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NAJEE’S NOTES: Karen Slade is heart and soul of radio station KJLH

Radio station manager Karen E. Slade is in The Wave spotlight this month for her dedicated service and work on behalf of the community as vice president and general manager of KJLH, the radio station owned by Stevie Wonder.

Slade was born in Cleveland to Violette Crawford and Charles Slade. In 1977, she earned her bachelor of science degree in telecommunications from Kent State University, where she was a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. She obtained her master’s in business administration degree from Pepperdine University in 1991.

Upon graduation from Kent State, Slade was hired as an account executive at Xerox Corporation in Cleveland. For the next decade, she worked in various positions for Xerox, including as a marketing consultant, project manager and dealer sales manager.

In 1988, Slade was promoted to a regional sales manager in Atlanta, Georgia. Then, in 1989, she came to Los Angeles to work at KJLH. As general manager, Slade led programming and sales as well as the station’s efforts to address local and national issues in the African-American community. Under her leadership, KJLH Radio received the distinguished George Foster Peabody Award and the NAACP Image Award.

Slade has been honored by the California Legislative Black Caucus Foundation and the Black Business Association, and received the Phenomenal Woman Award from Cal State Northridge. Radio Inc. magazine named Slade one of the 25 most influential African Americans in radio.

She served on the board of the Los Angeles Urban League from 1989 to 1995, and has been a member of the Black Media Network and the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters since 1989.

I can’t remember how I met Slade, but I do know it was through my association with former KJLH Radio host Carl Nelson in the mid-1990s.

To her credit, she has remained the same, humble and low key.

Slade is not a person who enjoys being out front or visible. She allows her radio jocks and community relations staff to do their jobs and be the public face and ambassadors of the station. She doesn’t seek or want the spotlight.

Slade simply get’s the job done and is the heart and soul of KJLH Radio. She’s the glue that has helped keep the station going in an increasingly difficult market for urban radio nationally.

Black L.A. over the years has lost radio stations such as KGFJ, KACE, 100.3 The Beat. But through it all, KJLH has weathered the storm under Slade’s leadership. The community shouldn’t take that lightly or for granted. If we were to ever lose KJLH, our community wouldn’t have any voices in urban radio to communicate on our issues as well as listening to the music we enjoy.

Right now, her attention is focused on Stevie Wonder’s House Full of Toys as KJLH stands on its legacy of collecting toys for underserved children across the Southland. KJLH is calling for all community members to join them and donate a new unwrapped toy. The toys donations allow the station to continue serving the children of our community, especially in such a time as this, so they are mobilizing to help bring smiles to kids across our communities.

While you are out and about shopping, please don’t forget to take the time to share love and donate a toy to the House Full of Toys Community Toy Drive.

The need is great – especially for the older kids, 12-17 You can bring gift cards, tablets and electronic devices, just help us serve them as well as the young ones.

With your help, KJLH can fill many houses full of toys this holiday season. Just drop off your toys at the studios of KJLH Radio, 161 N. La Brea Ave., in Inglewood or wherever you see the KJLH Street Team.

And if you’re going to see Stevie Wonder at the House Full of Toys Benefit Concert Dec. 10 at Staples Center, bring your toy. KJLH staff under the leadership of marketing director Greg Johnson will be there to accept.

Next week there will be more on Stevie Wonder and his House Full of Toys concert with special guests Andra Day, Dave Matthews, Pharrell Williams, Savion Glover and Tony Bennett. For more information, call (213) 742-7340.

For news tips, email Brothernajeeali@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter@Najeeali.

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