Name: Tessa Hughes
Major: Journalism with a broadcast concentration and minors in political science and event planning and experience management
KCPR Schedule: Fridays 3 pm to 6 pm
What is your DJ name?
The Blonde Asset
How did you select/create this name?
I wanted something creative, something outside of, you know DJ this or DJ that. So I thought about it a little bit and settled on the fact that I wanted to use the word asset in my name – asset is my name, Tessa, spelled backwards.
Then I needed some sort of descriptor before it and, growing up, I was always blonde. I loved that fact. I even wrote a college application essay about how I related to Elle Woods from “Legally Blonde,” so it made sense to me for me. As I got older my hair got darker, much to my dismay, but at my core I still feel blonde, so it just felt right. Plus, I think it sounds cool.
For someone who’s never listened to your show before, what would you tell them in order to entice them? Give me your pitch!
I’ve got a little bit of everything! It’s fun because I get to be a part of The Afternoon Delight and The Comedown, so I get to play with indie, rock, alternative, and even some punk during my hours. I really like to experiment with that so in the same hour you could hear Cage the Elephant, Arctic Monkeys and then some Queen and Lizzo.
What motivated you to become a DJ and get involved with KCPR?
I have always loved the music industry and, once I got to college, I decided that being a radio DJ and pursuing broadcast journalism is what I wanted to do. So I applied to KCPR a few times. I first joined on the News team and then transitioned to the business side of it as an account executive. Then I ended up running KCPR.org too, as their managing editor. I was really immersed in the station, but I still hadn’t made it to DJ status yet.
Then, with COVID-19 and a station restructuring, we ended up having a really small DJ staff and couldn’t necessarily hire because the training class needed to be in person. Well, I already knew how to use the software and all the on-air, FCC rules, so I was given special permission to begin DJ training. Then, the rest is history!
What are some of your favorite recent music releases? What were some songs or albums that made up your soundtrack to 2020?
Well first, the band I’m currently obsessed with Maximo Park. They came into our currents and, since I first heard them I can’t turn them off. Their song “All of Me” is just so good.
Then for the music that made up last year for me, was definitely “Baby, It’s Okay” by Flora Cash, Miley Cyrus’s “Plastic Hearts” album, and “Missing Person” by Kelsy Karter. Those three have been on loop since each of their releases.
Flora Cash just seems to have this haunting quality in their music and I simply love the way they write and emote through their lyrics. Then, with “Plastic Hearts,” I think Cyrus really found herself and what genre she was supposed to make in that piece. She was meant to do rock and it is just so fun and so, so good.
Lastly, with Karter’s album – I’ve just been obsessed with her since I saw her open for my favorite band, The Struts. She is just so talented and energized and this was her debut album. I wrote a review on it for KCPR and, that even led to me interviewing Karter, which has, so far, been the peak of my career and I’m still not okay.
So, those three albums, definitely my favorite from last year.
If you could go on a socially distant date/outing with any artist, who would it be and what would you do?
Easy. Pink. She was my first concert ever and she just completely blew me away. She does these aerial ribbons and acrobatics, all while performing and it is just so impressive. Then, she is just a badass. What she stands for, what her music is about, she just is completely herself and doesn’t care what anyone else thinks. Plus, she’s such a champion for women’s rights and human rights. I just love her.
What we’d do? I didn’t get that far, but honestly probably just eat some good food and talk. I would love to pick her brain and just get to know her. She is so inspiring.
How has Covid-19 changed the way in which your show is run? Can you tell me a bit about your at-home set-up and any challenges you may be facing?
So, I was actually the only DJ hired during COVID-19, so my show hasn’t changed at all. I miss being in the studio, because that’s where I was when I did news, but as for my DJ shows, running them remotely is all I know. I’m still getting familiar with the music preloaded in the station and I can’t wait to be back in person, so I can get my hands on the records and CDs too.
Being remote was pretty cool though, just because it taught me how to use Zetta2Go, the remote software. That was the silver lining to all of it. It is the software that all the big radio stations use and, learning how to use it this year, helped secure my summer internship with SiriusXM.
What is the first thing you would do if Covid-19 was long-gone?
Concerts! Concerts, concerts, concerts. I used to go to to at least a dozen a year, so that being shut down was really hard. I thrive in the environment of live music and seeing my favorite bands around people who love them just as much. I went to a drive in show last week and it wasn’t the same, but it was a start. I just can’t wait to be back.