis Communications has been acquired by a new media company and will merge with WBLS starting this weekend.
Kiss-FM radio personality Shaila Scott, who has lent her voice to the station for nearly 17 years, will join Lenny Green and former Kiss host Jeff Foxx at their new home, WBLS (107.5 FM). Scott, a beloved member of the Kiss family is best known for the womanly tone she brought to the station. Scott has hosted “Kissing After Dark,” the “Wake Up Club" morning show,” and "The Midday Cafe."
In 2007, Scott founded Sisterly Kiss Entertainment, an organization designed to empower, educate, entertain and benefit women in need through philanthropy work aimed toward breast cancer, domestic violence and health and wellness.
Scott spoke with Loop 21 to about the ending of the Kiss era and what is in store for her and her new chapter at WBLS.
Loop 21: Many listeners are still in shock about the recent news that Kiss-FM will no longer be airing. When did you first learn about the news and what went through your mind?
Scott: I first learned of the changes April 25, to go in effect on April 26. I was deeply saddened to face the reality that 98.7 Kiss-FM, which has been the voice of the tri-state black community for 30 years, will be silenced. A station that entertained me as a teenager growing up in New York and being given the opportunity to strengthen the voice of this iconic station with mine would be no more -- that was a devastating blow.
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Loop 21: You will be one of two Kiss personalities to go over to WBLS. What are your thoughts on that, and will you have as much a prominent role as you did on Kiss?
Scott: You know they say life comes full circle and that is what I am experiencing at this time. WBLS gave me my start in New York City radio, where I met my mentor, radio giant Vaughn Harper, who helped me sharpen my skills in this industry. I was given great tools of the trade by legend Frankie Crocker when he returned to WBLS in the early '90s. I left in 1994 so it’s like I'm going home. I have always been grateful to WBLS for that opportunity so I am honored that I get to go back and contribute what I’ve learned over the last 17 years and use that to strengthen the voice that will super serve our community.
Loop 21: What was it about Kiss-FM that has resonated with so many listeners over the past 30 years?
Scott: I learned from the start that the microphone is sensitive to authenticity and being genuine and honest with everyone is the best way to serve others. I am not perfect and my audience knew that, as I shared my most embarrassing and foolish decisions as well as the ones that have enhanced my life, and people appreciate that.
Loop 21: What did Kiss-FM mean to you?
Scott: It’s an iconic station that was built by a talented village of people and sustained by the village of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut for 30 years, which leaves an indelible mark on our hearts that brands and bonds us forever.
Loop 21: Kiss-FM was always affectionately called your "Kiss Family." Talk about the relationships you made over the years and some of the things that made the station a family-like environment.
Scott: OMG. God has used Kiss as a vessel to bring some of the most treasured people in my life. I’ve learned something from all who have crossed my path and I am forever grateful for those people. What made the Kiss family so special is because we had a common ground and that is a love of the radio game, we were all married to it and respected the game, therefore, respected and loved each other.
Loop 21: What have been some of the most memorable moments working at Kiss?
Scott: I’ve had so many but some of the most memorable would be working on the "Kiss Wake Up Club" morning show with Jeff Foxx, Talent and Bob Slade. We meshed immediately and had the same sense of humor so it was laughter non-stop. It was authentic, real and the audience could feel it. We had a bond that few get to experience in this radio game.
Another was my invitation to the White House under the Obama Administration. My night at the White House was priceless.
Loop 21: What were some of your favorite interviews over the years and why?
Scott: Too many to mention. But my most favorite was “60 seconds with Barack Obama,” a fun rapidfire interview with the president, which asked questions like who do you prefer, Michael Jackson or Prince. He said, "which Michael we talking about?” I asked do you wear boxers or briefs and he replied, "I’m not gonna answer that but I will say whichever one I wear I look good in." (Laughs)
It was a different approach to a political interview and was fun for all. And Beyonce, which was supposed to be 30 minutes but almost became two hours. We had such a good time we just lost track of time.
Loop 21: Looking forward, what do you anticipate happening at WBLS?
Scott: A stronger force creating a stronger voice to deliver a message of unity while preserving our musical history and building an R&B fortress.
Loop 21: Will a piece of Kiss be incorporated with the WBLS programming?
Scott: Yes, the legendary and timeless music Kiss played will remain and having three personalities who have spent many years on Kiss on BLS. I hope our voices will be of comfort for whatever void Kiss leaves.
Loop 21: What do you think the future holds for Shaila Scott?
Scott: Hopefully a yellow brick road of more blessings. I’d like to continue to protect and serve the same community that protected and served me during my growing years.
Loop 21: What would you like to say to all of the listeners who have been so loyal to the Kiss brand?
Scott: Thank you for some of the best years of my career life. Your gifts are much more appreciated than you know because not only have I spoken invaluable words into your life, you have done the same for mine.