You might say that Frankie Robinson’s ascension to being one of the top personalities on the airwaves of Chicago radio was predestined.
The Columbia College graduate and native of Chicago’s South Side parlayed a chance appearance on the legendary game show, “Wheel of Fortune,” into a long lasting radio career that has included a stint at popular Chicago station Power 92 and two stints at the city’s long-time top station WGCI.
Rolling out recently spoke with Robinson to find out what advice she has for young entrepreneurs and exactly how she ended up a radio star by appearing on “Wheel of Fortune.”
Exactly how did you manage to turn an appearance on “Wheel of Fortune” into a radio career?
After graduating from Columbia I took a job as a receptionist to get my foot in the door at ABC Radio. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before I was laid off from there, but maybe a month afterward, I received an email from the “Wheel of Fortune” inviting me to be try out to be a contestant, and as luck would have it, I made it.
I won $5,000 and two trips, one of which was a trip to Bermuda, and I decided to take my mom because she had never been out of the country. While in the hotel lobby in Bermuda, I spotted the then-program director of WGCI, Mr. Elroy Smith, and I immediately told my mother that I was going to approach him for a job. At the time I had on a cast because my ankle was broken but it didn’t matter. I ended up dragging that broken ankle over to him and asking for a job. He told me there was something about me that he believed in and gave me a card but it wasn’t that easy. When I got back I called him for at least two weeks. He finally answered and requested an air-check. After countless air-checks I decided to get a job at Clear Channel without knowing that WGCI was a Clear Channel station. On my very first day of starting in the traffic department at Clear Channel, I got a call from Elroy inviting me to a jock meeting. After about a month he called me into the office and gave me a traffic script to read and told me that I would be doing traffic on Tony Scofield’s show from 3 to 6 p.m. with no additional pay but the exposure would be great for me. Soon after, another opportunity arose when one of the jocks on the evening show left and there were auditions being held. By the grace of God I got the position and here I am today.
What do you do to stay on top of your game professionally?
I always try to reinvent myself as much as possible and stay in tune with the shorties. The shorties always know what’s up. I love their energy and their knowledge.
How do you balance your personal life with your professional life?
Ha! There is no balance! My life is crazy! I just try to put family first and let God take it from there.
What advice would you give to a budding entrepreneur or career woman?
Stay true to yourself and never compromise. Put God first and make sure that you keep [your] focus on what it is that you really want because sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of it, especially as a woman because we wear so many hats.
What does being a BOSS mean to you?
It means that dreams really do come true. And it means that as a woman, especially a black woman, that we are capable of doing anything. Long gone are the days of us having limitations. I watched something grow from nothing to something dynamic. Something that means so much more to little black girls then we could ever imagine. I literally watched a dream come true and it has been amazing.
For more information about Frankie, please visit her WGCI page or follow her on Twitter at @FrankRob107. You can also catch her show on WGCI 107.5FM middays from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The BOSS Network is a community of career and entrepreneurial women who support each other through conversation, online and event-based networking. Their mission is to promote and encourage the small business spirit and professional development of women. For more information on The BOSS Network, please visit www.thebossnetwork.org.