For 20 years, Jennifer Lipp built a large and loyal following as the comedic morning-show host at a rock station in Fresno, California. But, five years ago, when she and her husband decided to leave the rapidly tarnishing Golden State, they made the leap to Arkansas with their three children.
Lipp first interviewed to be the social media manager at KDPX Oldies 101.3 FM in Pine Bluff. But when her resume revealed her two decades of on-air talent, management quickly enlisted her for the station’s prime shift of 9 am-2 pm, where her constant mix of joviality and oddball topics has turned her into a regional favorite.
“The station doesn’t have an official morning show until I come on, because they put a lot of early-morning focus on regional news and farm reports,” Lipp explains. “It’s so nice to be on a locally owned radio station, because while we have a general playlist to work from, we take requests and when you make them, I play them. Where else can you find that in 2022?”
Indeed, Lipp decries the corporate media ownership that has taken over the majority of radio stations nationwide.
“It’s the same eight voices that are heard everywhere, and they’re talking about the same thing and playing the same songs,” she says passionately. “There’s no soul or personality to it anymore.”
That strong opinion is built from the lessons she learned in her two decades in Fresno, during which she realized the importance of radio as an interactive experience with the listeners.
“It makes all the difference in the world if the audience can play a part or be a part and know you and understand you and can relate to you,” Lipp says. “Then you’re not just a voice coming out of a speaker. I think that’s an important relationship, and the more preparation I can put into a show and wind up making you laugh or give you a story you can share, it builds a bond between us, and that’s key.”
Lipp finds her nonstop array of funny facts and strange stories by “going down the rabbit hole of the internet” from 7 to 9 p.m. each night. She tries to weed out anything that’s too serious, dark or important, since her goal is purely to entertain.
She caught the radio bug while growing up in Philadelphia, when she would listen to a wide range of DJs. Her first professional gig was in Buffalo during and after college, but a more lovable memory stems from a special Christmas present she received when she was eight years old.
“I wanted a Mr. Microphone more than anything in the world,” she recalls, as she shares a memory about the sound-projecting toy microphone that thrilled kids, and annoyed parents, everywhere. “I was the youngest of five, and I shared a room with three of my sisters.
“I took my speakers from a little shared turntable with a radio in it and put the speakers in the window over the street my family lived on,” Lipp continues. “I would play albums on the turntable and then switched the tuner so I could announce them to the street below. So I had my own show, and it was great!”
As Lipp grew into her teen years, she developed phone friendships with all her favorite DJs, taping her favorite songs off the radio before playing the recordings while announcing fun facts between songs. That same playful spirit brings her and her listeners joy to this day.
“I knew by the time I was a teen that I wanted to do morning radio. The idea of talking to people and making them laugh, and them making me laugh – is there anything cooler than that?
“My listeners are amazing people, and my work is fulfilling, every single day.”
Jennifer Lipp is on air from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Mon.-Fri. on 101.3 FM.