XX: TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOU!
JYNNYN EDWARDS: I’m a proud St Joseph’s Convent girl. I wanted to do geology straight out of convent, and my sixth form teacher told me “aye you have a kind of mass comm/marketing kind of personality, maybe you should try that” and that’s what kind of got me in that direction.
I did a commercial for KFC in 2011, and eventually I was asked if I’d be interested in hosting a show. I came in for the first casting for Digicel Rising Star, and I flopped – it was a complete fail. So I didn’t get through with Rising Star, but eventually got through with another show called Front Row, and that’s where my media career kind of took off. I did Front Row for CNC3 for 6 years.
In 2013, I did Miss World T&T and got to the finals, and in 2014, I did Miss Universe T&T. After Miss Universe, came the opportunity to start working with STAR 94.7HD. I worked on STAR for 2 years, and then I got a call to come back home, with my GML family. And that’s it: I’m here, and it does feel like home. It feels pretty comfortable, and I see this as a great opportunity. Lots of new ventures to come, and I feel really excited about it.
ARIANE MITCHELL: I am a 32-year-old young woman, ambitious, very outspoken, assertive and have a passion for our culture and educating our youth.
Formally, I’m a primary school teacher. Informally, I have another opportunity to educate, though I’m not in a classroom, so I decided let me use my big personality and my voice to do that off the clock as well as enjoy myself and entertain.
Radio is something that goes well with me, and my personality and who I am and what my aspirations are. So it’s a pair that was bound to marry at some point. I am the last of three children – so for sure, I’m everybody’s favourite. They’d dub me the black sheep because I got to do everything they didn’t get to, but you have to experience life, I don’t want to “burn to learn” but you have to sometimes. I’m very outgoing, and I’m loud.
XX: JYNNYN, YOU WORK WITH BOTH SLAM 100.5 AND 95.1 REMIX, WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE AND HOW DO YOU THINK YOUR STYLE CHANGES BETWEEN THE TWO?
JE: For me, I’m always me. Jynnyn is always Jynynn. I can’t be too downtown and I can’t be too uptown – I’m always right in the middle. I guess I kind of merge and adapt very quickly.
On 95, the target market is obviously a little more mature, a little more uptown, and SLAM is a little more progressive urban. I guess for SLAM, we can be a little more relaxed, and the conversations that we talk about can be a little more urban, and for 95, we kind of keep it a little classier.
That’s the biggest difference – but it’s not a difficult thing to do, at least for me. I’m looking forward to the challenge.
I always like challenges, I hate to get too comfortable.
XX: ARI, HOW DIFFERENT IS IT GOING FROM BEING A TEACHER TO BEING A PUBLIC PERSONALITY?
AM: It’s not a challenge because I’m a real person. I’m alive. Before I’m a teacher, I’m somebody’s daughter, somebody’s sister and I have my own personality and dreams. They know that I do radio. So my [school] kids, I’ll tell them when to tune in, tell their parents to tune in – and they’ll come excited to say they heard me.
My principal knows that this is what I do – and I don’t let it interfere with my full-time job so I work evenings and weekends. I participate in everything, but of course in moderation. They know I’m sexy, I’m trendy, I’m youthful, and all that comes with being a young woman – but I try my best to be very cautious with what I wear and how I move. So I’m very careful in what I participate in, because they won’t say Ari the broadcaster, they’ll say Miss Mitchell from whatever school.
XX: WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE OF WORKING IN RADIO?
JE: The biggest challenge is that your personal life becomes public. [She recounted a story where that morning on SLAM’s Drama Wednesday, a caller asked JW and Blaze a question about if she was still with her ex-boyfriend.] But your private life becomes really public. You can’t do much, but you just have to move to suit.
Another tough thing is that you always have to be a personality. Last year, my grandmother died, and I had radio three days after. Sometimes your emotions fuel a good show, so even though I was sad and held back tears, when I did make mention of it, there were other people out there who were also mourning. That’s the thing: being real with people on air, it’s not necessarily a challenge, but it’s a big part of the job.
AM: My biggest challenge is definitely voicing my opinions on certain topics, when I’m supposed to have a conservative opinion about. For example, being a teacher at a Catholic school when the news about the LGBT+ ruling broke. Sometimes some topics that I do have to explore on radio, I have to not necessarily hold back on what I truly feel, but add some tact to how I discuss it.
So for certain topics, I have to be a little non-Ariane-ish, and I have to remember that this is my second job, and they are listening and parents love to nit-pick.
XX: WHAT’S THE RADIO INDUSTRY IN TRINIDAD LIKE?
JE: I’m from Generation Now, so I pretty much support local and say that yes, we have some really great announcers and DJs and the structure is good as well, but is it international standards? Maybe not, but it’s Trinidad standards and that’s pretty good for now. There’s room for improvement across the board on all channels.
In Trinidad and Tobago, radio is a powerful media platform – people listen to the radio, especially during drive time for entertainment purposes. Trinidadians love the bacchanal so they love the radio talk. People tune in to find out what’s trending.
AM: I would say it has become very saturated both with quality and not-so quality talent and voices. It has been perceived that radio is about just personality, but I think it has to do with intelligence as well.
And being intelligent doesn’t mean you have to have a shirt and tie on – intelligence meaning you have to know time and place and execution.
A lot of radio stations and media houses want to be too trendy where any and everything goes – and some things need to stay together, like what you can and can’t discuss on air. The radio industry has become slightly irresponsible with some of the things they broadcast, and they market it as humour, and based on how our country is already desensitized to human life and value, we need to be extra cautious where that is concerned.
XX: WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE CONVERSATIONS TO TALK ABOUT ON AIR?
JE: I only like to talk about positive things because I’m a positive person. I believe there are enough announcers, there are enough stations that bring people down, pull us down and bad-talk people, so I really like to focus on a positive note. I still like to thank the police, thank the nurses and the doctors, I just like to keep it on a positive note.
I like to talk about positive things. I don’t like negativity. If I bash things, I’ll spin it around into a positive light.
I have a purpose, I have a voice, I have a responsibility, and I take it seriously, so I try to keep things on the up.
My favourite topic to talk about hands-down is love. Love is lovely.
AM: Usually relationships! I love love! Relationships, and not only romantic – dealing with your family and friends, people around you, all relationships. It’s about how you communicate with people.
XX: WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE MUSICAL GENRE TO PLAY?
JE: I prefer to listen to what’s slamming on SLAM, and what’s remixing on 95. But really and truly, I’ve been listening to SLAM before SLAM even had announcers and a schedule. But my favoruite genre would probably be more conscious music. I love soca and I love dance music.
AM: A couple years ago if you asked me, it was definitely more of the oldies/soul music – but most of the music is about love, which intrigues me. I’m a Scorpio and a lover, so love is what I’m about. So R&B and ballads were my favourite.
But as I age, I get a little hipper, and I would say right now, I listen to more pop and alternative. I’m loving the mixes they add to it. They make everything sound like soca – and soca makes you smile. I know it’s not soca, but it has that rhythm and it’s happy music, and I love that.
XX: WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON OUR LOCAL MUSIC SCENE?
JE: We are super super talented, and in my humble opinion, I really wish the government would step up and we could adopt something like what Jamaica did – a two year ban, preventing any international music or TV from playing on their local channels to build their brand, to build their artists, to build their media houses, and I wish it was the same in Trinidad and Tobago, because we have a lot of talent and they’re not getting the opportunity because the people aren’t hearing it.
They still want to hear the reggae and the dancehall and that’s cool, but we have local reggae and dancehall artists as well, and they don’t get the opportunity or platforms to go out there and be heard. I believe that we have a lot of major talent, but they’re not getting the right platform.
So I do wish there was a ban to really build us: for Trinidadians to really be proud of what we have to offer, because I feel like we don’t know what we have so we aren’t proud – we wait until it’s out there, until it’s on BET, to say “ooh, she’s talented”. It doesn’t need to reach on BET for it to be recognized.
AM: Our local music definitely suffers a lot, like a limping dog. The person who injured that dog is the audience – we don’t give artists a real chance. I’m so passionate about the music – and I think that we don’t support the upcoming artists enough.
XX: WHAT ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT FOR BEING A PART OF THE 9.51 UP (ULTIMATE PARTY) WEEKEND LINEUP?
JE: UP has to be one of the hottest programs to come and jump out for 2018! The Remix is really doing something different and I love the Ultimate Party on the weekend, because I actually feel like I’m in the club when I’m on the radio. I’m very excited to be a part of that weekend lineup. I feel honoured that they would have even considered me to be a part of the team. So I can’t wait to get the party pumping!
AM: I think weekends are so important to everyone who works the 9-5 or 8-4 life. You need that maximum release! During the week, we have split personalities – you have to know how to be at work but be you at home, and weekend is when we get to be the you without all the stress of work, and to be you is always an amazing thing. So to be a part of the lineup and to add to somebody’s weekend or to encourage them to just relax and let loose, that’s me!
XX: WHEN CAN WE HEAR YOU ON THE RADIO?
JE: You can find me on SLAM 100.5 Monday to Wednesday from 9-noon, and on 95.1 The Remix on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3-6 pm, and Friday 9-noon.
AM: You can hear me on the weekend on 95.1 The Remix, Saturdays from 8-11 pm, and Sunday 12-4 pm.
XX: WHEN ARE YOU READY TO BRING XX ON YOUR SHOW?
JE: Call meh!! We’ll do it! Next week! I’m down, I’m always down!
AM: Whenever you want! What about a Sunday? It’s a reflective day, we’ll reflect together!
You can catch Jynnyne and Ari on 95.1 The Remix’s brand new UP (Ultimate Party) weekend lineup.